Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Trattoria Isabella brings fine Italian dining to Chicago's Fulton River District

Chicagoans don't have to venture far for an authentic Italian experience. Instead, head to the city's Fulton River District and enjoy Trattoria Isabella (217 N. Jefferson St., 312-207-1900) offering fine Italian dining in a warm, contemporary setting.

Trattoria Isabella, which opened in March 2008, features an extensive menu of generous portions catering to many tastes. Executive chef, Michael Serratore, returned to his Italian roots to create the restaurant's menu. After coming to the United States from Italy 25 years ago, Serratore honed his culinary skills in restaurants and hotels throughout the Chicago area before taking the helm at Trattoria Isabella.

"In Italy, it's about bringing the pleasures of food to your table and making everyone feel like family," says Serratore. "I was able to be able utilize several family recipes that have been handed down through multiple generations at Trattoria Isabella. I am happy to serve our customers as if they were my own family."

General manager Paolo Capobianco, a veteran of the restaurant industry, understands that serving the customer is the key to a successful restaurant. "At Trattoria Isabella, the way we treat our customers defines who we are," says Capobianco. "We provide our guests with high-quality, homemade ingredients in a welcoming setting to ensure their experience at Trattoria Isabella is superior."

Trattoria Isabella's menu consists of a number of classic Italian appetizers, salads and entrées. Appetizer selections include Calamari Fritti , deep fried calamari served with a spicy tomato sauce ($9.95); Bruschetta Italiana, fresh tomatoes, basil and capers on toasted bread ($5); and Carpaccio di Manzo, thin sliced, marinated raw beef topped with artichoke, hearts of palm and shaved Parmesan, served with olive oil and lemon dressing ($9.95).

Some of the salad options include Asparagus Salad, wrapped in prosciutto, topped with roasted red peppers, blue cheese and olives ($9.95); Caprese , traditional Italian salad with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella di bufala ($8.95); Spinach and Salmon, mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, artichoke, grilled shrimp and walnuts served with a balsamic dressing ($12.95).

Trattoria Isabella offers a number of hearty pasta entrées including Penne Arrabiata, served with a fresh tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella ($12.95); Linguini Frutti di Mare, fresh calamari, clams, shrimp, scallops and mussels in a light red sauce ($23.95); Ravioli Quattro Formagi, the chef's house-made four-cheese ravioli in a pine nut and sage butter sauce ($14.95); and Farfalle al Pollo, bow-tie pasta served with chicken, peas and porcini mushrooms in a pink tomato sauce ($14.95).

Other entrée selections include risotto, chicken, veal, fish and steak options like Risotto al Salmone, a classic risotto preparation with fresh salmon and an infusion of red sauce ($15.95); Involtini di Pollo, boneless chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, fresh spinach and sun-dried tomato with a vodka sauce, served with roast potatoes and vegetables of the day ($16.95); Vitello Piccata, tender veal sautéed in olive oil with lemon and capers served with vegetables of the day ($19.95); Pesce alla Veneziana, sautéed white fish with garlic and capers in a white wine sauce ($16.95); and 16-ounce Filet Mignon served with vegetables of the day ($38.95).

Trattoria Isabella also offers burgers and panini sandwiches like the Neopolitan Burger, a half-pound chef's specialty ground salmon burger ($9.95); Panino Modo Mio, the classic meatball sandwich on Italian bread ($7.95); Sausage and Pepper Sandwich ($7.95); and Panino Italiano, prosciutto and Genoa salami (or mortadella) ($7.95).

Trattoria Isabella's new pizza oven, imported from Italy, is the key to the restaurant's delicious,authentic pizza. Choices include Margharita, Mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil ($10.95); Isabella , Buffalo Mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and arugula ($11.95); Pizza alla Paolo, Prosciutto di Parma and fresh arugula ($12.95); Pizza Siciliana, cozze, shrimp, calamari and tomato sauce ($13.95); Quattro Formaggi, Gorgonzola, mozzarella, Parmigiano and Bel Paese ($12.95); Pizza Vegetable, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms and asparagus ($11.95); Pizza Genovese, anchovies, mozzarella, tomato sauce and oregano ($12.95); and Pizza alla Mamma, Italian sausage, peppers and capricolo ($11.95).

Side items include steamed broccoli, sausage, homemade meat balls, spinach sauté and French fries ($3-$4.95).

Dessert options include a daily selection of homemade specialties, plus Gelato, Tiramisu and Cannoli which are available every day, ranging in price from $5 - $7.50.

The expansive wine list includes several wines by the glass in addition to a collection of more than 80 wines by the bottle imported from across the globe.

Trattoria Isabella has an 80-seat dining room with a fireplace, in addition to an expansive 30-seat bar and 100-seat outdoor patio with its own full bar. Private dining and special catering menus are also available for parties of up to 100 guests. Catch sporting events and other entertainment on one of the restaurant's four 52" flat-screen televisions. Trattoria Isabella's free parking makes it convenient for neighborhood residents as well as business diners, with free parking offered after 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and all day Saturday and Sunday.

Trattoria Isabella is located at 217 N. Jefferson St. in Chicago's Fulton River District. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday until 11 p.m. Dinner is served Saturday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Trattoria Isabella offers free parking at Fulton and Jefferson after 4 p.m. weekdays and all day during the weekend. Reservations are recommended. For more information, visit

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