Answers from Our Experts (2)
RPM offers some of the best Italian in the city because of the range of the styles that chef Doug Psaltis is doing. You can get everything from crudo to great pasta. I think I can eat there several times a week and not have to feel overly stuffed, and I can have three different experiences as far as what I eat. One of my favorite things about the restaurant is the steaks, believe it or not. One of the best steaks I’ve ever had is the porterhouse.
Taylor Street serves as Chicago’s modest Little Italy (it’s small, but charming), and one of the best restaurants on the block is Davanti Enoteca. Its roots tied to a much larger Italian chain local to Chicagoland, the Francesca’s Restaurants group. In fact, Davanti is located kitty-corner from Francesca’s on Taylor, also recommended, but Davanti is more fun, with an emphasis on pizza and pasta, and everything that makes Italian food delicious.
The newest Italian kid on the block is Siena Tavern, the giant River North restaurant from Top Chef contestant Fabio Viviani. With a massive bar and deep dining room, Siena Tavern is designed to pack in the crowds and does so on a nightly basis, only in part because of its location. The bigger draw is the food, all of which is quite good, consumed in a fun, modern atmosphere.
Also in River North is RPM Italian, named for its partners—among them Bill and Giuliana Rancic—who have a three-tiered stake in this sleek black-and-white dining room. With a packed reservations book, the vibe is see-and-be-seen (especially at the long, central bar), and the generous menu (nearly 70 items) has a focus on housemade pasta and risotto.