The Italian noodle has evolved over millions of years, originating in Sicily as a little chimp noodle and eventually morphing into a variety of highly developed forms (the full-on homo ravioli being one of the more sophisticated subspecies). Fill up on fully developed flavors with today's Groupon, offering $20 for $50 worth of cuisine and drinks at Va Pensiero. Adapting Italian classics to embrace the bounty of Midwestern meats and vegetables, Va Pensiero, located at 1566 Oak Ave. in Evanston, creates unforgettable cuisine in a pleasant dining environment.
Va Pensiero owner Jeff Muldrow has served as executive chef at a number of top-notch Chicago Italian restaurants. Using the best ingredients from local, predominantly organic farms (plus a few indispensably Italian ingredients imported from the motherland), he's assembled a creative menu of sumptuous dishes. Start off with a creamy risotto with roasted pumpkin and meaty, pan-seared scallops ($14) or a bright carpaccio of grass-fed beef tenderloin with sun-dried tomato compote and shaved parmesan ($10). Entrees are varied and impressive, including a variety of textures and flavors in the herbed-crusted sea scallops ($31) and grilled lamb chops with gorgonzola polenta and swiss chard ($28). Wash it all down with a wine pairing from Va Pensiero's rich wine list.
Hanging blooms and white-clothed tables dot Va Pensiero's charming outdoor patio, perfect for spring flings and prosecco on lush summer nights. Va Pensiero also features a specialty cocktail list, including such inspired libations as the Italian Pear Tree (fresh sage, pear vodka, Riesling), and La Dolce Vita (a bubbly sip with Chambord, fresh lemon juice, gin, and prosecco). Indulge in heady sips and tempting bites at any of Va Pensiero's special events, for which you are welcome to use your Groupon. Spend Valentine's Day with a four-course treat in the romantic dining room, or drop in for one of the cooking classes. Va Pensiero is open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., or Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Rejecting the planned bustle and cacophony of most Italian eateries, Va Pensiero presents a serene (some say romantic) setting for a beautiful meal: diners relax in comparative privacy amid dimly lit greenery. Whether serving basics (vegetable minestrone soup, pork tenderloin) or variations on a theme (penne tossed with shredded rabbit ragout, jumbo sea scallops with a watercress-fennel slaw), executive chef Eric Hammond prepares and presents his dishes with a devotion to style. – Paul Schoenwetter, Chicago Reader
- Tagliatelle got tossed tableside (in the well of a hollowed-out wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano) with a simple yet elegantly delicious combination of Parmigiano, wild mushrooms and truffle oil. Quite a fine dish in every aspect (the pasta was exceptional in every way)….A hunk of beef short ribs (tenderly falling apart at the gentle prod of my fork) rode on a bed of polenta infused with Gorgonzola with a ring of Swiss chard pushing neatly into the edge of the polenta. I ate the whole thing. – Pat Bruno, Sun-Times
- Superb dining experience. Excellent cuisine. Attentive service. A perennial favorite. – OpenTable.com user who dined on 01/16/2010
- Excellent food & atmosphere made it a extremely enjoyable dinner. I loved my lasagna plus the desert - perfect flavor with just the right touch of spices / ingredients. – tina foodie, Citysearch
1566 Oak Ave.
Evanston, Illinois 60201Get Directions