Discover the best Italian restaurants in Chicago. Italian restaurants aren’t hard to find in Chicago, but we have taken the best and organized them by neighborhood for you. There are restaurants with James Beard awards, Bib Gourmand awards, places helmed by Top Chef winners, hidden gems, and restaurants that have been open for generations. Our list has a mix of casual cafes, kid friendly restaurants, and romantic places for a special occasion.
If you are looking for pizza, check out our list of best pizza in Chicago.
Last updated: March 2022
The Best Italian Restaurants in Chicago:
We have organized this list of best Italian restaurants in Chicago by neighborhood.
A rustic Italian restaurant with a covered patio that serves pasta like four cheese ravioli, rigatoni with sausage and caramelized onions, pappardelle with mushroom ragu, and orecchiette with spicy lamb sausage plus meat entrees including steak, wood grilled lamb, and pork shoulder.
Bar Roma serves hearty Italian food like meatballs, housemade pasta, and traditional meat dishes like chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan, and veal saltimbocca.
A red sauce Italian restaurant with a big menu that includes all the classics like fettuccine alfredo, lasagna, rigatoni with meatballs, homemade ravioli, veal marsala, chicken parmigiana, and eggplant parmigiana. Club Lucky has a tendency to be busy so make a reservation in advance.
Italian, Mediterranean, Romantic
Located in a former Gold Coast home, La Storia opened as an Italian restaurant and over time the menu has embraced more Mediterranean influences. The menu has a variety of pastas including gnocchi genoese, lasagna all bolognese, tagliolini Neri frutti di mare, and goat cheese agnolotti plus meat and seafood dishes like swordfish in trapanese sauce and a rack of lamb. The courtyard patio with twinkle lights is one of most romantic places to dine in Chicago.
An upscale modern Italian restaurant with caviar service, shellfish towers, and oysters in addition to handmade pastas and steaks. For an even more romantic setting, visit the restaurant’s Rose Lounge.
Italian, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
A seafood focused Italian restaurant with homemade pastas and whole roasted fish. Nico Osteria serves breakfast/brunch, lunch, and dinner seven days a week.
Nella Pizza e Pasta
Italian, Pizza, Lunch
A Michelin Bib Gourmand winner serving lunch and dinner plus weekend brunch. The restaurant is known for their Neapolitan style wood oven pizzas with a lightly charred crust, but the menu has plenty of other options including antipasti, salads, pasta, risotto, and meat mains. Nella’s serves elegantly prepared classic Italian cuisine made with the best ingredients.
An Italian bistro known for serving rustic cuisine including a selection of hand-made pastas and a mix of seafood and meat entrees. Menu highlights include tagliolini with a black truffle cream sauce, pappardelle with a wild boar and mushroom sauce, duck breast over wild mushroom risotto with blood orange sauce, and veal shank ossobuso style. Some hand-made gluten-free pasta is available.
Located in the Windermere House across from the Museum of Science and Industries, Piccolo Mondo is a restaurant and bakery serving traditional Italian cuisine including spaghetti with meatballs, eggplant parmesan, and chicken marsala.
Medici on 57th
American, Pizza, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
Medici has been in Hyde Park for 60 years. The bakery sells breads, pastries, cookies, and pies while the restaurant serves a mix of American standards like chili, roast beef on rye, Italian subs, burgers, Italian pasta dishes, and both thin curst and pan pizzas. Breakfast sandwiches are available on weekdays and a full brunch menu is served on weekends.
A welcoming rustic Italian eatery serving fresh pastas, wood fired pizzas, and classic meat and seafood mains. Ceres’ Table is a Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient for 2021.
Coda di Volpe
This rustic/chic restaurant serving a menu of Southern Italian pizzas and pastas is one of the best restaurants in Lakeview. Weekend brunch is served in addition to dinner.
Frasca Pizzeria + Wine Bar
Italian, Pizza, Kid-friendly
A low-key neighborhood Italian spot with great pizzas, pastas, Italian entrees and a lovely selection of meats and cheeses.
Italian, Kid friendly
A neighborhood trattoria serving cuisine from Rome, Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio. The menu has items like bucatini with mussels in a spicy tomato sauce, handmade cavatelli in a tomato and basil sauce topped with ricotta, and pollo Francese. A kid’s menu and a gluten-friendly menu are both available.
Riccardo Trattoria specializes in Tuscan and Milanese cuisine. You can find classics like bucatini alla carbonara, fettuccini bolognese, linguini alla vongole, veal scaloppine, and beef short ribs brasato on the menu.
