Volare (Restaurant, River East)
Location: 201 E. Grand Avenue
Phone: (312) 410-9900
Volare is one of those hidden veterans (they’ve likely been there a long time as well) that locals flock to. It’s been around forever and it’s obvious why; this Italian restaurant delivers great food and service every time. Servers are friendly and very knowledgeable (they’ve likely been there quite awhile) and rattle off intricate nightly specials that will make you change your mind about what you were going to order. Their homemade pasta tastes like Italy. The gnocchi is one of the best in the city (myself being a self-proclaimed gnocchi conosur); get it with the vodka sauce and expect perfection. The osso buco is a popular special and shouldn’t be missed if it’s on the list that night.
The place is packed almost every night of the week and the narrow restaurant doesn’t make for much waiting space, so make a reservation. They also have outdoor seating (with covering) and valet service.