Il Culaccino

4.3
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57 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
If your preferred time is unavailable please call for possible openings.

Il Culaccino, the new fine Italian dining restaurant presented by the Franco’s Restaurant Group, comes to McCormick Square in Spring 2019. Anchored in the Arrive Lex Apartment Tower, 2134 South Indiana, Il Culaccino is just steps away from Wintrust Arena and a short walk from McCormick Place. At Il Culaccino, you’ll enjoy unique wines and delicious plates accompanied by the friendly and superior service that has become the hallmark of Franco’s Restaurant Group, family-owned since 1989.

Be prepared to have your senses thrilled at Il Culaccino, before or after exploring McCormick Square, Chicago’s most exciting and vibrant new entertainment district.
What 57 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.6
service
4.2
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really good experience!
Service was awesome and food was too!!!

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is our new go-to spot in the neighborhood for old school Italian food! The staff and owner are really nice. Truly a neighborhood gem!

OT
St. Louis
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

The food was okay but not great. The price was much higher than similar Italian restaurants in Chicago.

GW
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Everything was great! However, my husband and I drove 2 hours to Chicago to meet my sons future mother in law from New York (for the first time) who was in town for a meeting, and we were asked to leave soon after we finished our dessert because they “needed“ the table. There was no line of people waiting for a table and the table next to us was available, as were other tables. I just felt that was very rude. I could appreciate them doing that had there been a line out the door with people waiting. In fact, we would have been sensitive to that and left on our own but that was not the case.

o
Chicago
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

excellent dining! would definitely recommend and hope they do well in the south loop

NF
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always friendly, courteous snd DELICIOUS Italian dishes !

RT
Chicago
112 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

First impression suggests that ll Culaccino is a good replica of a traditional Little Italy restaurant, cheerful wait staff, solid menu and friendly atmosphere. What they missed out on was a quality chef.
We tried a chicken dish and a pasta dish. Both were mediocre, sorry to say. Spaghetti was not home made; sauces were thin. I get the feeling they are trying hard to impress and I'll try again after they have been open a bit longer.

m
Hawaii
7 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food, very generous portions. Shane was our server. He was attentive and informative. One of our best dining experiences in Chicago. I had the clams and linguini in white wine sauce. I don’t think I’ve ever been served so many clams. The dish was tastefully seasoned and just delicious. Do NOT leave the building without having the deconstructioned cannoli; To. Die. For!!!!

WB
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Good food, great service, very loud.

JC
Dallas
21 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

excellent energetic service, nice wine list of Italian and California choices at a reasonable markup, good pasta and veal

D
Chicago
28 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our first experience at ll Culaccino and it was a fantastic one! Our meal was exceptional!! Our server was very kind, fun & attentive. We attended dinner with our friends. Each of us ordered a different chicken dinner. While waiting for our dinner we shared an appetizing Caprese Salad along with drinks. Delightful warm Italian bread with olive oil was placed on our table - a very nice start to our meal. I sipped on a delightful vodka cocktail and my husband enjoyed the Al Capone drink. Our friends shared a bottle of red wine which they loved. Our server brought our beautifully presented Chicken dishes. Each dish had great sized portions. I ordered the Chicken Limone with Gluten Free pasta. The pasta was cooked perfectly and the Limone sauce was light, lemony and so delicious. Thank you for having a gluten free option. My husband ordered the Chicken Parmigiana served on top of a large portion of pasta with a red marinara sauce - it looked wonderful. My friend ordered Chicken Marsala. The chicken cutlets thinly cut topped with a Marsala sauce and sautéed mushrooms - Heavenly! Her husband ordered the Chicken Milanese topped with Arugula, tomatoes, onion and an Italian Vinaigrette. All superbly displayed. We truly enjoyed these delectable meals.

As we were finishing up the manager was visiting his restaurant guest and stopped by our table. He was young, energetic and extremely cordial. He welcomed us to his restaurant and listened to our comments. After he left our table a few moments later he surprised us with a amazing large piece of Tiramisu!! The four of us shared this light, luscious dessert - savoring each yummy bite. That was such a kind gesture and one we all truly appreciated! Thank you!

