Before this North Side Italian spot took reservations, the waits stretched for hours. Now, even though you can call ahead, it's still a hot ticket in Wrigleyville. Needless to say, the experience at Mia Francesca is something special, and it's one that's been duplicated via the Francesca family's multiple locations.
After signing in at the host stand, you can make your way to the back of the narrow restaurant and out to the patio. Beyond this is the coach house, which houses the bar. If you want, grab a drink and an indoor or outdoor table to pass the time until you're ready for dinner.
Mia Francesca's first floor is very small, with tables set as close together as possible. With the wood floors and the masses of people gathered in one room, the interior of the restaurant is extremely loud, so don't expect to whisper sweet nothings in the ear of your dining companion. Nevertheless, there is something about the dim lights, the flowers on the table and expectancy of the meal that creates quite a lovely atmosphere. If you're lucky enough to be seated at the upstairs dining room or bar, you'll find fewer tables and quieter surroundings.
Mia Francesca's menu changes frequently, providing a variety of rich veal, seafood and chicken entrees, running from $13-$25 each, and delicious pastas, which cost $10-$14 each. The restaurant boasts a "spectacular" wine list that includes Italian varieties, American reds and champagnes. For dessert, try the pumpkin marble cheesecake or budino di pane, a chocolate chip banana bread pudding.
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Average cost: $21-$30