Tag Archives: pasta


A classic movie’s anniversary, another celeb book signing, and where to eat… today on Citybuzz!

Harry Caray’s Restaurant

Located near the main entrance to Navy Pier, Harry Caray’s Tavern waterfront location, family friendly menu, and Chicago’s premier sports museum combine to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience for guests of all ages. The extensive menu includes flavorful sandwiches and wraps, pastas, fresh salads, and homemade pizzas. The Chicago Sports Museum, featuring beautifully crafted display cabinets, highlights a rotating collection of museum-quality sports memorabilia, including an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and vintage newspapers celebrating Chicago sports legends, past and present. Harry’s extensive patio offers the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of Lake Michigan and the excitement of Navy Pier. Click here for more information.


Twenty five years ago, on this very street, Robert Colombo’s original Sfuzzi opened in Uptown Dallas. Known for it’s fresh, innovative italian foods, and lively social setting, Sfuzzi became a McKinney Avenue landmark for over 10 years. Even today it is remembered as one of Dallas’s most innovative and successful restaurants.
Now, Sfuzzi is back. The new Sfuzzi harkens back to the roots of an old New York City pizzeria, centered on our commitment to serving fresh pizzas and pasta, wonderful wine and beverages, and, oh yes, a dash of great music. Musically, you will hear everything from 80s dance songs, sing-a-longs of the 70’s, jazz and blues, current top 40 hits and classic rock of artists such as Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.

Sfuzzi’s wrap-around patio rekindles beautiful memories of the original Sfuzzi patio scene, which set the social standard for McKinney Avenue. Equipped with flat screen panels, pulsating music, glass-enclosed fireplace, and fabulous food and drink, the patio at the newly evolved Sfuzzi will rival those of Miami’s luxury venues and the family oriented venues of the Grand Caymans.

Piola’s Pizzas Bring a World of Flavor to ATL

Hidden next to RA Sushi, across the street from the Loews Hotel, Piola is truly one of Atlanta’s best kept secrets. Part of a worldwide chain originating in Italy in 1986, Piola has a laid-back, fun, international vibe. Cozy and colorful, Piola is great for unwinding alone, with friends or with a special someone. The warm and inviting atmosphere just takes the edge off the day.

Grab a seat at the bar and make a request forPicture 4 the fabulous Coconut Mojito, which is not necessarily on the menu. A must try is also the Sgroppino Al Limone, or simply lemon ice cream (well gelato) and vodka; it’s a signature drink for a reason. Happy hour is from 5pm-8pm and there are always some free appetizers to sample.

Venture past the bar for more extensive dining. Pizza- thin, brick oven style – really is the thing and the Margherita is always a winner, but it’s far from the only pizza option. Piola has Featured Piola “Pizze,” like the Rio de Janeiro with chicken, catupiry cheese, parsley, tomato sauce and mozzarella; Classic Pizze, like the Margherita; and Le Pizze Bianche, or White Pizza, which is are the classic pizzas without tomato sauce. Piola is also known for its gnocchi and hosts monthly, all-you-can-eat “Gnocchi Day.” And, for dessert, you can’t go wrong with a classic tiramisu.

When it comes to having a laid-back good time, Piola truly knows what makes the world go round.

Piccolo Sogno is a little dream, especially on the outdoor patio

Situated on the corner of Milwaukee, Grand, and Halsted, you don’t expect to find a beautiful Italian restaurant. But that’s what you’ll get — along with outstanding service, meals, and wine — at Piccolo Sogno. While inside the restaurant is nice, it’s the expansive outdoor patio, where about 75-percent of the seating is, that’ll make you swoon. Surrounded by large trees and sparkling lights at night, patrons can easily enjoy their exquisite but large Italian food portions that use seasonal ingredients. Rather have a lighter dinner? Piccolo Sogno also offers smaller appetizer portions of all their house-made pasta dishes.

Experience the Familia that is Mia Francesca

You know you’re a success when you’re rocking 16 locations in Chicagoland. Such is the story of Mia Francesca, not your average run of the mill Italiano eatery.

With name recognition by all Chicagoans, one would think the restaurant had been thriving for the past century. Au contraire, only having been open since 1992, Chef Scott Harris opened the original location on N. Clark Street and hence created a sensation. Not that he came out of nowhere, mind you. Chef Scott Harris was no stranger to finePicture 21 cuisine having worked in The 95th, Ambria, Cucina Cucina, Harry’s Café, Sole Mio, Trattoria L’Angelo di Roma and Petthany’s in St. Croix.

But it was his rustic Italian comfort food, homemade pastas and sauces, delicate but pungent salads and cozy Euro-style ambiance that gained him name-status fame and the “Critics Choice – Rookie of the Year” award by Chicago Magazine.

From his first opening to the next 15, all corners of Chicago and its food-loving suburbs called for Mia Francesca locations of their own, and Harris delivered. He stuck to the same rustic Italian menus and paired with more notable chefs to make each restaurant stand on its own. What you can count on at any of its locations is a casual atmosphere with the cuisine of a restaurant charging triple what you’ll find at Mia Francesca- mamma mia!