Welcome to our neighborhood ll Culaccino!! It’s is so nice to have you here. Our whole experience was an outstanding one! We look forward to enjoying your restaurant again. Across from Wintrust Arena in the South Loop.

JD
Chicago
13 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service was great. Atmosphere was very nice

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience! Food was excellent, service was excellent.

a
Chicago
20 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was very good and the service was excellent.

J
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great place next to McCormack. Friendly and attentive staff. Warm, fresh bread served once seated. Ordered both calamari appetizers. The grilled calamari is absolutely fantastic. The entrees are sizeable. I enjoyed the gnocchi and would order again if back in town (here for conference). I went with 2 others who also enjoyed their meals. Of note, there was a paucity of patrons; I have read that this is a new place and so wouldn't let that deter you.

MJ
Seattle
7 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

Terrible. Our waiter forgot to place our order for a table of three. When a salad and two pasta dishes arrived after 60 minutes he was unapologetic and didn’t offer any discount. The salad was just meatballs and lettuce and didn’t come as described in the menu. It was also too loud to have a conversation. Too bad because the location in proximity to McCormick Place is excellent.

GV
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Friendly staff and delicious food.

CM
Naples
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server Taylor was the best. She was part of my decision to go back a second time during my 5 day stay in Cjicago.

CR
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We had a great time. Will visit again. Very large portions for these prices.

SM
Atlanta
23 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food + service. The best meal and drinks we’ve had in a while. Everything we ordered was fantastic!

M
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 1

Food pretty bland (gnocchi al forno and chicken parm) and lighting was way too bright like a hospital. Cocktails were poorly made too (old fashioned and cosmo). Cafe bionda down the street is wayyyy better for Italian food.

VE
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

I enjoyed my risotto of the day and my husband loved his halibut served over orzo pasta. Portion sizes are big. The bread was hot and olive oil and cheese was delicious. The service was good and it was very busy when we were there. It definitely was noisy, there's no fabric to absorb the sound. I will return.

j
Chicago
1 review
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was delicious and service was prompt, we were a party of six and everything from appetizers to the main course were excellent.

m
Chicago
16 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 5ambience 1

9/6/19
Great food. Lovely service from Frankie. However the noise level in this restaurant makes conversation difficult.

T
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great night here as our first time dinning at this new local restaurant. Service was excellent (thank you Kayla for your friendly and excellent service as well as the hostess who came over when we were taking pictures so we could all be in them).
We did salads and a couple appetizers that were all great. Steaks, risotto, and a pasta meal were all excellent and prepared very well. When you can meet expectations of two adults, a 16 year old, and a 10 year old you have a great range of food.
We will definitely be back!

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 1

I had read previous reviews that were all positive, so I felt the need to write a review. The outdoor patio is next to the buildings parking garage and the door noisily opens every 5 seconds. It just became annoying after a while. The food was fair at best. We are spoiled living in chicago with amazing Italian food, so I do have somewhat high expectations. I was hoping this new addition the the south loop would hold up but it did not. Aside from the gnocchi, none of their pastas are homemade. We ordered the meatballs, grilled calamari, pappardelle, and veal marsala, which all were fair at best. The veal was over cooked and the fettuccine noodles were processed tasting. With the veal priced at $28, I would expect so much more. Next time I will just continue to eat at Pizano’s or Flo and Santos, or better yet just head to Taylor Street.

F
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 1

‘Heavy handed’ is the best way to describe our dining experience here. Appetizers: arugula salad (enough for 3-4 people - way too much) and bogged down with dressing. Arugula was so weighted down, not light as it should be. The caprese salad was made with poor quality tomatoes (use Campari tomatoes when heirloom isn’t available!) and was drowning in balsamic glaze. Balsamic glaze is expensive. Use less of it and get better tomatoes. Construct your dish around the key behind a caprese salad: the tomato. The rigatoni arrabbiata was so spicy it was difficult to taste anything. I can take a lot of heat but feel it should be balanced with FLAVOR. This was just over the top. The service was good, and it wasn’t the waiter’s fault that the food was bad. Was hoping we finally had a good Italian place in the south loop. This is a tourists’ spot and that’s about it. Will not be going back.

