So we left the kids, and decided to try something we haven't been to, even though it's close. Buona Sera is in Milwaukee Ave. in Wheeling, just south of Dundee. (They've apparently got another in Wheaton)
Neither of us were terribly hungry so we went with one appetizer (Polenta di nonna), one salad (Insalatta rustica) and one pasta (Rotolo con noce).
The polenta was wonderful: soft and smooth with a crunchy grilled exterior. The mushroom sauce was ordinary button mushrooms, but in a sauce with stewed sliced onions and a gravy that had to have come from their brisket, at least it smelled exactly the way brisket gravy does. Have to try the brisket next time (listed as with horseradish sauce, praised by a review on Metromix).
The salad was novel: spinach with the usual tomatoes, red and green peppers, cukes and tomatoes, but with small red potatoes cut up in it too. Added a lot of heft to a salad, but good mix of flavors with a balsamic vinagrette. Nicely dressed too: I've ruined more than one tie on overly-dressed salads.
The pasta was different than I expected: thin layers of seasoned ricotta between red, green and white pasta, rolled into a spiral about four-five inches across, cut into slices about 3/4" thick. The sauce was a heavy cream sauce with ground walnuts in it. Delicious, and more than enough for us to eat.
Service was fine -- we didn't stress them, but water was kept filled (we weren't even pestered to order drinks, like many places will), and the server was back in timely intervals with the starters, the pasta, and to check on the check.
We'll go back again. They're in the Entertainment Book (but tonight didn't qualify with only one entree).