From cozy neighborhood trattorias to fancy splurges, these are the best Italian restaurants in Chicago

Chicago’s Italian food scene is wonderfully diverse—from old-school joints that still serve grandma’s secret Sunday sauce to swanky newcomers that are putting modern twists on classic dishes. If you’re craving gnocchi, arancini, meatballs and tiramisu, you’ve come to the right place: We scoured Chicago to find the top Italian restaurants around. In honor of a city that’s just as proud of its delicate house-made pastas as its huge, family-style bowls of noodles, we present our guide to carbo-loading like an Italian in Chicago. Psst: You can round out your meal at one of Chicago’s top Italian ice shops.

il Porcellino

We admittedly frequent il Porcellino for its stellar Aperitivo Hour, which features $6 drinks and $7 loaded cheese boards Monday through Thursday from 4 to 6pm. But after a few negronis, we’re ready to order something hearty from the dinner menu. No-fail Italian favorites include the lemony roasted artichoke, a heaping bowl of rigatoni alla vodka, the massive baked burrata lasagna and the chicken marsala.

RPM Italian 

A collaboration between celebrity couple Giuliana and Bill Rancic and Chicago restaurateurs R.J., Jerrod and Molly Melman, RPM Italian is the kind of place that’s practically made for an anniversary dinner or a birthday celebration. Start with orders of the prime beef meatballs and fritto misto before jumping into the house-made pastas (you can’t go wrong with the creamy carbonara). The gluten-free menu still offers plenty of options, including six pasta dishes crafted using gluten-free fettuccine. When dessert rolls around, find room for the light and refreshing Amalfi lemon cake.