It’s no secret that I LOVE good Italian food.
Frankly, who doesn’t?
But after my travels through Umbria and Rome in June, I’ve been systematically hunting down the most authentic Italian spots in Chicago.
Which is why today’s restaurant is so special.
Few Italian restaurants in Chicago will literally transport you to Italy like Casati’s Pizza Vino.
Owned and operated by one of the most charming couples you’ll ever meet, Castai’s is the perfect spot: a welcoming neighborhood trattoria serving some truly stunning dishes inspired by the “true way” Italian mothers cook.
Believe me — this spot will quickly become a favorite of yours.
Not only are the dishes ridiculously authentic but they’re also — in many cases — much healthier too! Not to mention photogenic…
Even though winter is around the corner, I’d be remiss if I didn’t start this post by sharing how much I love Casati’s patio.
It’s one of the most dog-friendly patios in all of Lincoln Park and absolutely one you should stop at with your furry friends before winter!
Apollo has been spoiled eating here as much as he has this summer and I fully expect him to become mutinous when the weather turns cold!
But I promised to share the food, not just photos of Apollo so let’s dive in shall we?
As anyone whose travelled through Italy can attest, nothing sets the mood for an Italian meal quite like an Aperol Spritz. And Casati’s makes a MEAN one.
For appetizers, Casati’s has some familiar favorites as well as some unique dishes. I highly recommend this Pinsina flatbread to start with.
While it is a “bread”, pinsa dough is actually a lot healthier than traditional options. Since the dough is almost 80% water, it has 90% less fat, carbs, and gluten than traditional dough. And while it’s EVERYWHERE in Rome, Casati’s is the only spot in Chicago serving pinsa (they also use it to make their pizzas!). You can read more about the pinsa trend here.
Mark my words, after you take a bite of this flaky delicious bread, you’ll understand why it’s become such a serious trend in Italy!
Other appetizer offerings include Italian cold cuts,
incredibly fresh bruschetta,
and one of the most beautiful tartara you’ll find! This one is made with ahi tuna, avocado, peas, crispy shallots and a shallot vinaigrette… mmm!
(On a side note, I’m going to miss patio weather so much this winter! Gigi, Starr and I had a wonderful time soaking up the sun while eating our Italian lunch. I’m going to miss the sunshine…)
Okay, back to the food!
All good Italian meals start with an appetizer then PASTA. And Casati’s has some seriously delicious (and homemade!) options!
This is their seasonal ravioli…
and their famous carbonara with pecorino, pancetta, egg yolk and black pepper.
Which is Apollo’s personal favorite (to drool over mind you… we didn’t leave him any leftovers to try!).
Other great options are the Prosciutto Panini (made with their pinsa bread!),
which is shockingly delicious considering how healthy it is,
as well as this Costoletta (a thinly pounded and breaded pork chop),
and this beautifully cooked salmon with sweet potato vellute.
But no matter what you order, you MUST order one of Casati’s Pizze di Pinsa (made with that special pinsa dough)!
Chicago’s “healthiest pizza” also happens to be some of the most authentic.
My personal favorite is their Bianca Pizze with truffle shavings, mozzarella, parmesan, chives and sun-dried tomatoes.
It’s crazy to think how healthy this pizza is when you bite into it. It’s sinful in the very best way. And — despite being one of Rome’s trendiest dishes — can only be found in Chicago at Casati’s.
It’s truly something you have to try for yourself!
But be sure to leave room for dessert too! While I’m not typically a “sweets” person (I hear you groaning!), Casati’s happens to have one of my favorite desserts in all of Chicago…
Their Nuccia’s Chocolate.
Yet ANOTHER dish you can only find at Casati’s.
It’s chocolate shortbread cookies served with puppy chow, berries, and pistachio gelato.
It’s truly one of the most nostalgic and sinful desserts I’ve ever had. I mean, where else can you find puppy chow on a fancy “instagrammable” dessert? And despite how pretty it looks, it tastes EVEN BETTER.
I get this EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I visit Casati’s. It’s THAT good.
Isn’t Casati’s owner Stefano the cutest? I just adore how involved and PROUD he is of his dishes (the chocolate dessert is a childhood favorite of his). He certainly has every right to be proud — he and his wife have created a truly incredible restaurant together.
Casati’s Pizza Vino is one of those spots you’ll love from beginning to end. It’s run by a passionate family committed to bringing true, authentic Italian fare to Chicagoans in as organic and healthy of a way as possible.
I adored Casati’s from the moment I first took a bite of their famous pizze! And can’t wait to watch them grow and flourish as more and more people discover this hidden gem.
And — just in case you’re swamped and don’t have time to stop in — you can order Casati’s delivery through Caviar. I speak from personal experience when I say that those pizze di pinsas travel VERY well!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal at Casati’s Pizza Vino to facilitate this post but I was not monetarily compensated, and all opinions expressed are my own. I only ever write about places and experiences that I have personally tried and wholeheartedly recommend. I would happily send friends and family here for a meal in the future.