The 16 Best Italian Restaurants in Chicago Right Now
These are the best trattorias, red sauce joints, and fully loaded Italian delis in Chicago.
Since the 1850s, Italian cuisine has been a staple of Chicago’s culinary DNA. Nonna’s creamy risotto, buttery gnocchi, soft ricotta ravioli, and crispy Milanese have all been preserved—and, in some cases, modernized—thanks to countless standout restaurants who’ve shared their family's signature dishes over and over again for generations.
Italian cooking requires patience, skill, a whole lot of heart, and…tomatoes, flour, cheese, olive oil, wine, and garlic. Okay, maybe that’s a bit reductive, but those seven heavenly ingredients so often join forces to create countless home-style dishes we know and love. From old-school osterias peddling top-shelf martinis and modern, celebrity chef-helmed Restaurant Row hotspots to grab-and-go deli counters pushing farm-fresh ingredients, here are the 16 best Italian restaurants in Chicago. (And that’s not even counting pizza—if you’re dying for some ‘za, here are our favorite picks.)
Chef-owners Ian Rusnak and Eric Safin have teamed up for the ultimate red sauce experience, harnessing their collective—not to mention impressive—years of culinary expertise to devise their mouthwatering lineup. Dubbed Jersey-style Italian, Elina’s boasts a boatload of classic flavors served atop vintage plates which evoke a feeling of home and heritage. Kick things off with a plate of baked clams strewn with bacon breadcrumbs and lemon before settling into a signature pasta like Rigatoni alla Vodka with Calabrian bread crumbs or Fusilli di Rabe with sweet sausage and Parmesan. For now it's BYOB, which serves as further enticement to whip out that good bottle of Italian red you’ve been hoarding.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.
From Boka Restaurant Group (Girl and the Goat, GT Prime SteakHouse, Boka), comes this new kid on the block proving it fits right into its perfectly curated family. Executive chef Lee Wolen’s menu is outstanding, featuring Wood-fired Meatballs with Parmigiana, Mushroom Pizza laced with black truffle, caramelized onion, and Taleggio, a Bone-in Ribeye roasted with garlic, rosemary, and olive oil, and Ricotta Dumplings doused in cacio e pepe. As if that wasn’t enough, the space is also aesthetically stunning. Hanging above the dining room are plants woven inside a long pergola alongside a sculpture resembling the ripples of waves—all inviting guests to partake in a transcendent experience for the eyes and the taste buds. Don’t forget to cheer “alla vita” with each new glass of wine—an Italian toast which means “to life.”
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.
Nonna's Pizza & Sandwiches
Nothing beats letting your inhibitions go and making a mess of things with an overstuffed sandwich in hand, and Chicago is full of some of the best sandwich shops out there. Among the choicest of choice picks is Nonna’s Pizza & Sandwiches, which, as the name suggests, holds dear the traditional recipes of an Italian grandmother. Highlights include Nonna’s Meatball Sub, slathered with marinara, mozzarella, giardiniera, as well as the Sausage Sandwich crammed full of succulent Italian sausage, sweet peppers, Provolone, arugula, pickled red onions, and giardiniera aioli. With limited seating, this is more of a pick-up rather than dine-in kind of place. But, truth be told, these sandwiches require no ambiance—they're just that good.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery via Tock.
Influenced by her world travels and family background, Top Chef and Spiaggia vet chef Sarah Grueneberg applies modern technique to traditional Italian cooking, and it's served her well—she took home the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Great Lakes Region in 2017. The lauded restaurant's housemade roster includes soulful Tortellini in Brodo (prosciutto and mortadella and turkey filled “pasta hats” in a 24-hour lambrusco-spiked bone broth), Pecorino-showered Cacio Whey Pepe, and Chitarra alla Boscaiola, a steamy ragu brimming with porcini, prosciutto, Tuscan Pecorino, and crispy chicken skin.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out and delivery via Toast.
One Off Hospitality’s dapper eatery inside the Thompson Hotel provides Gold Coast locals and visitors a bounty of unctuous, ocean-fresh seafood and flawless pasta creations. Start the day with pastries paired with seasonal jams, or end it with Seared Scallops, Lobster Ravioli, and a scoop of Cannoli Gelato. If you're short on time, refresh with a stiff, Amaro-based cocktail and snack from the Salone Nico, the handsome onsite bar.
How to book: Reserve and order take-out via Tock.
B. Hospitality (The Bristol, Balena, Nonna's) opened the doors to their sprawling Randolph Street restaurant back in 2015, and have been serving up brilliant takes on mid-century Southern Italian cuisine ever since—even with a menu overhaul leaning toward lighter, seafood- and veggie-focused fare arriving a year later. The dining room's retro vibe—complete with crimson banquette seating and vintage black-and-white photos—invites diners to try classically inspired innovations like Canestri, a heap of ricotta-topped pasta covered in pork neck gravy and accompanied by spicy fennel sausage and melt-in-your-mouth meatballs.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out and delivery via Tock.