Italian, Pizza, Kid-friendly
Stella Barra shares an entrance with Summer House Santa Monica next door and serves pizza and pasta. The kid’s menu gives children a chance to choose their own pizza toppings. During the weekday happy hour, cocktails are $8 and individual pizzas are $7.95.
Today, Gene’s and Himmel’s are the two German restaurants remaining in Lincoln Square. The menu is a mix of German and Italian cuisine. You can find Bavarian pork shank, chicken schnitzel, and sauerbraten listed above chicken parmesan, chicken marsala, and spaghetti and meatballs on the menu.
Peanut Park Trattoria
A new addition to Little Italy, was created by three Chicago restauranteurs with the goal of serving handmade pastas and Italian favorites. The small menu has fritto miso, meatballs, rigatoni in pomodoro sauce, linguine with clams, gnocchi with basil pesto, chicken parmesan, and whole branzino.
Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap
This restaurant was opened in 1930 by the DiBuono family and the James Beard Foundation recognized it with an American Classic Award in 2008. Currently family meal packs are being sold for take out. The dine-in menu covers the Italian staples like sausage and peppers, chicken limon, stuffed shells, meatballs, fettuccine Alfredo, and veal parmesan.
Just when you thought Tufano’s was old, Pompei opened in 1909. It is a casual cafeteria style restaurant with affordable prices. The big menu has sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and handmade pastas.
A casual yet romantic restaurant serving cuisine from the North Italian region of Piedmont that is widely praised as one of the best Italian restaurants in Chicago. The menu is small, containing just five antipasti, four primi, and four secondi options. The plin, pasta filled with la tur cheese and topped with thyme and butter is especially delightful. A four-course $55 Taste of Piemonte menu is available on Wednesdays.
Located next door to sister restaurant to The Gage, Acanto is an Italian restaurant and wine bar serving handcrafted pastas, pizzas, and meat mains. Lunch is served on weekdays and dinner is served nightly.
A restaurant serving traditional Tuscan-style Italian cuisine. In the summer they have a large patio space.
Gussie’s Handmade Italian
A chic restaurant serving up Italian essentials like spaghetti carbonara, and spaghetti all’ Amatriciana.
Originally opened by Bella Bruna in 1933, this is the third-oldest Italian restaurant in Chicago. The menu has all the classics including lasagna, ravioli, spaghetti al pomodoro, linguine all vongole, stuffed shells, fettuccine Alfredo, eggplant parmesan, chicken saltimbocca, veal scaloppine, and chicken marsala. Bella Bruna’s original roast chicken is still served on Sundays. Lunch and dinner are served daily.
A sister to Bavette’s located just next door, Ciccio Mio has a romantic space with deep red velvet banquettes and oil paintings illuminated with candlelight. A self described “nice Italian restaurant”, Ciccio Mio’s menu emphasizes pastas like black truffle bucatini and porcini mushroom bolognese, and includes several meat and seafood dishes. Plus there are sharable antipasti and sides.
An Italian restaurant serving pizzas, housemade pastas, and wood-fired meats. This location has a bit more a casual vibe when compared to the more romantic Wicker Park location.
Italian, Lunch, Late Night, Kid-friendly
You can’t go wrong with Quartino. This small plates Italian restaurant has an affordable menu with something for everyone and a fun lively atmosphere. Quartino was doing small plates before everyone else and it works so well with Italian cuisine – you get to try everything you want without over ordering. When it comes to wine, Quartino has a huge wine list and sell wine by the quarter liter, half liter, liter, and bottle. Quartino is open from 11 am until 1 am every day – it tends to be busy at dinner so make a reservation. The best part: the Italian food is some of the best in Chicago.
Eataly is an Italian marketplace with multiple dining options including sit down restaurants and fast-casual food counters with seating areas. La Pizza & La Pasta is a restaurant on the second floor serving Napoli-style pizza and pasta. On the first floor you can find grab and go food items, pizza by the slice, and a pasta bar.
A modern Italian restaurant from Top Chef Winner Fabio Viviani that serves weekday lunch, weekend brunch, and dinner. The housemade pasta is the star of the menu with classics like carbonara, lasagna, squid ink linguine, and cacio e pepe. Pizzas and a couple of meat and fish entrees are available, or if you are especially hungry, a 22-ounce ribeye. A four-course tasting menu is available for $85 per person.
The three RPM restaurants are co-owned by Giuliana and Bill Rancic and Lettuce Entertain You. RPM Italian is a chic modern restaurant with a menu that balances modern and contemporary Italian cuisine. The menu is divided into sections with housemade pasta, steaks & chops, Italian classics, and seafood.
