Thanks again to this board for leading me to a satisfying restaurant. One can do much worse than zip out of Navy Pier two miles west on Grand, park on the street, and eat at Bella Notte. The joint was packed at 6:00 this evening--half 20ish couples and half middle-aged good eaters--but our waitress could not have been more pleasant and flexible or the service more swift. My cup of escarole in chicken broth was heartwarming, the chopped salad that comes with entrees was fine (the Italian dressing good, the creamy peppercorn even better), and both my calamari on linguine in a puttanesca-like sauce and my wife's tortiglioni carbonara were quite good. Due to the restaurant's elan and our hunger, we were in and out in less than an hour without feeling rushed. With one dessert but no drinks, the bill was $40. And thanks to Bella Notte's huge full portions, we should have food for a few more meals. Bella Notte, 1372 W. Grand, 312-733-5136.
Does anyone remember an Italian restaurant with dishes like Bella Notte's (but perhaps a shorter menu) that existed about fifteen years ago, on the east side of a street, maybe near the Oakley Italians, maybe near Grand, and the restaurant had purple interior walls, was never crowded, and was helmed by a very friendly (lonesome?) manager who would stand at your table and talk to you far longer than the usual courtesy call? Did the name of the restaurant begin with a "D," maybe?