Acanto
Acanto

Acanto

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

    Lunch: 11:00am - 4:00pm
    Dinner: 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
47 reviews since May 21, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.5
    Service4.6
  • Ambiance4.4
    Noise LevelModerate
100% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (35)notable wine list (21)great for outdoor dining (17)great for lunch (16)neighborhood gem (14)special occasion (13)hot spot (13)romantic (12)scenic view (11)good for groups (5)great for brunch (4)vibrant bar scene (4)late-night find (1)Show More
  • Wow - in a lovely, understated way
    US41
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    We were blown away. We were in the mood for a quiet Sunday night dinner and someone had mentioned this new place downtown. Food, service and ambiance were all excellent. Our server Julie was knowledgeable, attentive and extremely professional. My husband's duck egg spaghetti (with creamy pork sugo, carmelized pearl onion and rapini) was hit out of the park and it followed a sepia and octopus salad unlike anything either of us had ever tasted (no salad has ever smelled so good - and the taste matched it). Highly recommend it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • daveH
    daveH
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Great Michigan Ave dining. The fig pizza is out of this world. Wonderful service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Italian
    DakotaK
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Great flavors. The Escarole soup is very hearty and satisfying. Pizza (thin crust) was very authentic with interesting toppings. The roast chicken was moist, well herbed and not over-cooked. Good selection of deserts.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • I'll miss Henri; already luv Acanto
    Faith1106VIP
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    We ordered (and shared) - Tomato & Fig Pizza and Duck Egg Spaghetti. Both were incredibly delicious. Two of us simply could not finish the pizza. Ordered marzipan gelato and they treated for birthday dessert -- crostata de forno which was like a shortbread cookie filled with ricotta cheese and topped with orange marmalade and a dollop of whipped cream. Need I say more? Handsome room; view of Michigan Avenue; near the Art Institute and next door to the more casual The Gage. Owner Billy Lawless is doing a great job. Acanto will be an instant success. Ciao!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not bad
    NurunrVIP
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Breadsticks tasty, service attentive. We had pizzas, and I didn't see any tomato slices or pieces on my margherita pizza; but the server brought me a sliced tomato. That was a nice touch. Nice location for lunch and good crowd.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great addition to Michigan Avenue
    Dan1976
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Tried Acanto for lunch on Friday at the suggestion of a coworker. I'm glad that I listened. While I was a fan of Henri, I'm happy that this place is here! Food was great (as was the service and the atmosphere). We tried the rigatoni and the spaghetti, as well as the polenta and a cheese (Cowabunga at the server's recommendation). All were excellent and exceeded expectations. I would recommend this place to anyone. I'm looking forward to going back at a time when I can sample the libations with my meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Small plate heaven
    0413
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    Had a great meal of shared small plates. Excellent selection of wines by the glass. The space is lovely, but the abundance of hard surfaces makes hearing a little difficult. The staff was attentive and knowledgeable, especially important when ordering multiple courses.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice Dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Very nice dinner at Acanto. Not yet sure if it equals the quality of what it replaced (Henri), but will definitely return to find out.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent new lunch spot
    KmgchicagoVIP
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    This was my first time at Acanto since the space transitioned from the former restaurant Henri. I was a little dissapointed to see the beautiful Henri decor gone, but the new decor is appealing and appropriate for a casual Italian restaurant. A group of 5 of us had lunch at Acanto and the food was fantastic. The heirloom tomato salad was fresh and delicious, and the cured meat starter (listed as Selection of Salumi and Salami on the menu) was excellent - it was served with a delicious warm parmesan funduta and wonderful "bread pillows". The marinated olives and pecorino starter was really good too. The size of the pizza was large for a lunch portion though and would be good for sharing. Highly recommended overall.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • As always great concept and decor,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    Was a bit disappointed with the food, a bit too much pork. Hope they add more options.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food and good service
    avipVIP
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    The new Acanto has potential, especially for lunch. While the menue is limited the qulity is good and the prices reasonable. The outdoor area could use more shade.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent lunch spot
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    Had the Duck Pasta. Pasta itself was perfectly al dente. Flavors were perfect. A little more sauced than I'd prefer, but they're probably catering to more standard American pasta preferences. Presentation was lovely. Service was mostly excellent, although we shouldn't have had to ask for bread with the pasta if it's going to be sauced like that and the bread could have come out more quickly. That said, server was very sharp, courteous and professional. Overall an excellent lunch and excellent service. Great little spot for a business lunch. Not loud at all. Very clean, crisp ambiance. I will definitely do more lunches there.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • weekenders
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    our new favorite. Best swordfish I've ever had. MY HUSBAND LOVED THE CHICKEN MARSELLA. DECOR PLEASANT AND BOTH NOISE LEVEL AND MUSIC WERE WONDERFULLY LOW. SERVICE WARM AND PROMPT
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Thank you for small things...
    Devilsporkchop
