You can get just about any cuisine imaginable in Chicago, and one of the most popular is Italian. There’s a huge Italian population, which means there’s a huge number of Italian restaurants. Downtown Chicago alone has nearly a hundred spots for pasta and pizza. Since it can be a bit hard to choose from so many, we’ve narrowed it down the four best Italian restaurants in River North and the Magnificent Mile.
At the top of any list of Italian restaurants is Spiaggia. Helmed by James Beard-award winning Chef Tony Mantuano and Top Chef Season 15 winner Joe Flamm, this fine dining spot features an exquisite menu of authentic and creative cuisine. They’ve also got a stellar wine list, and you can dive into it two times a month with a guided tasting hosted by their talented sommeliers.
For a place that will satisfy your palate without breaking your wallet, check out Quartino Ristorante. Named for the quarter-liter bottles of wine they serve, this spot is known for affordable wines and cuisine in a boisterous setting. It’s especially vibrant during the summer months, when the flower-lined patio is filled with diners digging into their pizzas and shared plates.
Coco Pazzo is a Tuscan-inspired restaurant that’s considered one of the standbys in the fine dining scene. Since the early ‘90s they’ve been serving classic dishes with a contemporary twist, and they’ve managed to maintain their popularity for more than a quarter century. For a delicious indulgence, order the 40-ounce wood-grilled porterhouse for two that’s sliced tableside.
With a space totaling 10,000 square feet, Siena Tavern could be a huge, cavernous warehouse. Instead, it’s a warm and inviting restaurant reflective of a rustic Italian market. Top Chef Fabio Viviani has created a from-scratch menu that features items like squid ink linguine with grilled lobster tail and gnocchi with truffle cream, fried sage, and crispy pancetta. There’s a pizza bar for that most Italian of staples, and an entire menu of gluten-friendly dishes.