We may officially know what the most authentically Italian restaurant in Chicago is, but which of our city’s thousand or so Italian restaurants are the most overrated? Steve Dolinsky decided to splatter some red sauce around, picking his top five “joints that get more praise than they deserve.” Sitting high at number one is Rosebud, which he writes is riding on its reputation, while simultaneously being inauthentic (“When last time you saw tomato cream vodka sauce in Italy?”). But Dolinsky also decides to take on two powerful restaurateurs.
Restaurants from both Scott Harris and Richard Melman make the list. Of course, each has dozens of restaurants, so it makes sense that at least one of the would end up here. Dolinsky has no trouble picking on Melman’s Maggiano’s, which he says serves to the “lowest common denominator.” But he feels a little more conflicted for including Harris’s Mia Francesca’s, which he places at number five. He claims that he used to “love the original on Clark Street,” but expansion has “watered-down” the food.
Interestingly, Dolinsky is supposed to release his list of the best Italian restaurants next week, and we wouldn’t be surprised if restaurants from Harris and Melman make it on that list, too.