National Spaghetti Day illustration

Restaurant Review: Celebrate 2023 all over again at the West Loop’s Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio

National Spaghetti Day illustration

Happy New Year from Dean’s Team Chicago! If you thought the holiday celebrations were over after January 1…think again.  Wednesday, January 4, is National Spaghetti Day!

Paying tribute to one of the best Italian restaurants in the city 

While there are many exceptional Italian restaurants here, you can look to any list of top Italian restaurants in Chicago, and the West Loop’s Monteverde is consistently in the Top 10, if not ranked #1.  

What’s their secret? According to their website,  the heart of the restaurant is the Pastificio (pasta factory) where James Beard Award winner (Best Chef Great Lakes) Chef Sarah Grueneberg’s team creates fresh, hand-made pastas throughout the day, offering a variety of shapes, sizes and textures. If Gruenberg’s name sounds familiar, you may have seen her beating the daylights out of her competition on cooking shows like Top Chef and Beat Bobby Flay. She placed second on Top Chef, and actually beat Food Network icon Flay on his first show. 

“Flour is power at Monteverde”

Opened in late 2015, Monteverde was once so popular that reservations needed to be booked 57 months in advance, according to The Infatuation. That’s nearly six years!

(Note: Currently, the restaurant is on Winter Break through January 10th)

While you might not have to wait quite as long now, and there’s a special list to get you in when reservations are cancelled, reviewers have been nearly unanimous in saying “It was worth the wait!”

Start with STUZ ZICHINI (snacks) such as Emilia’s Spuntino, withParm, hand- rolled grissini, and balsamic “from our batteria.“ Or, for something completely different, a Mozzarella Shooter, consisting of tomato dashi, giardiniera, and shallots. Or, an Artichoke & Sunchoke Crostino, with house-made ricotta, shallot, fontina fonduta, and savini truffle. 

Move on to PIATTINI (shared plates) with a highly recommended Burrata E Ham with rosemary tigelle, prosciutto di san daniele, and a peach apple fig mostarda. Lighter appetites will enjoy Oma’s Green Mountain Salad, pairing little gem lettuce with avocado and crunchy vegetables. For sweet and savory, their Tuscan Kale & Apple Salad is made of endive, charred onion tahini vin, sheep’s milk feta,  spiced seeds, and toasted breadcrumbs.

PASTA TIPICA choices include a White Truffle Tajarin, with hand-cut angel hair pasta, parm fonduta, and a fresh shaved white truffle. Chitarra Alla Norcina combines black truffle sausage ragù with porcini mushroom, black garlic and parm. Or, try Gnocchetti Con Pesto, with house-made ricotta, basil, tuscan pine nut, and Sardinian pecorino

However, their SPAGHETTI AL POMODORO, with roasted tomato, basil, and oven-dried cherry tomatohas a special cause: “$2 of every spaghetti al pomodoro sold will support TPAN, an organization serving individuals of all identities living with and vulnerable to HIV.” 

Leave room for their delectable desserts, which include a Double Chocolate Gianduja Tart, with dark chocolate sorbet, toasted marshmallow fluff, orange marmalata, and piedmontese hazelnut. Or, try Monteverde’s Baked Apple Sundae, with cinnamon and vanilla ice creams, toasted marshmallow fluff,  rye blondies, balsamela, and brown butter walnut.

Google reviewers are ecstatic about the food and service:

 “Food is excellent! The burrata and the arancini are a must. The house made pastas have the perfect flavor and texture. Perfect place for sharing a meal. Drinks and wine program complemented the meal very well. Great atmosphere and a place that really pays attention to the details.”

“Fantastic dining experience. Great food with full of surprises. The fried squash blossom was amazing. The veggie in the Regu was a highlight. The meatballs was so tasty. The pastas were just authentic and on point.

The long waited reservation did not disappoint us.”

Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio is located at 1020 W. Madison Street. They are open Tuesdays-Thursdays for dinner, 5pm-9:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays for lunch, 11:30am-2pm and dinner from 4:30pm-10:30pm. For reservations, click here

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago