Top 11 Italian Restaurants Chicago

couple eating italian restaurants chicago

Italian cuisine is pretty widespread in Chicago, but examples that rival that of Italy can be tougher to come by. This is a list of some of the best Italian restaurants Chicago offers. They all offer amazingly prepared dishes that will leave you full, yet craving more, and a proper drink list to compliment.
They all offer something unique with their venue as a whole – that is what we focus on deciphering here.


For the last thirty years, Spiaggia has been setting the bar for Italian cuisine in Chicago. Their creations follow closely to the preparation format that you would find in Italy – not Italy inspired with heavy American influence.
Almost everything that comes out of this kitchen is made from scratch to assure only the finest ingredients are used.
Spiaggia is on the higher end as far as pricing goes, but you also will not find the quality of preparation in many other restaurants in America.
For a more casual setting and pricing, Cafe Spiaggia offers the same great flavors and dedication.

Spiaggia Chicago Italian Restaraunt

Flickr / I-Ta Tsai / Creative Commons


Anteprima is a home-style Italian restaurant that focuses on seasonal dishes. By tailoring their menu to what is in season, it assures that the freshest ingredients will be used, as well as providing a variety of dishes throughout the year. Fresh ingredients complimented by their house made pasta is something that your taste buds will not forget. Depending on how often and when you go, the menu could be completely different every time. The outdoor patio seating is a fabulous way to compliment your meal in the warm months.

Zia’s Lago Vista

Zia’s Lago Vista is a gorgeous venue, modeled after the rustic side of Italy – think lots of wood and brick. A pleasant atmosphere goes a long way when adding to the overall dining experience. Their outdoor seating area is just another perk on top of their superb cuisine and complimentary valet service. Daily wine specials compliment their extensive menu very well. The bar area also serves appetizer specials, which are on par with their entrees. This venue is a nice escape from Chicago by offering a unique atmosphere and dishes that transport you to Italy.

Piccolo Sogno

Piccolo Sogno remains true to its Italian inspiration by specializing in classic Italian seasonal cuisine – complimented by an all-Italian wine list to accent your meal perfectly. The interior provides a warm, welcoming atmosphere that is perfect for romantic dinners or small groups. The outdoor seating area is a superb way to get the most out of your dining experience – after all, fresh air is always necessary when indulging in excellent food [sometimes you forget to breath between bites].

NellcoteNellcote Italian Restaurants Chicago

Nelcote is evokes the essence of class and sophistication is its decor – it is inspired by the Villa Nellcôte after all. The iron gates and wood floors welcome you in, as a marble grand staircase and crystal chandeliers adds the upscale essence to the venue.
The menu is not terribly huge, but it offers everything that you would want from and Italian restaurant. The balcony seating adds a nice touch to the unique setting.

Club Lago

Club Lago has been a staple of the Italian restaurants Chicago scene for over sixty-year. They specialize in Northern Italian cuisine, and they have perfected their craft over the years. The venue holds true to its origin and it almost makes you feel like you are dining in the classic 1950’s dinner, but with enticing Italian meals rather than burgers and shakes.
Their menu varies throughout the week to offer you a variety of Italy’s best dishes.

Viaggio At The Park

Viaggio At The Park offers an impeccable Italian dining experience in Lincoln Park. An outdoor seating area surrounds the front entrance, while the interior is decorated in a simple yet elegant form. It provides a very intimate setting for dinning that is complimented by their extensive food and drink menu. The service rivals the taste of of the food, making Viaggio an all around impeccable dining experience.

Autre Monde

Autre Monde was founded by four Spiaggio alums – that alone speaks wonders about the quality. They took their expertise and molded it with their own vision to create one of the best Italian restaurants Chicago contains.  Their menu focuses on seasonal dishes to allow them to use the freshest ingredients possible, and it allows them to offer variety with each visit. Their patio and greenhouse is a unique setting that compliments the experience very well. The best part is that the greenhouse grows many of the herbs and vegetables that are used in the kitchen; it is hard to get much more fresh than that.


Balena has been recognized on a national level for their all-around dining experience. The interior design instantly feels welcoming and warm. High ceilings with exposed wooden rafters accent the traditional Italian feel very well. The atmosphere is very intimate with upstairs and main-floor seating options. Their menu holds true to honest Italian cooking traditions and excels at them. Although this will not be a cheap date, it will be something that your tastebuds will be lusting over for a very ling time.

balen italian restaurant in chicago

Flickr / Jonathan / Creative Commons

Sapori Trattoria

Sapori Trattoria is an Italian restaurant with a lot of heart. They pride themselves in making their guests feel comfortable and welcome, as they do in the exquisite dishes that are freshly prepared in their kitchen. They host family nights and music night to add to the ambiance. They provide a casual dining experience in a very upscale, rustic atmosphere – as well as an outdoor seating option.
Their menu covers all of the Italian cuisine staples, and they have perfected the tastes.

Topo Gigio

Topo Gigio has been satisfying Chicago for over twenty-five years. With its location in Old Chicago, the heavy use of wood and brick on the inside ties into the vintage neighborhood. They offer sidewalk seating, an outdoor garden to stroll through, and even a covered outdoor bar that is open year-around. Their menu is award winning, and offers quite an extensive selection to choose from. Topo Gigio is definitely a must stop to satisfy your Italian needs.

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Ross Perkins

Ross Perkins is the Executive Editor & a connoisseur of all things enjoyable– at least in his mind. He is an avid traveler in the name of inspiring sights, music, food & cars. He is a published photographer & writer that is looking for any reason to get out and explore his surroundings.


  1. May 7, 2014    

    you missed Fillippos on Clyborne Ave.

    • Ross Ross
      May 23, 2014    

      We’ll have to give that one another shot in the future.

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