After living in four different downtown Evanston
locations in the past 35 years, Dave's Italian Kitchen has seen it all. Now located on Chicago Avenue across from the popular Whole Foods grocery store, Dave's keeps the heaping pasta portions, extravagant wine list and home-cooked vibe comin'. High school kids from nearby Evanston Township High School, hungry students from Northwestern University, elderly folks from the surrounding retirement homes, business people settling down after work and loud, giant families all take the stairs down to this lower-level eatery, where Italian food works its carb-a-rific magic.
Red-and-white checked vinyl tablecloths cover each sturdy table, bright yellow walls lighten the mood and hundreds of wine bottles line the walls. The menu comes packed with every imaginable pasta. Feeling creative? Go with the "choose a pasta & sauce" option: Choose from spaghetti, mostaccioli, rotini, angel hair, homemade spinach rotini, whole wheat mostaccioli or fetuccini and then top one of those tubs of noodles with either meat sauce, marinara sauce or butter and garlic sauce for a wee fee of $7.95. Others might go with a heaping Spaghetti Diablo, spaghetti mixed with fiery jalapenos, garlic, olive oil and marinara sauce for $8.95.
There's also plenty available for those craving lasagna, lamb chops, chicken or veal, so Atkins dieters (are there any left?) can breathe easy. When the whole dining experience is over, though, we guarantee you'll come back to try the enormous pasta bowls — if you don't, you won't truly appreciate the force that drives Dave's.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler