For decades, Rosebud on Rush has been an institution for the hot-to-trot as well as Italian-loving tourists, taking diners back to the days when this was Sinatra's kind of town...and it shows. During the months when eating on the patio isn't practical for Chicagoans, diners pack the house from noon to night.
The date-friendly upstairs area keeps things dreamy with a sky-colored oval dome and flattering candlelight. Downstairs, the livelier see-and-be-seen types (keep your eyes peeled for celebs) keep the beat with a pianist and vocalist on every day but Sunday. Wherever you're seated, you're sure to feel like a member of the club.
Merlot and Cabernet dominate at this corner of Rush and Superior, but the wine list runs well beyond the two reds, and bartenders are anything but bashful in their pours of mixed drinks. But even the most dedicated Rush Street reveler will forget about drinking once they try a gargantuan pasta specialty here. Embraceable entrees include rigatoni with a decadent vodka sauce, marsala topped with either chicken or veal, and the famed chicken vesuvio. And whether in Chicago or Capri, every Italian enthusiast knows that a meal isn't over until the last remnants of the tiramisu are scraped from your plate.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Robin Wright