Sunday, November 27, 2011


Little neighborhood restaurants are such a priceless gem. I had my first meal at Bacchanalia in Chicago almost twenty-five years ago and have loved it every since. My friend, Jack, and his family have been dining there much longer. It's just a tiny slip of a place; a family-owned establishment nestled in a little, out-of-the-way Italian enclave.

The food cannot be beaten. It's hearty, Southern Italian fare but about as far away from Olive Garden as one can get.
Our waitress knew us; she'd been working there for decades. A complementary platter of pasta with vodka sauce appeared. It's that kind of place.

Antipasto for everyone:

Calamari stuffed with pork:

Eggplant Parmesan with meat sauce:

Stuffed mussels with linguini and white clam sauce:

Scallops Diavolo:
These are just a few of the gorgeous samplings there. 

By all means, order their fried calamari. It's buttery, tender, and light as a feather. Their penne arrabiata is to die for. Tons of garlic, olives, and a touch of allspice lace the fiery tomato sauce. But only the cognoscenti order it; it's not even on the menu.

If you really want a treat, order their Porterhouse Vesuvio; a char-grilled monster served in a robust, garlicky brown sauce. 

Desserts came, coffee came, another carafe of red wine followed, and laughter ensued among old friends. 

The waitress who'd been there for decades got a kiss on the cheek from each of us.

It's that kind of place.

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At 7:56 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

I love it!! :) Talk about a great place to splurge.... :)

At 8:55 AM , Blogger Rooster said...

Wow, living two hours south of Chicago, I'm always looking for the cool places to eat that you guys in the city know about.
I am going to eat here the next time I'm in Chicago. Thanks for the reco. Just found your blog by random, and I'm glad I did....added to my reader. I would love to read about more non-corporate restaurants you guys go to!


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