LL
Chicago
13 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Delicious food. I loved my chicken giardinera. Other guests in our party loved the eggplant and the veal guardinera. Portions were huge. Wine selection was great and our server was helpful picking which bottle. Inside was quiet with many open tables on a Saturday night. We sat outside on the back patio. So charming but the garage door for the apartment building next door opened and closed constantly. It was very noisy and disruptive. Fun to walk over to the gorgeous Vu Skybar nearby.

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 1

I brought my boyfriend here for a surprise date night, one of the first we’ve had since our daughter was born. The food was excellent, service was great, but did not have a date night feel at all. The lights were bright and we felt like we were in a diner. It would have been better for lunch or maybe sitting outside would have made it a more date like feel? I’d probably go again, but not for a date night.

OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The server I believe his name was Jeff is just outstanding and friendly. The ambience is old American hangout setup which is nice. The food tastes good but I think value is just a bit high at least by$5 more per item. Overall I will definitely visit this place when I feel to be treated.

LP
Chicago
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

For the price, you can get this standard italian fare elsewhere. My salmon was way over sauced and overdone. The only bright spot in the evening was the tiramisu, which was sublime. I recommend going elsewhere for dinner and having your tiramisu dessert at this restaurant.

C
Chicago
85 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A gem in the South Loop. The food and service were outstanding. The sauce on the Baked Clam appetizer was amazing; thoroughly enjoyed. Actually, may order for main entree another time. On the recommendation of our server, I ordered the Eggplant Parmesan; she was right on point as it was delicious. Servings generous; always good to enjoy another meal at home the next day. Il Culaccino will certainly be one of our our go-to Italian restaurants. Even though we have only eaten in two times, the staff and manager remembered us and made it a priority to stop by the table to welcome us back. Thanks for making your way to the South Loop!

KC
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have been to every restaurant the Ruffolo family has opened and they never fail to impress. The food was excellent and the service was impeccable.

Congrats and much success. Can't wait to see what comes next.

m
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food, outstanding service! Great location

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, atmosphere and service! Everything we had was delicious!

CN
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

The food was good but the music was so loud it was difficult to hear the person speaking from across the table. Music was loud disco at Italian ‘neighborhood ‘ joint -odd!

OT
Orlando
2 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 5

This place only opened a few weeks ago and they still have a few bugs to work out. Bruschetta (4 small pieces of extremely cold toast, soaked though in the center) was served on an ice cold plate. The tomato topping probably tasted great when it was first made, but was chilled to just bare above freezing, killing the tomato flavor.

Veggies in the chopped salad showed signs of freezer burn & the house dressing was definitely on the bland side. Tiny pieces of pasta in the salad added nothing.

Fusilli was as described (in a simple tomato sauce) and the flavor was good, but not something I’d go out of my way for. Peas were extremely tough and the other vegetables were chopped so finely as to be indiscernible.

My colleague said the risotto in lobster cream sauce with salmon was quite good but felt that actual lobster instead of salmon would have made the dish a home run.

The restaurant is impeccably clean and service was very good.

SL
Chicago
48 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

Pass on this place. It's not good. The meatballs were terrible. The rigatoni was fair. The wine glasses were dirty. And the "canoli" cake was awful. I don't understand why so many bad Italian restaurants continue to exist.

C
Milwaukee
7 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went for a little going away dinner with my daughter and her boyfriend. We had Nonna’s meatballs,baked clams,a pipette pasta,zuppa di pesce,and a ribeye steak with a couple glasses of wine and the cannoli dip dessert. Everything was delicious and the service from the bus boys to the waiters was great. Will def be back,great addition to the near south side.

m
Chicago
16 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our second time at Il Culaccino in the past two weeks. They second time was as wonderful as the first. Frankie the waiter and Frankie the host are both friendly and welcoming and the food was excellent. We will be back!

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