The 15 Best Italian Restaurants In Chicago

The Editors | March 9, 2021 | Food & Drink Feature

Whether you're in search of an unforgettable plate of pasta or a fresh platter of seafood, enjoy our list of Chicago’s best Italian restaurants.

If you ever sneak off to Colorado in the winter, be sure to check out our list of best Italian restaurants in Aspen.

Daisies Lentill Tortellini Neil Burger

1. Daisies

Vegetables play a leading role at chef-partner Joe Frillman’s charming 70-seat Logan Square spot, Daisies, but he also taps into his talent for pasta making, which he discovered working at Balena and The Bristol. Look for six seasonal pastas ranging from pappardelle with mushroom rage to addictive whole wheat tagliatelle with walnuts. 2523 N. Milwaukee Ave.

2. Acanto

At Loop restaurant Acanto chef Chris Gawronski masterfully explores the regional cuisines of Italy with dishes ranging from lobster spaghetti and margherita pizza to chicken piccata. While currently open for pickup and delivery only, make future plans to experience appetizers in the intimate lounge, plus the extensive wine list, which showcases more than 300 wines from Italy’s 20 regions. 18 S. Michigan Ave.

3. Coco Pazzo

For more than 25 years, tlofty-chic River North institution Coco Pazzo has been a staple for refined, Tuscan-inspired fare brought to life using local and organic ingredients. Insider tip: Whether with wild mushrooms or saffron, the ever-changing saffron of the day is always a crowdpleaser. 300 W. Hubbard St.

Formentos spread

4. Formento’s

Classic red-sauce Italian fare gets the sophisticated treatment at Randolph Street favorite Formento’s, where menu stars include Nonna’s meatballs, octopus with white beans and fennel sausage, and orecchiette with squid ink and rock shrimp. Indoor and outdoor dining is available, as well as in-demand “snow globes” with personal heater, air purifier and bluetooth speaker. 925 W. Randolph St.

5. Gibsons Italia

This sister to the longstanding Gibsons brings all the muscle of the flagship—think impeccable service and consistently excellent fare—but with a more sophisticated look. No Gibsons would be complete without steak, but look for tempting seafood and pasta as well. 233 N. Canal St.

6. Harry Caray’s

This Italian steakhouse group immortalizes the late Cubs announcer with sports memorabilia and a friendly bar—the perfect spot to grab a bite and watch the game. Insider tip: Don’t miss Harry Caray’s chicken Vesuvio, a simple yet delicious Chicago original of roast chicken and potatoes in white wine sauce. Multiple locations

Monteverde Bar Anthony Tahlier Photography

7. Monteverde

One of the city’s top toques, James Beard Award-winning chef Sarah Grueneberg heads up the kitchen at buzzy, much-lauded hot spot Monteverde—and with a slate of fresh pastas, delectable sides and decadent desserts, the accolades are more than deserved. It is currently open Thursday through Sunday for pickup and delivery only. 1020 W. Madison St.

8. Italian Village Restaurants

Chicago’s oldest Italian restaurant is actually three different restaurants under one roof: The Village serves traditional Northern Italian fare; intimate La Cantina offers Italian classics plus delectable chops and seafood; and Vivere features contemporary regional Italian cuisine. A true classic, whichever room you choose. 71 W. Monroe St.

9. Osteria Langhe

Piemonte cuisine is the focus of intimate Logan Square gem Osteria Langhe, where executive chef Cameron Grant crafts tempting plates of daily risotto; linguine with Northern-style meat ragu; toothsome prosciutto-wrapped rabbit with pork belly; and savory crepes stuffed with celery root puree, butternut squash and mushrooms. 2824 W. Armitage Ave.

Siena Tavern favorites spread Morgan Scofes

10. Siena Tavern

Eight years after opening, this DineAmic Hospitality collab with Top Chef fave Fabio Viviani is still going strong. The sleek 10,000-square-foot space is a people-watcher’s delight, and there’s just as much entertainment happening on Siena Tavern's plates with toothsome fare that ranges from grilled octopus with crispy fingerling potatoes to pizza with roasted wild mushrooms and truffle oil and brick chicken diavolo. 51 W. Kinzie St.

11. Piccolo Sogno

One of the city’s most respected chefs Tony Priolo along with partner and wine expert Ciro Longobardo helm beloved River West spot Piccolo Sogno, which boasts consistently excellent rustic Italian fare and, weather permitting, one of the best outdoor dining areas in the city. Insider tip: Check out casual sister restaurant Maillard Tavern across the street for one of the city’s top burgers. 464 N. Halsted St.

12. Riccardo Trattoria

Cozy and intimate, Lincoln Park mainstay Riccardo Trattoria showcases warming Tuscan fare from Milanese veteran chef Riccardo Michi. Tuck into signature dishes like prosciutto- and mozzarella-stuffed fried zucchini blossoms, pumpkin-filled ravioli, braised wild boar ragu and veal scalloppine. 2119 N. Clark St.

RPM Italian Lobster Ravioli John Stoffer

13. RPM Italian

Celebrity-owned restaurants come and go, but this chic River North collab from star couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic and the Melmans (RJ, Jerrod and Molly) has demonstrated serious staying power since its 2012 debut. Among RPM Italian’s modern Italian plates don’t-miss dishes like truffle beef tartare and Mama DePandi’s bucatini. 52 W. Illinois St.

14. Tortello

You want fresh pasta? Tortello is the place, where Venice-raised Dario Monni and team have raised the bar with mouthwatering burrata-filled tortelli; cacao e pepe; bucatini with braised squid; and tempting nibbles like focaccia with ricotta and honey, marinated chickpeas and and roasted eggplant with peppers and ricotta salata. 1746 W. Division St.

spaghetti nere spiaggia

15. Spiaggia

Iconic chef-partner Tony Mantuano may have decamped to Nashville, but this legendary Mag Mile Italian spot hasn’t skipped a beat under new executive chef Eric Lees. From decadent foie gras with pawpaw butter cake and chestnut to ribbons of strangozzi with funky black truffle and airy rice fritter with cherries, chocolate and nutty almond gelato, each dish at Spiaggia builds on the last and showcases Lees’ facility with the finest ingredients. Simply put, it’s some of the most exciting Italian fare we’ve had in years—and while the restaurant is currently closed due to the pandemic, it will be a must-stop for discerning foodies when it returns in the spring. 980 N. Michigan Ave.

[Editor’s note: Due to COVID-19, dining hours may have changed; be sure to check restaurant websites for complete information.]

Photography by: By Neil Burger; courtesy of Formento's; by Anthony Tahlier Photography; by Morgan Scofes; by John Stoffer; courtesy of Spiaggia