Acanto
Acanto

Acanto

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.acantochicago.com/
  • Phone: 3125780763x
  • Hours of Operation:


    Lunch
    Monday - Sunday: 11:00am - 4:00pm
    Dinner
    Sunday & Monday 4:00pm - 10:00pm
    Tuesday - Saturday 4:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Chris Gawronski
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, View, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Madison
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: Valet parking is available at the University Club, around the corner at 76 East Monroe. Garage parking is available in the Grant Park garage, accessible off Michigan Avenue; the far southeast corner is closest to Henri.
A word from Acanto
Billy Lawless is excited to announce a new chapter in the life of the historic Gage building – the opening of Acanto. The word Acanto is the Italian translation of Acanthus – the flowery leaf used extensively in Roman architecture and by famed architect Louis Sullivan in his distinctive terracotta ornamentation found on the facade of the historically landmarked building at 18 South Michigan Avenue. Acanto highlights rustic Italian cuisine in a casual, inviting setting. At the kitchen’s helm, is Executive Chef Chris Gawronski executing handcrafted pastas, coastal seaside plates, stone oven pizzas, and an in-house charcuterie program.
No Italian meal is complete without a perfectly paired beverage, which is the task of Beverage Director Jon McDaniel. Relying on his time spent living in Trento and Piemonte, Jon is featuring hand-selected wines from all of Italy’s 20 wine regions, craft Italian birra and Italian-inspired cocktails by Spirits Director Michael Page.
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Acanto reviews from OpenTable diners
166 reviews since July 3, 2014
Overall Rating4.4
  • Food4.3
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.4
    Noise LevelModerate
88% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (118)notable wine list (58)great for outdoor dining (57)neighborhood gem (53)romantic (44)special occasion (43)great for lunch (39)hot spot (37)scenic view (25)good for groups (18)vibrant bar scene (9)late-night find (7)great for brunch (6)kid-friendly (2)Show More
  • Meh
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    Henri was such a great space and fabulous food before the new chef came on board. Then the food was mediocre and the price point went up. Acanto is a step down. The room has no class. The service was okay but nothing special. The Menu is limited. I had the pasta special that was completely devoid of salt. I asked for extra parmigiana that helped a bit. Our waiter asked if I wanted salt. Really? Will not return. Will take Anteprima any day. Miss Henri.
    Special Features:
    late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great new restaurant
    Mac2sal
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    I have been here twice and really enjoyed it both times. The salads are fresh and flavorful...I loved the chicken entrée I had on my first visit. The bone in ribeye was good too.i can't wait to come back and try the pizzas in this cozy little spot! Service was friendly and noligable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great food, great service
    hungrycat
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    Fantastic upscale food, huge italian wine list, knowledgeable staff and great atmosphere made the experience fantastic!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Lunch Spot
    DerekVIP
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    Great new addition to Michigan Ave. This place exceeded expectations as a lunch spot - more than your average lunch, but not too expensive and excellent food.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Greatest dining experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    Service was wonderful from the time we opened the door. Servers were very knowledgable on the wine lists and what to pair with our perfectly cooked pork trio. Lawless himself made sure to check in with every table just to say hi and make sure everyone was having an enjoyable time. All together this is one of if not the greatest dining experience I have ever had. Just wanted to surprise my girlfriend with a nice little date and this exceeded all of our expectations. I can't wait until we can return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Expensive and Limited menu
    BeanVIP
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    If you don't eat carbs, this is not the place for you. Very limited menu if you avoid pizza and pasta. Then the price goes way up for dinner. The wine was $14 a glass for a very stingy pour. I'm all in for spending money on good food, but this wasn't worth it. Grilled octopus was good but tiny and roasted chicken was fine. Not worth $150 for two people. I went home hungry to have a second glass of wine...
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Lunch at Acanto
    starfood
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    The food was amazing! I would like to go back for dinner. The service was impeccable, overall, a great experience. We ordered the special salad that day, which was delicious, the special flatbread was phenomenal - roasted pear, blue cheese and the salad with the white beans was fantastic.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent Meal!
    Jake
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    Wonderful dining experience. Creative menu, outstanding service. Dining space is intimate. Highly recommend the restaurant, will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice surprise
    ChifrogVIP
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    We did not even know this existed. We were pleasantly surprised. Our server was excellent, got us in and out in time for the show, he even timed it so we could squeeze in a little dessert. The food was delicious. We had the octopus and duck egg pasta. Everything was prepared perfectly and surprisingly not so heavy it sits in your stomach. Great wine list even by the glass
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First Timer
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    First time at Acanto. We had an excellent experience. Food was flavorful, wine selection great and fun atmosphere. Would recommend and will try again
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Detra
    detra
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    Perfect place for dinner before the Symphony. Loved the ambiance, wonderful food and service. Don't expect traditional Italian food--pizza and pasta have a different spin--both were excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fabulous
    CBRChi
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    This is a cozy little gem, perfect for a date. The wine list is fantastic- we had a '97 red that was one of the best wines I've ever had. We ordered a couple things off the special menu - a duck pasta and a farro salad. Both were delicous. Nothing but good things to say about this restaurant, which recently changed from Henri (French food) to Acanto (Italian) with the same chef. Can't wait to go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Superb Dining Experience
    DiscerningdinerVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    What a great overall dining experience! Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the wines, cheeses and other menu items. He was spot-on in every instance. We were a little rushed at the end for our theatre engagement, so he brought a plate of delicious cookies to our table that he didn't charge us for. Little touches like that will definitely cause us to return. This could become my favorite Italian restaurant in the Loop!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nice!
    artisticpalateVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Imaginative food, good service (a tad aggressive even though our server knew we were not in a hurry to get to a show). Space seems smaller than its predecessor Henri, with quasi-casual features such as Formica tables and chairs. And where is the "acanto", the acanthus architectural decor? Architecture and decor aside, this a lively restaurant with lots of promise.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Keeps getting better
    grtrxVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Just an amazingly good place hitting on all cylinders. Very much worthy of your time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great resturant and will return
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    Great service, rigatoni dish was excellant, pasta not overcooked and sauce good flavors Excellant choices of cheeses for plate We sat in back of resturant facing bar on bench seating which allowed nice view of resturant
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Inconsistent
    Local1
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    This was our second visit to Acanto. Friday night 8PM. On the first, we had a "duck egg spaghetti" pasta that was unique: spicy, deep caramelized onion flavor. I couldn't get enough of it. I ordered it again, our second visit. All the caramelized flavor was missing. We asked our waiter if the recipe had changed. He said, no, it was exactly the same as it had always been. Well, something changed, and I wouldn't order duck egg spaghetti again. The trout was the same (good) so I don't know what's going on.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • rognd
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    Good food and attentive service in a neighborhood (Loop) in need of good restaurants.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Pleasantly surprised
    LauraVIP
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    We were so upset when Henri closed. It was our favorite. The decor and atmosphere were exactly what we love. Acanto didn't quite match the former experience, but missed by only a fraction. It's not a classic French place, so get over it. The food and service were beyond reproach. The room lovely (but not as beautiful as Henri). It was very crowded on a Wednesday night which explains and legitimizes the change in format. WONDERFUL!!!!! Acanto is now our reluctant favorite place downtown.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent New Restaurant
    nam426VIP
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    We couldn't have loved Acanto more. Excellent service followed by fantastic food. Authentic Italian.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, notable wine list, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Such a great dinner!
    ChicagoKVIP
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    I had a great dinner with a business colleague at Acanto. It was our first visit since the changeover from the excellent Henri, and we were immediately appreciative of the warm, inviting new decor. Despite the rainy, Tuesday evening, the place was hopping. Our server was very attentive and helpful in answering questions about the menu. The portions were nicely sized, presented artfully on what seemed to be custom dishes, and arrived promptly. As were enjoying the last of our wine, the owner stopped by our table to chat a bit. All in all, a great dining experience. On a side note, I thought the valet service around the corner at the University Club was a nice alternative to parking alone at night in the Grant Park garage.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not my cup of tea
    RosieVIP
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    We had dinner here the other night and were very disappointed. The wine list is priced very high for a casual restaurant. The food is a bit odd, with strange combinations of ingredients. We had two pizzas and they were just okay. One of them had an odd spicy taste that wasn't that pleasing. The service is perfect however and the restaurant has a great view of the park and is warm and cozy. The banquette seats are NOT comfortable.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nice spot
    sullihoVIP
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    Acanto is a great, upscale option in addition to the Gage (it's sister restaurant and next door neighbor). Food was terrific, strong menu, upscale service.... Less fancy and more inviting for lunch than its predecessor Henri. All in all, a very good addition to the Loop restaurant scene.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Just lovely!
    TriGirl
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    In town for the marathon and looking for something near our hotel, nice, but not too shmancy (we were limping in nice jeans). Acanto was perfect! Loved the decor; service was attentive; and solid food. Great sized restaurant as well--not too big or loud--just right!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • BonanaVIP
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    Great place in loop location. Menu changes with fresh food availability. Preparations are simple but flavors nice. Prices moderate. Very busy. Consider reservations now that outside dining will not be available soon.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice environment food was poor
    SteveUK
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Nice ambient, but food was below average. My lobster fusilli was very plain and watery. Good idea but real poor execution for a $26 pasta dish. The green salad had too much vinagraitte...how can you ruin that is a pure mistery! Would not go there again. The bread was really good though
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Best food in the Loop
    AmberVIP
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Enjoyed a wonderful brunch al fresco here this weekend. Food was great across the board – tuna salad with huge juicy chunks of ahi and a very elegant prep of veal parmigiano with veal breast were standouts. Chef Chris Gawronski's cooking is better than its ever been and the refreshed decor is warm and lively compared to the more austere environment at Henri. Fantastic wine list – Sommelier Jon McDaniel is doing a great job. Save room for a boozy affogato dessert – both the Amarena cherry and pistachio varieties are delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great addition to Michigan Ave!
