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in Northwest Side or Irving Park on the Brown line

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Sabatino's Restaurant and Lounge

View Map4441 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago
Tel: (773) 283-8331
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Editorial Review of Sabatino's Restaurant and Lounge

Aligned with the same kind of faux-old-world charm La Scarola champions with 300 covers a weekend night, Sabatino's likewise slings garlic-loaded, large-plate Italian, but with three times the space and far superior bow-tie service. You won't see the Fox News team, or Johnny Depp twirling linguini in the corner like that of Scarola, but rather date upon date of candlelight charmers and tight-nit locals privy to the seclusion.

Seclusion, as in literal seclusion once broom closets or something of that nature turned into three-walled rooms. Those are few and far-between, though. Elsewhere, the vibe's still cavernous, with low ceilings and actual wine cellars riddled about, but large enough for three dining rooms splayed in white tablecloth galore and breathing room for strolling musicians to roam about Monday through Thursday.

The menu's as equally massive as its portions, with a good 20 pasta dishes, from fettuccini alfredo cop-outs to more interesting dishes like paglia e fleno (spinach, white linguini, porcini mushrooms, pancetta and peas in a white cream sauce), all averaging table-service norm prices at around $15. Steaks and chops can get a bit pricey, at $56 for a rack of lamb, but it's Sabatino's cutesy way of appeasing the date crowd, i.e. rack of lamb for two. While veal dishes trump anything on the menu, pairing cutlets and medallions with everything from prosciutto, Parmesan and sage, to artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes, all capped at around $18.

Options can get daunting really quick, even before tackling the wine list, which is where Sabatino's saving service grace comes into play for those happy to exercise patience for families and dates who usually stretch meals into 2-3 hour adventures.

Average cost: $10-$20

Centerstage Reviewer: Gavin Paul

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11:30 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday; 11-12:30 a.m. Friday; 4 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Saturday; noon-10:30 p.m. Sunday

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chicago, metromix