Ciao: a south suburban Chicago old-school Italian place

My wife spent part of her youth in Chicago’s southern suburbs and her parents still live there. We often journey from our northern suburban home to meet them for dinner there and I’m always taken by the vast array of restaurants that I think of as old-school places down there as opposd to the fancier, nouvelle places we have closer to home.

By old-school, I mean places with classic dishes at good prices. Nothing fancy or new wave, which is just fine with me. These are the sort of restaurants that truly give you more value for your money. We recently went to one such place, Ciao, for my mother-in-law’s birthday and the food did not disappoint. The service was very slow. We were warned at the start though, seem the place is trying to get more help to deal with its weekend crowds.

My 10-ounce filet at Ciao.
My 10-ounce filet at Ciao.

Ciao in Palos Hills, Il., is a throwback to the Italian restaurants of my youth in New York. You walk in, Frank Sinatra is singing, what more could you ask for? The owners are there, so you know who is watching the food quality and service levels. It’s Italian comfort food with some new twists.

Because I can’t eat regular pasta anymore due to my angioplasty, my dish of choice there is a filet, the leanest beef available. A 10-ounce steak here is $27, a great price for the meal provided.

Normally it is served with a cheese crust, but that’s out for me. I did try a wine and mushroom and artichoke sauce this time, served under the steak rather than on it, so I could not eat it if I decided it was too salty, which it seemed to be.

A simple side of potatoes and broccoli
A simple side of potatoes and broccoli
How others eat it, the steak normally comes covered in cheese, which I can no longer eat.
How others eat it, the steak normally comes covered in cheese, which I can no longer eat.

But the steak was perfect, done super-rare as I like it, tender and juicy, truly melt in my mouth great.

It was served with a side of broccoli and roasted potatoes which I requested without salt.

We also split a wonderfully tasty piece of tiramisu for dessert, a rummy bit of sweetness I went off my diet to enjoy.

If you find yourself in Palos Hills or a nearby suburb, try Ciao and step back delightfully in time.

Ciao Ristorante on Urbanspoon


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