There’s nothing more upsetting to a chef than when you don’t eat the food when it’s hot.
I was admiring the presentation of arguably the best gnocchi in town and mussels at Trattoria Gianni, an “authentic Italian restaurant” according to DNA Chicago in Lincoln Park (a little further north than NewCity ) when the owner, Gianni Delisi came up to me and insisted that I eat.
I feel loved and relaxed and I just walked through the door. There’s exposed brick and old time photos of horse and carriages. The music is light and perfect for celebrating a co-workers birthday, as the table next to ours is, or sharing a meal with a best friend as I’m doing tonight.
White drapes hang as I look out to the quiet street on Halsted.
I’m distracted as I hear Gianni tell a guest, “Enjoy the show.” He knows his customers and where they’re going.
I turned my attention to the menu. Trattoria Gianni offers gluten-free and whole wheat pasta, which is nice for my Chicago Foodies like gluten-free Chicago Blogger, Allison of Life’s a Beacham.
Trattoria Gianni is known for their homemade pasta.
The waiter greets us with “Buena Sera.” And it wasn’t the only Italian word he spoke; the waiter was fluent. I wish I hadn’t said that I was Italian.
We start with mussels in a flavorful tomato sauce.
Then, we sampled some of the best pasta I’ve had in my life. If you must choose one pasta dish, I would suggest the gnocchi, it is homemade and it is heaven.
The second best dish is the rigatoni with sun dried tomatoes. For a lighter fare, I would order the linguini with scallops or the homemade veal. The veal is exceptional, and it’s light with broccoli.
If you have an insatiable sweet tooth, you should make room for dessert. Finish the night with a frothy cappuccino and a slice of tiramisu to share. Before you know it, you’ll be getting up to leave a place that feels like Rome, but happens to be right in your Chicago neighborhood.
A Night in Lincoln Park: Dinner and Theatre
Trattoria Gianni is at a perfect location. It’s right by the Apple Store and furniture shopping if you’re grabbing lunch, or multiple theaters and a bowling alley for a more playful or cultured evening.
There’s a theater next door, The Greenhouse Theatre. I suggest going to the theater and then having dinner because these homemade pasta dishes are an art of their own and you’ll want to sit and relax and let the food savor and the conversation linger after a show. If you’re going to come after the show, split the tiramisu and have it with some Moscato.
P.S. There’s also the IO Mission Theatre about a half mile away. I suggest eating a nice meal at Trattoria Gianni and then taking a little walk to IO Mission Theatre on a Monday night to see one of the most sold-out shows, 3Peat.
If you are on a first or second date or are out with friends, I would suggest having some appetizers like the mussels and then staying for some delicious cocktails like the homemade cosmo.