La Scarola is a fixture on all the list of best Italian restaurants in Chicago. It’s a restaurant that serves up generous portions of the classics like pasta primavera, eggplant parmesan, linguini and clams, penne Alla vodka, veal marsala, and chicken vesuvio.
A BYOB Italian restaurant serving up a curated menu of Italian classics like rigatoni a la vodka, angel hair scampi, chicken parmesan, meatballs, and fusilli bolognese.
Piccolo Sogno means “little dream” and this restaurant’s large garden is one of the dreamiest spots in Chicago. The menu is seasonal rustic Italian with an emphasis on pastas, pizzas, and hearty meat dishes. Dinner is served nightly and lunch is served Monday through Thursday. Much of the menu is gluten-free.
An Italian restaurant with a menu featuring over a dozen different pastas and classic entrees like chicken marsala, veal limone, and chicken Milanese. A variety of sandwiches are available at lunchtime.
Flo & Santos
Italian, Polish, Lunch, Kid-friendly
Flo & Santos serves a mix of classic Italian and Polish cuisine and American pub food. This spot is known for being the place to get pizza and pierogi. A large patio is open during the warm months.
This Italian restaurant opened in 1997 and serves traditional Italian food. The menu includes regional specialities like Sardinian Malloreddus squid ink spaghetti.
Italian, Pizza, Lunch
A casual restaurant serving lunch and dinner daily plus weekend brunch. The menu features a variety of pizzas including Chicago deep dish, thin crust, and artisan style pizzas with a ciabatta style dough. Pastas and meat entrees round out the menu.
This restaurant from chef/owner/Top Chef winner Joe Flamm combines Italian cuisine and Croatian flavors. The menu includes several pastas plus risotto, fish, and meat mains. This is one of the very best Italian restaurants in Chicago and it’s one of the hardest reservations to get.
Pizza, Italian, Romantic
Is the food more beautiful, or is the restaurant space itself more beautiful? That question might be impossible to answer at this stunning Italian restaurant decorated with a wooden pergola with hanging greenery and twinkle lights. The menu has Italian staples: homemade pasta, pizza, and wood fired meats.
Italian, Steakhouse, Romantic, Lunch
Gibson’s Italia is a three level Italian steakhouse on the Chicago River with two fireplaces, a roof deck, and spectacular city views. The large menu mixes upscale Italian cuisine with classic steakhouse fare.
Fabio Viviani’s casual Italian gastropub has a menu with a mix of pizzas, pastas, and Italian inspired bar foods. The restaurant serves lunch on weekdays and brunch on weekends in addition to dinner nightly. The brunch menu is one of the most man-friendly (hearty) in the city.
Chef Sarah Grueneberg’s James Beard Award winning Italian restaurant is known for their handmade pastas. The pastas on the menu are divided into two sections: atipicia and tipicia giving diners the option of ordering dishes like potato filled žlikrofi (Slovenian dumplings) or spaghetti al pomodoro. In addition to the pastas, the menu has small plates and meat dishes served family style. A gluten-free menu is available.
Gioia offers handmade Italian pastas in a chic modern space. The menu covers all the classics like veal tortellini, eggplant parmesan, and cacio e pepe. Adult bibs are available so you don’t have to risk getting tomato sauce on your outfit.
Formento’s was inspired by the red sauce joints of the 1950s. The menu has meaty entrees like pork chops, whole grilled branzino, and chicken parmesan. The pasta menu includes bucatini carbonara, canestri with pork neck gravy, and tortelloni with black truffle ricotta. They have a kids menu too.
A restaurant serving Northern Italian cuisine and wine that opened in 1995. A four-course menu is $72 per person or you can opt to order a la carte.
A pasta shop and restaurant on Division Street with some seating inside and a large sidewalk patio. You can watch as pasta is made right in front of your eyes. Their signature dish is the burrata filled tortelli (large tortellini) topped with balsamic reduction, butter, and sage. It’s a delight. In the summer they often have live music outside.
Via Carducci La Sorella
This Italian restaurant serving rustic Southern Italian cuisine inspired by the owners hometown in Calabria. The large menu has a mix of pizzas, pastas, and meat dishes including linguini all Congolese, linguini fruitti di mare, homemade gnocchi, veal scaloppine, and chicken vesuvio. There is another location in Lincoln Park.
Etta serves housemade pastas and a perfectly executed cacio e pepe. In addition to the pastas, they serve pizza and wood fired meats. Their rooftop is a beautiful and romantic space.