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    So nice that a restaurant specializing in Italian cuisine doesn't feel the need to present a 2 LB plate of pasta and a truck load of white bread with your entrée. Nice small portions of freshly made pasta -- delicious. Delicious Wine by the glass selections. Bread sticks -- awesome. I left this restaurant feeling wonderful. Not bloated, over stuffed, or tired. Perfect amount of food. Obviously focusing on quality not quantity. attentive staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012VIP
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Food was spot on great cheese selection and wines to match. Service was impressive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • greatgg
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Great experience. Owner Billy Lawless is present most of the time and makes a point of talking to most of the diners. Nice Touch. Did not have an entire dinner, but pizza and pasta was very good.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch, hot spot, late-night find, scenic view, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lively and sophisticated
    Rochesterians
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    We chose Acanto because of its proximity to the Art Institute. We were pleased to discover a lovely new restaurant with an imaginative menu and a convivial atmosphere. Our waiter was attentive but not cloying. We were encouraged to share food, and it really suited our gathering. It proved a great spot for us out-of-towners to reconnect with our Chicago friends.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • business lunch
    SheaVIP
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    Not your typical pasta lunch. Italian with a flare. Loved the combinations of flavors. We highly recommend the Duck egg pasta. The variety of cheeses and meats were amazing. Enjoyed eggplant two ways ( fried and caponata) and a fresh and fabulous proscuitto, arugula sandwich on delicious italian bread. Specials of the day were creative and tasty. Great lunch, perfect portion sizes and fantastic and attentive service. Will be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very Disappointing
    AZLollyVIP
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    They honored our reservation with the worst table possible in a restaurant filled with Michigan Ave walk-ins. We self ordered a drink at the bar after 10 min wait with our late arriving friend. The salad special had no dressing, the pig 3 ways that only had 1 worth noting, and the pistachio gelato tasted like a ball of unsalted butter. That was all enhanced by the worst service we've had all summer in the city. In all fairness the two pasta dishes were very good but most wouldn't identify them as Italian and they served the most delicious lemon amaretti cookie ever. As loyal customers of The Gage and Henri it's sad. The bad taste of the food will pass but the bad taste of being unappreciated as a customer never will. We won't return.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Go!
    dancinart
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Absolutely delicious. Beautiful plating. Great wine list and cocktails. Right across from Millenium park. Go.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • must go Wine and Italian gem
    charnoVIP
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    Very deep Italian wine list, well curated. Food is inventive Italian. The home made salami and salumi plate is a highlight of the meal. Service is knowledgeable and attentive. I will always miss Henri but this is an outstanding new place
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding
    grtrxVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Went on a Saturday night during their first week of opening. A beautiful room. Great bar with some stellar choices for before and after dinner drinks. Wine list worthy of many visits to explore in depth. If you have trouble selecting the sommelier is able to help you select. There are wines from Italy I have only read of. Menu,much like the old Henri it is based on very fresh, very fun versions of classics. The duck egg pasta is one of the best pasta dishes I have had anywhere - a must try. 3rd course was suckling pig... if you like pork, you just have to try this. Service was excellent, attentive, helpful, informative. It is opening, so things will get even better, which makes me wonder how good can they get? I will be back to find out!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Place Rocks!
    GARKA
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Noisy, Energetic, Superb! Food is excellent and what I would expect for a restaurant of this pedigree. Sangria is very good, the green sauce has a ton of flavor, and they are very fast. Place is jammed at lunch and is a very social picnic table style familyish atmosphere. Loved it.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • NancyVIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    First time at Acanto, and enjoyed the diverse ambiance; casual to business casual patrons. Food was wonderful, efficient service. Desserts from the Lawless Group are always different and always satisfy the sweet tooth. Had a frozen lemon chello!! Would definitely dine there again.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing!
    fabofoodieVIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Billy and team have done it again! While we will miss Henri, Aconto is a fabulous Italian restaurant in every way. We will definitely be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Welcome to the Hood!
    mcboy2000VIP
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Acanto where have you been all my life? You're just what the East Loop needed -- classy Italian food and wine at accessible prices. We went opening week and truly enjoyed our first experience. The interior decor is sexy and cozy -- an intimate feel that will play well on long, dark winter nights. For warmer evenings, outdoor seating abounds. Food was outstanding. We shared several plates; not a morsel was left. Standouts were the heirloom tomato salad with tunnato sauce, prosciutto/fig pizza and the lobster pasta. The mostly Italian wine list covers a HUGE range of varietals, offering selections that pair nicely with Acanto's menu -- and even with fairly skinny wallets. Service was very attentive and gracious. We'll be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 21 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 21, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.6
    • Food4.4
    • Ambiance4.4
    • Service4.6
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 43 reviews are from the Acanto reviews archive.