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La Cantina at Italian Village: Loop-Italian
It's been a couple of decades since I've been to Italian Village, there's a Rosebud right around the corner and I love Rosebud so I never think of this as an option. But Robert (rmdw) requested to go here based on the recommendation of a friend so I met him here before going to see a show at the Bank of America Theater which is just a block away.
Italian Village is three restaurants-The Village, La Cantina, and Vivere. Someone mentioned they hated the Village so I opted for the middle priced option, La Cantina. Italian Village has been around forever, it's Chicago's oldest Italian restaurant according to their website. La Cantina is on the lower level of the building.
The service was quite good and attentive
Favorite Dish: I ordered the chicken parmigiana, it was OK but doesn't compare to other restaurants that I enjoy. The dessert was pretty bad, I ordered the Italian rum cake, it tasted like a frozen cake that had been thawed and maybe had a little freezer burn. With so many good Italian restaurants, one right around the corner, I'm not sure how this place stays in business other than people knowing that it's been around forever.
Italian Village: Oldest Italian Restaurant in Chicago
Please view all photographs to obtain a "flavor" of the delicious food.
Italian Village is, indeed, a Chicago Landmark. It is one of the oldest "Italian Restaurants in Chicago". The Capitanini family has owned and operated it since 1927. The third generation of the Capitanini family [Al and Gina] now manage what is in reality three restaurants within the Italian Village site.
The three restaurants are:
Village, which is a traditional Italian restaurant located on the second floor. It was designed as a small Italian town with cozy booths, several rooms, and in typical Italian style. It serves Soups, pasta, sandwiches, thin-crust Pizza, appetizers, Homemade desserts, salads, seafood, poultry, beef, and veal.
La Cantina is a Steak and Seafood House. It resembles a wine cellar with narrow isles and booths that are nearly hidden. There are salt water fish tanks also. This restaurant is predominately Steaks and Chops.
Vivere is a very contemporary restaurant that features what they call "new" Italian Cuisine from regions all over Italy.
We ate in the Village. We were seated in the very back small room that contains about 8 small tables for two. It has a flat-screen TV on the wall that features classical musical entertainment. [turned very low so as not to annoy]
The service is incredible, both fast and efficient. We were quite impressed. This is a very popular restaurant where theater patrons go after or before shows. We had just seen the musical, Jersey Boys at the LaSalle Bank Theatre, which is about a block from the restaurant.
Favorite Dish: Italian Village is known for its simple food that is served in ample portions by very courteous servers. They live up to their philosophy.
Allan and I both ordered the House salads with Blue Cheese Dressing. These salads were crisp, fresh, and the homemade salad dressing was outstanding.
We also ordered one of their famous thin-crust pizzas. Ours consisted of portobella mushrooms and pepperoni. We were quite impressed with the flavor, consistency, and delicious cheese. We ordered a large pizza and together we almost finished it!
In addition, we each had a dessert. It was tough to decide because they offer Spumoni ice cream, Italian Rum Cake, Tiramisu, Sicilian Cannoli, Cheesecake, and Biscotti! All of these items are homemade. I chose the Sicilian Cannoli and Allan chose the Spumoni ice cream. We enjoyed our choices along with the coffee and cappuccino.
All-in-all, it was a delightful experience, and we hope to return to try all three restaurant styles.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
Italian Village: Great Pasta
We asked the doorman at the Palmer House Hilton for a recommendation for an Italian restaurant and he recommended Italian Village just a couple of blocks up the street. Italian Village actually has three different venues in the same building. We were seated in the dinning room on the second floor. I ordered stuffed pasta and a small Caesar salad. What stands out is the pasta, it was fresh, obviously hand-made filled and cooked perfectly. What fresh pasta should be.
Favorite Dish: Fresh pasta, take their advice on the fresh special of the day.
- Food and Dining
Italian Village: Italian 3 ways -- a Chicago tradition
How to choose??
The Cantina on the lower level for seafood eating?
Vivere on the first floor for updated & upscale Italian in a striking post-modern setting -- where the balcony is the place to to see and be seen?
Or the original [and slightly funky] Italian Village with its fake village ambiance full of nooks and crannies??
It vies with The Berghoff as a Chicago tradition.
Favorite Dish: Any risotto from Vivere. The half-moon "Agnolotti al Pomodoro e Basilico " pasta from the Italian Village.
- Family Travel
The Italian Village: Time-honored Chicago Italian Cooking
This restaurant has been cooking up tasty Italian dishes since 1927, but my first visit was in March of 2004. In easy walking distance of the theater district and State Street, it's an atmospheric combination of three restaurants--the Village (upper floor), Vivere (the main floor), and La Cantina (basement). We ate in the village, which is an adorable room full of alcoves, nooks, and crannies, and it really does seem like you're eating outdoors in a quaint little Italian village.
Favorite Dish: I had Agnolotti de Pomodoro e Basilico--loosely translated as a sort of freshly made pillow pasta filled with ricotta and fresh spinach, covered in a fresh basil-laced tomato sauce. Delicious! Portions are just right, and bread bowls (with fantastic hard breadsticks and bread) come with olive oil and fresh parmesan for dunking. A complete meal includes soup, salad, drink, main course, and a small dessert for an extra $3 beyond the price of a main course alone--a great deal!
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