    Zxcv
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Acanto is a great find, and a welcome, more intimate alternative to the energy of The Gage, it's next door neighbor and sister restaurant. That's not intended to slight The Gage in any way, as it is wonderful with a great menu and inventive libations. But Acanto has these great qualities too, with a quietness that makes it ideal for dinnertime conversation over great wine. What a wine list! Acanto has many great pasta choices for which I plan to return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Modern Italian addition to the Loop
    ChicagoDinerVIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Acanto has a great location just across from the Crown Fountains at Millenium Park. It's a relatively small restaurant and I found the staff and service to be excellent. The menu is divided into starters/entrees/pizza/pasta, so it is not a "small plates for sharing" menu like so many places nowadays. That said, you certainly could create a sharing menu, especially if you incorporate the delicious pizza, which is big enough for several people to share as part of a group of dishes. They also offer salami/salumi and a small assortment of cheese, all from one cheesemaker. The bar is up-to-the-minute, full of interesting whiskies and amaros. The wines by the glass are mostly Italian, fittingly. The patio in front has movable heaters.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good Creative Italian
    disappointedVIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    The recipes are creative and a little bit different than classic Italian/American. The meats and cheeses are great. I have eaten there twice, for lunch and for dinner. I enjoyed it very much. The manager made a point to stop by. Love the wall of bottles. I will be back.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent all around
    worklunchVIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    The wait staff made great recommendations and the service was exceptional! We loved the cheese and meat plate and the artichoke dish. Actually, everything we had there was so delicious. I can't wait to go back and try even more dishes!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fantastic
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/9/2014
    Such a great place. Billy Jr. did it again!! Highly recommend this place for all occasions.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, scenic view, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fantastico!!!
    CPFOTOVIP
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    This is another great Billy Lawless restaurant! LOVE IT! simply but really good food. Not your typical Italian restaurant with mounds of pasta, but great flavored dishes. Had the Pigx3 which is fantastico!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Not as good as Henri
    RobB
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    We wanted to try Acanto as we always loved the food at Henri but it did not meet our expectations. The plate of sausage was very good but the main course a tuna salad was overly salty and the outside of the seared tuna was dry and there were way too many garbanzo beans in the salad which left you feeling bloated. I don't think we will return.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Marvelous Monday Meal
    JoeG
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    From being greeted at the front door by the owner, Billy Lawless, and then escorted to our table - everything was impeccably handled. The service was friendly, there as required and made us feel comfortable and well cared for. The food choices were terrific and the wine selection, even by the glass, was everything you'd want. A great crowd and a marvelous meal all on a Monday night.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Try it!
    janneVIP
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    Acanto provides a comfortable atmosphere for lunch or dinner downtown. We had a late lunch/early dinner before a concert at Symphony Hall (just up the street). Very convenient for that and also convenient to downtown offices. The atmosphere is tranquil, the service friendly and quiet. Two persons can easily share a salad (Heirloom Tomato, like it very much, with superb chewy croutons. I don't know how they did them.), pasta (lamb & rigatoni, very good, a little different, and not heavy) and chicken marsala (lovely sauce). The waiter was knowledgeable about all of the wines, so we ended up with one that was perfect. We had espresso and the plate of biscotti. You must get the biscotti. You'll thank me. I am definitely going again.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Getting better every time
    grtrxVIP
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Acanto continues to delight. Beverage, wine, food are all excellent and service is attentive, helpful and friendly. I cannot recommend the daily specials enough. Farro salad and pasta special were both star worthy. Try closing your meal with an Amaro. This is Italian on a very special level. Sure you will enjoy it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Rather Disappointed
    MikeBikerVIP
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Having been patrons of sister restaurants, this was our first try at Acanto. Similar to prior Henri, the staff is amazing and they really go all out. Our courses were disappointing. The escarole soup was fair but missing something. The pasta with mushrooms, foie gras and white truffles was odd...the pearl onions with sweetness through off the dish. The veal parmigiano was greasy with a beef-ish sauce which caused the outside bread coating to weigh down the dish (not the traditional tomato sauce). They comped one of the meals and gave us after dinner drinks which really shows the caliber of the staff. However, we will give it a year or two before visiting again. It is more American-inspired Italian of a menu rather than refined Italian.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Our new favorite place
    Pegs
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    We came to Acanto for a quick dinner before a show and were blown away by everything this beautiful restaurant has to offer. The service was outstanding, we had the feeling our waiter truly loves his job and Acanto. The food was absolutely delicious. We had the chefs cheese plate, but the most amazing was the artichoke salad. It was the perfect combination of flavors. We ended with a dessert of chocolate pudding with marscapone, again amazing!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fabulous
    FoodieVIP
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    Great food and service. A totally enjoyable dining experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate