Chicago offers great dining options for families, but for those of us with a suburban address, the hassles of traffic and parking for a night out with the kids can seem overwhelming. Consider Il Poggiolo for great food, an urban vibe and all the convenience of a neighborhood restaurant.
IL POGGIOLO RISTORANTE
Executive Chef Jim Kilberg brings his experience at many of Chicago's finest eateries to this new location, a former silent movie theater. The restaurant's name translates into "The Balcony." A red and white awning welcomes customers into the richly upholstered interior with its gleaming bar and classy décor. My sons were excited when we were seated in the namesake balcony area, where large round tables easily accommodated many families on a Saturday evening.
Kilberg prides himself on bringing a modern interpretation to classic Italian dishes, so you'll find the menu filled with house-made pastas and pizzas, plus a variety of meat and fish dishes.
There are daily risotto specials plus a well-stocked cocktail and wine bar. The kids' menu is limited, with standard offerings of chicken fingers, pizza, burger or spaghetti. All kids' meals include a drink and ice cream or sorbet dessert-an excellent value at under $10.
The menu has a good selection of wood-fired pizzas, which we found to be an excellent blend of crispy crust and fresh sauce and toppings. My 9-year-old would have happily eaten a couple of those for dinner. Our entrees did not disappoint either. The handmade pastas are quite special and delicious. My husband opted for the fish special and again, found it fresh and well-seasoned. Entrees are well-portioned and we went home with plenty of pasta leftovers.
This is the kind of place where you want to take your time and enjoy the flavors and the atmosphere. I have to say that even though I'd describe Il Poggiolo as upscale dining, families were welcomed enthusiastically and treated well by the friendly staff.
Reservations are recommended, especially for weekends or larger groups. You can call the restaurant or make reservations online though opentable.com.
Alena Murguia lives in Berwyn, Illinois along with her husband and three growing sons.
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