By Taylor Nguyen (Junior)
1039 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago, IL 60660.
The classic Italian restaurant, Francesca’s, is located in my local neighborhood, Edgewater. It’s extremely reliable if I’m ever craving Italian and want to satisfy my taste buds. The restaurant has been serving for 25 years and expanded it’s doors nationwide along with other cultural restaurants. The restaurant is opened all week starting at 11:30AM-9:30PM, excluding weekends that open from 10AM-10:30PM. The classic Italian restaurant stays true to its motto, “simple food with quality ingredients and thoughtful service make a meal.” Also, the affordability per person is quite average and well worth it.
I usually go with my family, and we share everything most of the time due to the large proportions offered. We were offered a prefix menu which allowed us to choose an appetizer, entree, and a dessert each. They have a wide selection of alcoholic drinks and basic soft drinks. To start off our meal, I ordered a few appetizers, the Calamari Fritti, ($12.75). I had high expectations since I always take advantage of it if the seafood is offered on a menu at any restaurant. The crispy crunch of the Calamari coating yet tender with the well seasoned marinara sauce made me want more. It comes with a slice of lemon too if you want some tartness with it. It was just the beginning of the meal too! Then, my mom ordered the Carpaccio Tricolor, ($11.75). The dish included raw meat and a side of steamed vegetables with a nice lemon sauce. Personally, I’m not a fan of meat, but my family enjoyed it and believed it wasn’t too salty since the meat was raw itself. Eventually, we moved on to the entrees, a classic favorite of mine is fettuccine chicken Alfredo. They didn’t have it listed on the menu, but I asked them if they had it and the server and kitchen was really flexible and catered to my order. I appreciated it a lot. However, the fettuccine Alfredo sauce was alright, but I wasn’t blown away from it. It tasted more like a clam chowder sauce with bit of broccoli in it than a traditional alfredo sauce. The final course, dessert, was extremely exciting since it was lava cake topped with mint ice cream, my favorite. The texture of the cake itself was smooth and a combo of warm and cold was divine.
In addition, the ambience was lovely and refreshing. The restaurant offers a sidewalk patio which is unexpectedly spacious for being on a sidewalk. I try to sit outside whenever the weather’s decently warm every chance I get. On the other hand, when the weather isn’t so generous staying inside is still welcoming. The division between the bar and the dining area really stuck out. The bar was large with some entertainment included and some dining space. Nevertheless, customers who want to dine more have a nice large seating area, it isn’t cramped. The restaurant seems like it tries to use as much natural lighting as possible which makes it invigorating.
In the end, I would definitely recommend Francesca’s if you’re craving Italian. It’s location is quite convenient because it’s right near the Bryn Mawr train stop. It’s quick if you’re just looking for a pick up and go or to dine in.