A relative newcomer to Chicago’s Italian scene, this Andersonville outpost has quickly become something of a mecca for meatballs. While the Roman-style, hand-rolled pastas and wood-fired pizzas are undoubtedly delicious, it’s the Polpette that keeps folks coming back. Arm yourself with an Italian-inspired craft cocktail then dive into whatever balls strike your fancy: Braised Beef Cheek, Spicy Pork Belly, or Chicken and Pistachio. Be sure to add a fried egg for the ultimate meaty indulgence.
How to book: Reserve via Resy, order take-out via RevelUp, or get delivery via GrubHub.
From homemade pastas and hand-tossed pizzas to a vast Italian wine selection some 400 bottles strong, this "little dream" on Halsted Street checks all the Mario- and Luigi-style mustachioed boxes. Try the signature Ravioli stuffed with four cheeses, drizzled in a Marsala glaze and butter, then finished with pine nuts and Parmesan curls for something straightforward yet satisfying. Or get your protein fix via the Rosticciana (braised beef short ribs with squash puree, red wine, and veggies). Also, the outdoor area is easily one of the most romantic patios in town.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out and delivery via online.
Unlike most of the restaurants on this list, the always-hopping Quartino ditches massive portions in favor of smaller, shareable plates. To get the full rundown, enlist a couple (okay, maybe five) dining companions to help you munch your way through an assortment of meats and cheeses, Veal Meatball Sliders, Tuscan Pasta Ribbons with braised beef and tomato sauce, Penne alla Vodka, Fried Calamari, and, most importantly, a bulky serving of Tiramisu.
How to book: Reserve via Seven Rooms or order take-out and delivery via DoorDash and Caviar.
Hearty Northern Italian fare is the name of the game at this Piedmont-focused spot nestled in Logan Square—that means truffles, cream, and eggy pastas everywhere you look. Begin with something from the remarkable wine list and end with a classic affogato for a post-dinner kick. Along the way, opt for the Polipo, an octopus and shrimp cake laden with mashed potatoes, olives, citrus, and saffron cream, Plin Ravioli stuffed with La Tur, a three-milk cheese, and tossed with Parmesan and thyme-butter, and, and if you really want to pull out all the stops, the Prosciutto-wrapped Rabbit Loin.
How to book: Reserve via Resy, order take-out via Toast, or get delivery via Caviar and DoorDash.
This cozy neighborhood spot offers upscale food in a decidedly casual setting: a juxtaposition we’re all about. Whether you’re here for a date night or just a good meal out with friends, it’s great for savory Vitello Paesana (AKA veal scallopini sautéed with artichokes and cherry tomatoes in a delicate wine sauce), as well as Linguine tossed with jumbo shrimp and garlic, Lobster-stuffed Ravioli, and ultra-comforting Minestrone Soup.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out and delivery via ChowNow.
Quaint, charming, and entirely devoid of pretension, this trattoria is the place for well-executed, bonafide Italian cuisine. Vitello Tonnato (poached veal carpaccio with tuna and caper sauce) and burrata with prosciutto shine among the antipasti options, while the Saffron Risotto with veal and ricotta meatballs in osso buco sauce, plates of Pappardelle piled high with porcini mushrooms and beef short rib ragu, and the Baccala Milanese never disappoint.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.
Mart Anthony's Italian Restaurant
You know a place is legit when you walk inside and everyone seems to know each other—and you know it’s even better when you hear folks at the host stand asking for their “usual table.” Mart Anthony’s dishes are infused with warmth courtesy of family recipes delivered straight from Sicily. Start with an order of Baked Clams then move onto the Tortellino Romano, a cheesy pasta dish swimming in a light creamy red sauce with mushrooms and prosciutto. After a few glasses of red wine and a belly full of pasta, you might even recognize a familiar face or two.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out and delivery online.
One of the first Tuscan-inspired restaurants to grace Chicago, Coco Pazzo has been churning out a solid mix of classic and contemporary eats every bit as delicious as they are simple since the '90s. Dig into homemade Potato Gnocchetti tossed with tomato sauce and topped with dreamy ricotta, or sink your teeth into Florence’s famed Bistecca, a 40-ounce wood-grilled porterhouse for two sliced tableside. Then cap off your meal with something sweet like creamy gelato or panna cotta with vanilla bean custard, berry sauce, and fresh berries.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out and delivery via ChowNow.
With massive portions, a lively staff, and a no-frills attitude, this corner classic has everything one looks for when seeking out Italian dining. Established in 1990, Club Lucky sits inside a former Polish dance hall where the 1940s-era flair and contagious carefree energy still lingers. The neighborhood favorite showcasing Sicilian traditions via handmade stuffed pastas, grilled pork chops, and a divine Chicken Marsala, served smothered in mushrooms over fresh pappardelle. A darn good martini will help you wash it all down, and don’t skip the notorious profiteroles, if you know what’s good for you.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out and delivery online.
From pastas and ultra-tender Veal Limone to some of the best tiramisu in the city, Bruna’s has all things Italian pretty well covered. The Oakley Avenue mainstay (located in the REAL Little Italy) has been serving the hungry folks of Chicago since 1933, and it shows. Stop in for fragrant roast chicken made with an old-school touch and more than enough wine to make your visit a regular thing.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.