Family recipes from across Italy make every spoonful of sauce and melty morsel of mozzarella at Gianni's Cafe remind you of a happy home. Start your evening with ricotta-stuffed baked eggplant rolls ($9.95). Then, trail teasers with a trinity of customizable pasta: Choose your own noodle, sauce, and ingredients with a Romanesque thumbs up or down. Options include pesto and spicy diablo sauce ($13.95 each), with add-ons such as pine nuts ($2.50) and meatballs ($3.50). For those who would rather not choose what they chews, a house specialty eliminates decision-making. Garlic, white wine, herbs, peas, and potatoes erupt from unpredictable veal vesuvio ($21.95); pollo (most dishes are $17.95) and pesce ($18.95–$31.95) are other protein-packed options. In addition to its post-meridian menu, Gianni's also serves lunch at the Kildeer location (open seven days a week), and Sunday brunch in Palatine (open Tuesday through Sunday).
For more than 20 years, Photo's Hotdogs has been batting away hunger with a menu of classic handheld eats. The eatery's signature hot dog arrives dressed in true Chicago-style wearing an appetizing ensemble of onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, hot peppers, spats, and a pickle. Guests with a larger-than-life appetite can feast upon a Monster burger stacked high with two beef patties, mozzarella and american cheese, bacon, and grilled onions, or learn to munch in another language by sinking denti into a classic italian beef sandwich. Photo’s also ups the ante on its roster of classic American fare with more inventive menu selections such as Alaskan salmon burgers, fish tacos, and grilled turkey burgers.
Each day, the chefs at Vittorio de Roma guide fresh ingredients into Italian pasta makers to craft spaghetti, fettuccine, and lasagna. They plump up ravioli pouches with butternut squash, then toss them in cream sauce with sprinkles of hazelnuts. The restaurant's signature meatballs form classic unions with tender threads of spaghetti and miniature bowlers, as well as with pours from the extensive wine list.
Dark woods characterize the warm main dining room, home to live entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings. The private dining rooms accommodate guests for events such as birthday parties, showers, and office gatherings.
Fortune Kookie Restaurant silences stomachs' grumbling cries for diverse Chinese cuisine with the numerous pork, chicken, beef, seafood, and vegetarian dishes populating its menu. Plates of sesame chicken hold lightly battered morsels doused in a tart, spicy sauce ($7.25 for lunch; $10.95 for dinner) to sate caged teeth accustomed to gnawing on tongues and tree bark shaped like steak for flavor. Frozen taste buds thaw under the rain of the fiery sauce that accompanies the stir-fried mix of bean curd, vegetables, and meat in the szechwan tofu with beef ($15.25). Much like a delusional pirate, the Eight Treasure tofu considers its golden till of fried shrimp, scallops, and squid as an ocean-drawn fortune ($13.95). Vegetarians and disguised sauropods indulge in vegetarian entrees such as stir-fried silver-thread noodles ($9.25 for vegetarian; $11.50 with meat) or the Farmer's Market, a grocer's stand of vegetables, including baby corn, broccoli, and fresh mushrooms ($8.95).
An ice cream cone and a power ballad. The perfect combination, at least when it comes to founder and local musician Tyler Holcomb. Rock N Roll a la mode sits at the nexus of his favorite things: music and sweets. Live band performances, kid karaoke, and a video wall playing music videos set the tone for this dessert destination, where chalkboard menus show 32 flavors of ice cream, all delivered fresh from the mysterious wonderland known as Wisconsin. The staff scoops those frozen treats into waffle cones, blends them into shakes, and uses them to make floats. Glass display cases, meanwhile, look in on the day's cupcake varieties, which represent a selection of the shop's 189 total flavors with names such as Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and PB XXL. If that weren't enough, an entire wall of the shop brims with gummy bears, German chocolate, and other bulk candies.
It's not all sugar and guitar riffs, though. Rock N Roll a la mode's menu also covers a few more savory items, namely burgers and signature jumbo hot dogs. The latter come in several classic varieties—like Chicago-style—and more inventive forms, including the Nirvana with its coleslaw, mustard, and onion toppings.