Italian food is my favorite type of comfort food. I mean what sounds better than pastas, meatballs, cannolis, and more? Because of my immense love for Italian food, I was definitely thrilled when the Fab Food team got a chance to visit Viaggio in the West Loop. It was an Italian feast unlike any other.
The atmosphere screams classic family Italian restaurant the minute you walk in. The white tablecloths, candles, and dim lighting created an intimate setting throughout the night. I could definitely picture bringing friends, family, or even a date to Viaggio for a nice dinner. I especially loved seeing people hang out and talk over drinks at the full bar.
Something that really stood out to me during our meal was the old-school Italian hospitality that was provided from the moment we walked in. We had the pleasure of being served by two waiters since we caught them during a shift change. Both waiters made us feel like part of the family, even helping us serve up the huge portions of food and patiently waiting until we were done taking our food photos! We even had the honor to speak with the owner of the restaurant, which was a truly unique experience.
Viaggio // Photo: @chelsias
Viaggio’s specialty definitely lies in their classic Italian dishes. The selection on the menu gave me the mindset of having dinner at an Italian household. There are so many options to choose from including appetizers, salads, pastas, chicken & veal, seafood, steaks, Italian specialties, and sides. Although overwhelming at first (mostly because I wanted to try everything), the waiters were able to help us order by recommending some specials and fan favorites.
The quality of food was incredible. The pastas were cooked perfectly and the sauces were creamy. The flavors were well balanced and I never found anything too overpowering. The portions are huge, so come with a big appetite. Eating at Viaggio’s made me wish I had an endless pit of a stomach so I could finish everything.
There was a separate dessert menu given to us at the end of our entrées. Although we were all full, the moment we saw the dessert selections we were able to muster up enough appetite to order more food. It was totally worth it and our sweet tooth cravings were satisfied. Every dish tasted very fresh and had a homemade quality to it. By the end of the meal, I felt like I had just experienced a truly traditional Italian dinner.
Baked Clams at Viaggio // @chelsias
Lemon Drop at Viaggio // Photo: @chelsias
Lobster Ravioli at Viaggio // @chelsias
Chicken Raviolli at Viaggio // @chelsias
The meatball salad is truly one-of-a-kind and comes highly recommended. The dish itself is exactly like it sounds, a bed of salad tossed in dressing with meatballs and marinara on top. Sounds so simple right? However, the level of flavor that each meatball had was anything but simple. Each meatball was huge in size, perfectly seasoned, and not overcooked. The lightly dressed salad added a nice freshness to the meatball as well as a fun crunch with every bite. This is a must-have dish when you go to Viaggio.
Meatball Salad at Viaggio // Photo: @fabsoopark
Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite Italian dishes in general so I had high expectations for Viaggio’s version of the dish. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. What really made it stand out was how well the thick eggplant was cooked. Overcooked eggplant can get soggy but the eggplant held up to the sauce and pasta. The combination of fresh mozzarella and provolone added a nice touch.
Eggplant Parmesan at Viaggio // Photo: @chelsias
Rigatoni with Sunday Pork Gravy
This dish lives up to its indulgent name. The pork is slow-cooked in tomato gravy and then generously spooned on top of perfectly cooked rigatoni. To top it off, there is a huge scoop of ricotta cheese which adds a nice creamy texture with every bite. This was one of my favorites of the night because I am a big fan of ricotta.
Rigatoni with Sunday Pork Gravy at Viaggio // Photo: @chelsias
Ricotta stole my heart in more ways than one. With the rigatoni mentioned above and the other with the cannoli dessert I ate. It was my first time eating a cannoli so I was so excited to try it. At Viaggio their crunchy cannoli shell sits on top of drizzled chocolate and caramel, complete with a cherry on the side. The sweetness of the ricotta was not overpowering but just right. I probably could have had 20 of these if I wasn’t so full!
Canolli at Viaggio // Photo: @chelsias
Viaggio is such a cozy yet elegant restaurant. For me, it truly was the best Italian meal that I have had since coming to Chicago. Not only was the food amazing and filling but the friendly service will definitely have me coming back. I can’t wait to eat my weight in Italian specials and meatball salad again!
Tiramisu at Viaggio // Photo: @chelsias
FAB TIP: The portions at Viaggio are huge so they can be easily shared! Try getting a couple dishes so you can try a little of each.
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