Had dinner a few nights ago with Mr. and MsWiv at a place I hadn't visited in over 15 years. Bacchanalia, in the old south side Italian neighborhood on Oakley. After our experience, I can guarantee it won't take 15 years to go back.
The neighborhood is a lovely little oasis with a bunch of these Italian American restaurants, including Bruna's, a real blast from the past. Bacchanalia is small with a charming ma and pa feel to it. My only complaint was that the no-smoking area was tiny and everyone else in the place seemed to be smoking. It didn't detract from our meal. At least not after the 1st bottle of wine and GWiv's 2 dirty martinis with excellent hand-stuffed blue cheese olives. Bet they weren't doing that 20 years ago.
We immediately ordered bruschetta which was unusual in that in lieu of the typical chopped tomatoes, onion, basil, etc. everything was in a puree heaped on top of the bread rounds. It was a nice version.
The first thing to jump out at us on the menu were frog legs vesuvio. Since we'd never seen that version of frog legs, we of course ordered a plate. They were lemony, garlicky, and served with a nice broth. The legs were so good, they didn't even taste like chicken.
The waitress proceeded to bring us a plate of linguini with vodka sauce, on the house, which was outstanding.
This is starting to get a little long so I'm going to continue with the menu and just say everything was very tasty. Pasta i fagioli soup(I think my spelling has butchered this dish) and green salads were good.
Ellen had a nice shrimp Bacchanalia with white wine and veggies. I loved my linguini with seafood(shrimp, calamari, and lobster in red sauce). Gary had chicken vesuvio, which was good but what I thought was the weakest entree. The best I've ever had is at Francescas Hole in the Wall in Northbrook.
Dessert was pretty simple with spumoni and cannoli, both excellent versions.
2413 S. Oakley