Restaurant Review – Can’t visit Italy this summer? Escape to The (Italian) Village!

Open since 1927 in the Chicago Loop, The Village is a romantic, family-owned Italian restaurant with spectacular murals and semi-private dining spaces that make you feel as if feel as if you’re sitting under a Tuscan sun.

A Google reviewer said it best: “WOW, what an experience….! From the second you walk in the door you know this place is gonna be like no other. The food is absolutely out of this world, true authentic homemade Italian. The staff is also what makes this place what it is! Truly a great establishment that I highly recommend trying. I will continue to come back for years to come!”

The Capatanini family is now in its third generation of ownership, having weathered the pandemic, the Great Depression, Prohibition and World War II, and a couple of Pandemics. Though they once operated three restaurants in their Loop location, The Village is the only restaurant serving the public right now. Their other restaurants are available for private parties only.

Through it all, The Village has survived with a combination of handmade Northern Italian pastas, a commitment to using quality ingredients, and providing outstanding service. 

Start with an Antipasti like Calimari, prepared either fried or grilled, or Shrimp Tuscany- Four Gulf shrimp broiled in a sun dried tomato, shallot, pancetta, and basil butter sauce.The whole family can enjoy a traditional Italian Antipasto ofprosciutto, salami, mortadella, capicola, marinated mushrooms, marinated artichokes, green olives, Kalamata olives, tomato, anchovy, hard-boiled egg, radish, and fresh basil.

Lighter lunch and dinner fare include Insalata (Salads) Italian Cobb salad comes with chopped romaine lettuce, mixed greens, and arugula, topped with roasted turkey breast, hard boiled egg, fried pancetta, tomato, scallion, artichoke, and Fontinella cheese. A traditional Caprese has sliced tomato, red onion, fresh mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinaigrette. Grilled Chicken has mixed greens, sliced apples, oranges, red onion, dried cranberries, and gorgonzola cheese.

Make room for house specialties like Chicken Piccata, traditional with grilled chicken breasts with caper and white wine sauce over spinach, or their house specialty, Chicken Vesuvio, an oven-roasted half Amish chicken, with potato wedges, herbs, garlic, white wine. The menu warns of a 35-40 minute cook time. Another house specialty is their Atlantic Salmon, made Puttanesca-style, broiled with tomatoes, capers, olives,  garlic, basil and white wine, served over sautéed spinach. And their Beef Toscanini–  Filet mignon medallions sautéed with fresh mushrooms  and marsala wine, served with pappardelle pasta. Also highly recommended are Chef Jose’s specials, which include Seafood Manicotti, which are Oven-baked crepes filled with shrimp, scallop, salmon and seasoned ricotta cheese, topped with tomato cream sauce, or the Pheasant Agnolottini, Handmade pillow-shaped, pheasant-filled pasta in a butter sage sauce, sprinkled with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Another Google reviewer wrote in a five-star review:

“Food was spectacular. We tried the meatballs with the spicy sauce, ravioli, beef sandwich and our kids got some pizza and it was all delicious. Besides the food, our large family of 9 was accommodated in a somewhat private little room and the customer service we received by all the employees was hands down the best customer service we received while in Chicago. Very kind, sweet people here who go above and beyond to make your visit one to remember.”

The Village Restaurant is located at 71 W. Monroe, open seven days a week. Sundays-Thursdays, from 11am-8:30pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from  11am-9pm. For information and reservations, click here

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago