I live in what you call the North side of Chicago. As do all of my friends. This varies from West Loop, to Lincoln Park, but I do not have a single friend, let alone acquaintance (that I know of) that does not live South of Wrigleyville. Therefore, we usually, when venturing to dinner, or to the bars, we steer clear of the centralized hoods of downtown and Wicker Park (I personally hate Wrigleyville unless I am there for a Cubs game). Broadening our horizons, my friends and I ventured to Pilsen where Little Italy is located, and went to what my boss calls “one of the best Italian in the city,” Ignotz’s Ristorante. If you’re unaware of Chicago geography, I’ll go ahead and tell you that Pilsen and Wrigleyville are on exact opposite sides of the city. However, the 2400 block of South Oakley is lined with other little Italian spots that I have just added to my ever-increasing restaurant list. It’s a cute little street, where Ignotz’s is happily situated amongst residences.
Wine usually makes me sleepy, so I try to avoid it before a night out, which provides a conundrum for me, as I love drinking wine with dinner. Bur order a bottle of wine we did, which of course make me sleepy, but the long cab ride back downtown with dance music blaring woke me right up.
To start, we ordered the fried calamari for the table, which, to me, lacked a lot of flavor. Though it was fried, I had to smother the blandness with marinara. It was by no means horrible, and I had more than one, but I would order something else next time.
Priya and I split one of their specials (I’ve been a real sucker for specials lately), a spicy seafood pasta. The dish comprised of shrimp, clams, and scallops on angel hair pasta in a spicy red sauce. I was delighted to find out that the scallops were perfectly cooked, and the clams not too
Though we were way too full to order dessert, the waitress came around with chocolate covered cherries. Excited, I eagerly grabbed one, and dipped it generously into the whipped cream it came with. I was promptly disappointed, as the cherry was, in actuality, a maraschino cherry. I hate those things. They’re gross. A natural cherry covered in chocolate would have been a million times better. Apparently I was alone in this view, as most at the table had several.
Overall, I’d go to Ignotz’s for their entrees. I could not have asked for anything more in my seafood pasta, and the wine was superb. Whether for date night, or a group night out, Ignotz will get the job done. Though kind of in bufu, it’s worth the trip. Broaden your horizons, fellow Northsiders, and go.