Best Restaurants In Chicago’s Little Italy

Photo of Grant Musser
9 February 2017

With an influential history spanning back over a century, Chicago’s Italian-American heritage has been thriving for nearly as long as the city has. Little Italy’s endurance is a testament to the close-knit families who have been living in the South Loop area for generations, working, playing and especially, eating together. There’s no better place in Chicago to experience the authenticity of Italian-American cuisine than Little Italy.

Francesca’s on Taylor | © Grant Musser

Francesca’s on Taylor

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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Davanti Enoteca
Davanti Enoteca | © Grant Musser
Francesca’s on Taylor is a fun, consistent family restaurant. Here you’ll find reliable favorites like risotto, spinach ravioli in a four-cheese sauce, and seafood linguine. Because the folks at Francesca’s pride themselves on a contemporary dining experience, the fresh, ever-changing menu keeps everyone on their toes and makes this a mainstay that will surprise and satisfy, no matter how many times you return.

Davanti Enoteca

Davanti Enoteca‘s menu includes nine different types of formaggio for the cheese lover, and a great selection of antipasti like grilled calamari with baby artichokes and truffle egg toast with asparagus. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial with your vino, look no further than the ample selection of pizza and pasta, but be sure to save room for desserts like the key lime tart or sweet sorbetto.


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Being transported to another place and time is anything but effortless, but RoSal’s makes it seem easy. With just the right touches of old-world charm and hospitality, the nostalgic music, dim lighting, and photos of family and friends hung on every wall conjure the sense that you’ve finally come home to a big family meal. If authenticity is what you’re looking for, you’ll find it in the people and the food at RoSal’s. The portions may seem large, but that’s only because the dishes are served family style (to be shared). Some classics include lasagna and eggplant parmigiano, as well as various veal, chicken, and seafood dishes.

RoSal’s, 1154 W. Taylor Street, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 243 2357

Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap

Yes, there is more to Little Italy than just Taylor Street, but if you want something truly special, you’ll have to go looking for it. Located on a quiet residential street, Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap has been in the same building since 1930, and the DiBuono family has kept it running generation after generation. Without so much as a sign on the front of the restaurant, Tufano’s is the neighborhood’s best-kept secret, but don’t be intimidated; the atmosphere is casual and the food is worth the adventure. Lemon chicken and eggplant parmesan are just a couple of the signature Italian comfort foods offered to old friends and new friends alike.

The Rosebud | © Grant Musser

The Rosebud

For 40 years, food lovers, neighbors and celebrities alike have been coming to The Rosebud, a restaurant as iconic for its food as it is for the people behind it. Owner Alex Dana has opened various Rosebud restaurants in Chicago and its suburbs, but only the original Taylor Street location has a history of its own. Server Vita Pascua has been with The Rosebud since the beginning. ‘A lot of stars have come in here,’ says Pascua. ‘It’s real authentic — all of our sauces are homemade.’ Whether those sauces are going on the signature square noodles, chicken vesuvio, or sausage and peppers, each dish is prepared with care and experience.