A Recent Favorite | Chicago | Illinois | Italian | Melanzane05 Apr 2017 09:07 am

An Italian gem – varied and extensive menu, great bread, great service and reasonable wine choices with fair pours.

The house salad (enough to share) with balsamic dressing and pecans was fresh – no wilted greens here! The melanzane appetizer was  lightly breaded and topped with just the right amount of tomatoes, garlic, oil and mozzarella. The egg noodle carbonara was one of the best I’ve ever had – I tend to large portions with plenty of cream sauce and pancetta (definitely should have been a shared entree). The grilled octopus with balsamic was OK but tough (not usually a fan but decided to try it so I may not be best judge). Can’t wait to go back and make this one of my regular haunts (this place originally opened years ago on Peterson Avenue and at the time was noted as a real cut above the usual area restaurants – don’t know why I stopped frequenting this place but I’m back).

Via Veneto

6340 North Lincoln Avenue

Chicago, IL 60659

(773)267-0888

Street parking and at adjacent medical building evenings and Sunday

open 7 days

 

California | Corte Madera | Italian | Melanzane | Pizza05 Jul 2006 11:59 am

Mario & Tony (the chef) Farahmand transplanted themselves from Iran to California,with a childhood (and growing up in the Italian restaurant business) in Italy before Corte Madera. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your journey to an area we visit often. I will again praise an eggplant dish prepared exactly to my liking – tender, not greasey, with a fresh marinara sauce consisting mainly of diced, flavorful tomatoes. Wow! Other dishes with my companions included a really thin crust pizza with prosciutto, and a pasta/chicken dish – both very good. The focaccia style bread was a hit with the fresh garlic/spices/olive oil.

Wine choices are extensive for such a small place – variety from many places, and some very decent Barbera and Dolcetta selections by the glass and bottle. Wine prices are fair.

Sharing a tiramasu was not a bad idea either. Coffee is good, and service very friendly (even with a 2.5 year old in tow). Friendly staff as well as elegant/casual surroundings.

18 Tamalpais Drive
Corte Madera, CA 94925
(415)927-2316
www.benissimos.com

Chicago | Illinois | Italian | Melanzane11 May 2005 08:02 pm

Look out – you have some new converts. Our first visit to La Scarola was on a late Monday evening thinking the wait would be short. Guess we didn’t time things quite right, though the pleasant wait staff (and bartender) made waiting almost a pleasure. A good selection of reds by the glass helped pass the time.

Though the place has been around for awhile, for some reason we resisted this near north west side gem. Our starter was sausage and peppers served with good artisan bread and the usual butter, olive oil, grated cheese and red pepper sides. I like the options though tend to shy away from some of the fats whenever possible. I’ll take my fats in the sausage!

The egg plant parmagiana was a knock out – on a par with Donatella’s. Rigatoni pasta (al dente – amen!) with broccoli and goat cheese tossed with shallots and garlic was delicious with subtle flavors combined to make a memorable dish. A thrown-in side of linguini with vegetable red sauce was taken home – and it too was al dente enough to be edible the next day; what a deal.

The place is a bit cramped – but everyone is smiling and friendly. It was a pleasure to enjoy the experience with no pressing time constraint.

Next time will look at the wine list, and try a meat dish to satisfy my hunter instincts. There is a sharing charge which I don’t approve of in these days of weight watching and portion awareness.

$$

721 West Grand Ave. (just east of Milwaukee and Halsted)
Chicago, IL 60610

$5 valet parking (let’s hope it stays that cheap)
(312) 243-1740

www.lascarola.com