Meet Oakbrook Center’s best-kept secret: Antico Posto, a cozy Italian cafe and wine bar that’s been serving up fresh pastas since 1999. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the shopping center is the top destination to enjoy authentic dishes inspired by Tuscany and Bologna.

Italian for “The Old Spot”, Antico Posto holds its moniker proudly. We’ve asked third-generation Italian and Antico Posto’s Sous Chef, Joe Dellacroce, to weigh in on old cooking wives tales, and provide some tips and tricks to help guide you through your next Italian cooking adventure!

To experience it yourself, make a reservation at Antico Posto.

Salting Pasta Water: To do or not to do?

pasta being extruded at Antico Posto

: While you may be used to tossing some salt into your boiling water when making pasta at home, not all pastas or method are created equal. Because all the pasta is fresh, made in-house and pre-seasoned at Antico Posto, there is no need to add more flavor to the water. But, if you’re cooking boxed pasta at home, you have our approval to toss in some salt to taste.

Can any sauce be used on any type of pasta?

YES! We may have some favorite pasta and sauce combinations at Antico Posto, but that’s not to say that there is a rule on when you can use certain sauces. Chef Joe says “unless it’s ravioli or gnocchi, you can use whatever sauce you want on any type of pasta!”

Gelato = Ice Cream, Ice Cream = Gelato

peanut butter gelato in a white bowl from antico posto
Peanut Butter Gelato

FICTION: Sure, there are similarities between the two scoopable sweets, but there is a BIG difference! Traditional gelato has a higher proportion of milk, has less cream and eggs (or no eggs at all), and is churned at a slower rate, which leaves the finished product less airy, more dense and smoother than ice cream.
*Fun Fact: Antico Posto’s gelato is house-made! Find the weekly gelato flavors here.

Gnocchi is only made out of potatoes

Antico Posto's Ricotta Gnocchi with Mushrooms
Antico Posto’s special ricotta gnocchi with mushrooms

FICTION: While yes, potatoes ARE a popular base ingredient for gnocchi, the pasta is technically defined as dough dumplings that are soft, thick and smaller in size. Gnocchi can be made out of anything, as lovers of Antico Posto’s Ricotta Gnocchi will tell you. Try the classic Gnocchi Delicata or Gnocchi with Mushrooms for a melt in your mouth, pillowy consistency – are you drooling yet?!

All Italian food is unhealthy

FAKE NEWS! Italian culture is not all fats and carbs – there are so many lean fishes, salads and fresh vegetables that are classic dishes! Favorites at the restaurant include the Chicken Chopped Salad and Salmon Organto with black kale & roasted potatoes, oregano and lemon.

Italian food is primarily pizza and pasta

FICTION: Boy, oh boy, where do we start? Pizza and pastas are iconic Italian dishes here in the states, but did you know that pasta is traditionally served in smaller portions as a mid-course in Italy? The southern tip of Italy is surrounded by fish towns, whereas up north you’ll find farms and forests where chefs use lots of mushrooms and truffles. Also, meat and cheese lovers rejoice; you can thank Italy for your favorite charcuterie boards featuring favorites like pecorino, fontina and parmesan cheeses, or dried meats like capocollo, salami and more!

Is the hype of a wood-burning oven real?

YES! It’s simple: pizza just comes out crispier and better! The wood-burning oven inside the restaurant was flown in from Italy 19 years ago! Pizzas are cooked at 600 degrees – normal ovens only go up to 450-500 degrees – and the open flame eliminates the gas taste!

Wine pairings: What are the rules?

Antico's herb salmon
Antico Posto’s Herbed Salmon goes great with a glass of white wine

Chef Joe breaks the rules down and shares that “usually you pair white wine with a white protein like fish and chicken, and a red wine goes great with a meat or lamb dish. My recommendations at Antico Posto is our Chardonnay from Sean Minor or Picket Fence, paired with the Chicken Raguso, and a Super Tuscan like our Pegasus from Guado Al Melo paired with the Spaghetti Bolognese. View full wine list here.

Perfect pizza dough

We’re not claiming the pizza at Antico Posto is perfect, but we’re not NOT saying it’s perfect. Chef Joe and his team mix the pizza dough by hand in the morning, proofs* it a bit in the warmer, and then into the fridge it goes so it doesn’t overproof*.

*Definition of proof: when the years and dough react and rise. Putting the dough in the fridge stops it from growing.

Now that you’ve been schooled on the art of Italian cooking, we hope you’ll come check out Chef Joe’s dishes at Antico Posto. Make your reservation here.

Click here to check out tips from our wine directors on unconventional wine regions of the world!