Italian Restaurants in Lake Forest

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At Ferentino's Pizzeria, the keystone of the menu isn't pizza, but something more basic: bread. Homemade garlic focaccia bread, to be precise. This expertly seasoned mainstay provides the groundwork for many of the restaurant's dishes, acting as a side for pasta entrees—whose noodles and sauces are made fresh daily—and as a foundation for grilled panino sandwiches. Of course, pizzas aren't an afterthought, either. Guests can order pies in one of four styles: thin, deep-dish, stuffed, or Roma, which decorates that same focaccia bread in cheese, toppings, and a to-scale seating chart of the Coliseum. Seven specialty pizzas, such as the buffalo chicken ranch or the feta- and spinach-dressed Mediterranean, arrive with predetermined fixings. For those who prefer the comforting glow of their own oven, chefs also compose "Take and Bake" pizzas to be cooked at home.

842 N Western Ave
Lake Forest,
IL
US

At first glance, Teddy O'Brian's comes off as a pretty unassuming watering hole. But just a bit of investigation proves that it's the kind of place that has something for everyone. The tavern's been there since the 1950s, so it attracts the neighborhood old-timers, but flat-screen TVs and corn-hole boards satisfy younger crowds. No-fuss drinkers can order bottles of Budweiser and PBR, while craft-beer fans will revel in a rotating drink list that has included Deschutes Chainbreaker White and Northcoast PranQster.

No matter what kind of suds you're sipping, you can soak up the libations with a menu of pub food that's available all hours. And they don't skimp on entertainment either. There's open-mic nights on Wednesdays and a karaoke machine on Thursdays, much to the relief of those who can never remember the words to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

432 Sheridan Rd
Highwood,
IL
US

For Mark Greenbaum and his father, Lewis, sharing a pizza meant spending quality time as a family. When his father passed away, Mark decided that the best way to honor his memory was to give Chicagoans a taste of the New York–style pie he had loved so much.

Mark’s venture proved wildly successful—Time Out Chicago columnist and Brooklyn transplant Judy Sutton Taylor swears the eatery “could hold its own alongside any Brooklyn pizzeria.” Aside from the traditional thin-crust pies, the menu at New York Slices also features a specialty Grandma’s pizza with a thicker crust and hand-embroidered pepperonis.

1843 2nd St
Highland Park,
IL
US

At Trattoria Valle D’Itria, chef Giovanni calls upon a brick oven and an armory of fresh ingredients to bring to life the culinary traditions of the sun-soaked Itria Valley. Diners draw in deep breaths loaded with the aromas of sweet polenta, chicken stuffed with mushrooms, and gnocchi cloaked in vodka-cream sauce. Cooks roll sheets of dough, which they trim into myriad fresh pastas bound for steaming pots and the desk of alphabet-soup editors. Warm lighting romps across dark wooden accents in the restaurant's interior, and umbrellas shelter patrons as they dine and people watch in sidewalk seating.

581 Roger Williams Ave
Highland Park,
IL
US

Lake Forest Scene