Terroni is Terrific for Pizza and Pasta

This hot little Hollywood Italian spot will win your taste buds like it has won the locals. Terroni is the perfect weeknight place when craving some good carbs. Named after the region of the Picture 8restaurant’s imported olive oil and hot peppers, Terroni is the real Southern Italy where simplicity reigns as much as the ingredients.

At Terroni, it’s best to always prepare for a little wait as the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but there’s no better place than to start at the bar! A glass of the Montepulciano is the perfect pairing for all authentic antipasti, pizza or pasta fare. The pizza has that thin crust, burnt richness that can only be had when right out of the brick oven.  If you can take the heat, ask for the hot peppers. You’ll leave carrying out jars of the stuff!

Besides the amazing pizza, Terroni is the perfect spot for a first or blind date; its sweet decor is just romantic enough, but the tables are close enough to spark up a conversation to your left or right if your date is a dud.

Tuxedo Wearin’, Soprano’s Stylin’ at Acappella

Picture 11Ever wonder where those classic Italian restaurants that are always in gangster films exist? Look no further than Acappella. Featured in the first-ever Soprano’s episode, the food, service and ambiance make you feel like you are in a scene from The Godfather.

The menu is filled with authentic and traditional Northern Italian cuisine, from veal to lobster to pasta. Be sure to try the Bandiera Italiana, consisting of fettuccine with wild mushrooms, cavatelli with pesto, and green and white “hay and straw” pasta with fresh plum tomatoes and herbs. Everything is fresh, and the pastas and desserts are homemade. There are also seasonal specialties, such as wild rabbit, wild boar and buffalo meat in the fall or winter. The wine list is impressive as well, with plenty of domestic and imported wines, including specialty Italian wines.

With sixteen foot high beamed ceilings, oversized columns, brick walls, Italian tapestries, and tuxedo wearing waiters, the experience is unique and very Italian. Like the motto says, “We will make you a dish you can’t refuse!”

Drink Your Way Through Dinner at Prosecco

Picture 10Making a toast is oh-so-easy at Chicago’s chic River North Gallery district’s restaurant, Prosecco. After all, they have the largest selection of sparkling wines in the whole city. White linen tables, authentic seasonal Italian cuisine with homemade pastas, and plenty of romantic ambiance make this place a hotspot for dates– and for those looking for love.

At Prosecco it’s not just about making that initial toast with the sparkling wine, however. The mantra is that the sparkling wines of Italy stand alone, both the reds and the whites and need not/should not be limited only as a starter beverage, but rather enjoyed throughout the duration of the meal. For those unfamiliar with the pairing of sparkling wines for each course, leave it to the friendly staff to guide you to the bubbly of your preferences. And don’t forget about the elegant Italian food that’s made Prosecco one of the best new restaurants in Chicago.

The bar here is equally as fun as the ristorante. Painted to look like Caravaggio’s “Confessional of St. Paul,” it’s the drinks that will have people confessing, like the Mionetto Brut Prosecco with Chambord and 24 carat gold dust! The long, classic bar is one of the best in the city, making it perfect for those wishing to get buzzed on bubbly wine with a new, special someone.

When a quick trip to Veneto, Italia isn’t quite doable, Prosecco should suffice just fine. Cheers to that.

Vetri’s Osteria is Italian at its Best

Marc Vetri’s name in Philadelphia is known across the city, whether you’re talking about his flagship and namesake restaurant, or the charming and rustic Osteria. Homemade pastas, thin crust pizzas, wood grilled meats and fish are always in season, making Osteria the perfect place to dine year-round – the ultimate perk being that the menu changes every three months.

Although the Italian menu may be a bit hard to read, the descriptions are universally delectable. Pizzas range from “le pizza tradizionale,” i.e. the Margherita, to Vongole Pizza, with cockles, cherrystone clams, mozzarella, parsley and anchovy pesto. Antipasti plates range from farm-fresh vegetables dressed with bright vinaigrette and local cheeses, to house-cured salumi. And pastas are endlessly creative, straying deliciously far from Momma’s spaghetti and meatballs.

This passionate food is served up along side a 100 bottle Italian wine list from every region of the country. It’s the perfect place to try Marc Vetri’s infamous Italian cuisine without worrying about a fully booked reservation list.

Billy Dec’s Favorite Italian Restaurant is La Scarola

Even though restaurateur Billy Dec’s Rockit Bar & Grill may make the best burger in town, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have cravings for some good, hearty Italian fooPicture 7d. Whenever he’s in need of some pasta and marinara sauce, the Chicago social mover always heads to La Scarola.

The Italian restaurant is known for its low key environment that brings high-profile diners like Billy. It’s been awarded the Zagat Excellent Rating year after year for their gigantic proportions and delicious cannolis. La Scarola’s dishes taste like the ones from the Italian grandmother you never had.

Sure, Billy Dec is well-known about town, but La Scarola’s great because regardless of your residence, you’ll feel like a local. The place is small so everyone knows each other, and if they don’t, you’ll feel like they do after the meal is over. With a crackling fireplace and the likes of Billie Holiday setting the mood, it’s impossible not to relax and enjoy a great dinner at La Scarola.

*** Billy Dec is the CEO and Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, Chicago’s premier restaurant and entertainment development company. The company owns the new hotspot Sunda, The Underground club, and the award-winning Rockit Bar & Grill.