When it comes to Italian food in Chicago, most people think they should head over to Taylor Street. While it’s true there are some great restaurants over there, there’s also an excellent Italian restaurant on the North Side that tops my list of favorite places to eat. Located on Wilson Avenue in the Ravenswood / Lincoln Square neighborhood is a lesser known, but becoming increasingly more popular Italian restaurant called Caro Mio. After studying abroad in Italy in college, I’ve become pretty picky about Italian food. You won’t catch me at an Olive Garden unless I’m being forced to go, and I admit there are even a few popular Italian restaurants in Chicago that I am not a huge fan of, even after multiple attempts to try to like it. Since this blog is about things to eat, see, and do in Chicago that are “cool”, I won’t talk about those places though, nor will I recommend any places that I wouldn’t visit again. I started eating at Caro Mio almost 6 years ago, and back then I felt I had found one of the best kept secrets in Chicago. I would often tell friends and family to try this place, but many of them hesitated based on the location. Since then, the secret has gotten out, and Caro Mio has expanded their restaurant to the space next door. Although cabs can be difficult to find outside the restaurant, it is easily accessible and walking distance to the Damen and Montrose Brown Line stops.
Once you walk inside the door, you will find a cozy and romantic space. Although this place is a prime spot for romantic dates, it’s also an excellent place to go in groups. I’ve taken my family here, celebrated engagements here with friends, and have seen many birthday celebrations happening inside the restaurant. With the expanded space, you can bet that you will be seeing even more group events happening here. They only take reservations for larger parties, but they will take your phone number down so you can grab a drink at O’Shaughnessy’s Public House down the street while you wait for your table. Once you sit down, you will see a large menu of delicious items. Their specials are usually the best things to order, and I almost always get their stuffed Gnocchi. It’s the best gnocchi I’ve ever had, hands down. As someone once said to me while eating there, “It’s like a pillow of deliciousness in your mouth.” Enough said. The food is excellent. The best part about this place is that it’s a BYOB with no corkage fee. Yes, Chicago, another BYOB. So, while I feel the food prices are reasonable, the food feels even more affordable after not having a large alcohol tab attached to the bill. If you are on the North Side of Chicago and in the mood for Italian cuisine, head over to Caro Mio with a few bottles of wine.
Dress Code : Casual