Best Of Little Italy

April 4, 2011 2:00 PM

Looking to indulge in Italian specialties? Right in Chicago, we have our own Little Italy neighborhood chock full of restaurants serving up recipes from the Big Italy. If you’re having a craving of pasta, pastries and more, venture down near University of Illinois, Chicago, southwest of the Loop, to explore the many choices of Italian dining. The center of Little Italy is Taylor St. and Racine Ave.

Bruna’s Ristorante

Actually located in an area called Little Tuscany, a neighborhood of predominately Northern Italian immigrants, Bruna’s is the place to go for good home style Italian food. Quoted in Timeout Magazine, the owner Luciano Silvestri summed up the reason why his restaurant has thrived so well with, “Good food, respect people, right price.” They are known for their eggplant Parmigiana, roasted chicken and handmade tiramisu.

2424 S. Oakley Ave.
Chicago, IL 60608
Phone: 773-254-5550


Pompei was established over 100 years ago in 1909 near the Our Lady of Pompeii Church on Lexington St. They make Sicilian style pizza from scratch with two types of flour and two cellared cheeses. But if you’re looking for something a little different than pizza, try one of their pizza strudels. They take their hand rolled pizza dough, braid it and stuff it with homemade ingredients. That’s what happens when a pastry chef shares a cooking station with a pizza cook. When the pastry chef is not busy making pizza into strudels, they are preparing Italian desserts like cannoli and biscotti daily.

1531 W. Taylor St.
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312-421-5179
Fax: 312-421-8060

Original Ferrara Bakery, Inc.

Does the name Ferrara make you think Lemonheads and Atomic Fireballs? While you wouldn’t be too far off, that’s the Ferrara Pan Candy Company owned by the same family, Salvatore Ferrara and his wife Serafina opened the first Italian pastry and candy shop on Taylor St. in Little Italy in 1909. If you’re not so much into the pasta but way into pastries, then this is the place to come. They make the Signature Italian Cannoli Cake using fresh strawberries, Italian custard, cannoli cream, rum and iced with whipped cream. If cake isn’t your forte, their list of pastries on their website seems to go on forever.

2210 W. Taylor St.
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: 312-666-2200

Carm’s Beef and Italian Ice

It started as a grocery store in 1929, but lucky for us Grandma Mary Carm and Grandpa James Fontano retired from that and started a fast-food joint called Carm’s. They’re best known as their name says, for their hot Italian beef sandwiches dripping in juice and their Italian ice that now comes in more flavors than Original Lemon, including cantaloupe and chocolate. If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat for lunch, or when the summer heat finally returns to Chicago, an Italian ice to cool you down, then this is the place to visit.

1057 W. Polk St. (just off Taylor St.)
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312-738-1046
Fax: 312-738-1051

Conte Di Savoia

With warmer weather around the corner, why not go on a picnic? Conte Di Savoia would be happy to stock your picnic basket with bread, cheese, salami, wine and fresh sandwiches. If you’re looking to stock up on a few Italian imported items, they have those too. They range from a variety of olive oils, canned tomatoes, fresh pasta, ground coffee and wine. This is a perfect place to pick up a sandwich for lunch or do a little grocery shopping.

1438 W. Taylor St.
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312-666-3471
Fax: 312-666-3386

Rachel Azark is a writer and lives on Chicago’s northwest side. Read more of her work on her blog

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