Tuesday, November 15, 2011

La Scarola By: Sharon Feldman

Sharon Feldman is the Grant Manager at UIC. She enjoys going to the movies, gardening and drawing. As a foodie who is also a Weight Watcher, Sharon thinks it is important to distinguish whether the experience is going to be about food or the social experience prior to dining out. She says when it is all about the food, it is also about the social aspect. However, it can be about the social aspect where the food isn't important. 
Ever have a meal you can’t get out of your head?  Maybe at a little out of the way place you found on vacation, and you just keep thinking of how you wish you could get back there?  Well, luckily for me, La Scarola is just blocks away.  But from my brother and nephews, it is an annual pre-camp meal that they look forward to from one summer to the next, when they come to town for a weekend with Aunt Sharon before heading up to Wisconsin.   It’s not just the incredible food that rounds out the memories, but the buzz in the air, the way it just invites you in to its aura.  Woody Allen couldn’t shoot a NY Italian restaurant any more lovingly than this place feels the moment you walk in.

The warm ambiance created by the hip host; the familiar red table cloths on tables pushed so close you practically dine with your neighbors; where, if you’re sitting in the front room, every steaming hot dish practically passes under your nose, and really you can’t believe the size of the portions and how amazing each one looks. If you can tear your eyes away from the food, the people-watching is also a feast.  Some are well healed, others like they just finished up at their Teamsters job. Big groups of guys; business men; families; north side; side south side.  Big hair and jewelry; mullets on women. It all works here. The menu features predictable Italian fare, but it’s done well, with my favorite, oft-overlooked ingredient:  all served piping hot. Food faves: hands down, the veal chop “Gabe,” grilled calamari, eggplant parmesan; pasta fagiole soup. Specials reasonably priced, always with a fresh fish and an interesting pasta in the offing. Caveat: Reservations, especially during peak times, are a suggestion. Patience required.

La Scarola 
721 West Grand
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 243-1740


  1. It's long been on my list to get back to La Scarola...now, a must!

  2. I can't wait to try next time I am in Chicago!!


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