Chicago Eats: Gibsons Italia | chicago foodie girl


Chicago Eats: Gibsons Italia

If you ask anyone in Chicago for steakhouse recommendations, it's guaranteed Gibsons will dominate the list. It's one of those rare Chicago spots that has been around forever (almost 30 years, which is forever in the world of restaurants) and is loved by locals, tourists, and celebrities alike. Not only is it an institution in Chicago, it's also the epitome of what you expect when you think of a classic steakhouse: celebrity photos lining the walls, dark old-fashioned ambiance, Sinatra pumping through the speakers, and giant slabs of meat and martinis everywhere you look.

While Gibsons embodies the old school steakhouse vibe, its new sibling spot, Gibsons Italia is the epitome of modern elegance. The three-level steakhouse is a bright and chic space complete with a retractable roof and floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping views of the Chicago River and skyline. Along with the departure from the old-fashioned (i.e. 1980s) ambiance, Gibsons Italia has an Italian theme - in addition to top-notch steaks, the menu features antipasti, pastas, and classic Italian entrées. While I definitely can appreciate the original Gibsons for what it is, its gorgeous sister restaurant has stolen my heart and quickly become one of my favorite places to spend a leisurely afternoon thanks to its beautiful setting and fantastic food.

Mario and I stopped by for the first time a few months ago; as it was still a little too chilly sit comfortably on the patio, we snagged one of the tables right next to the giant windows that offer perfect city views.

We kicked off our lunch with a round of cocktails: I chose the seasonal Perfect Pear cocktail with Absolut Elyx, St. George spiced pear, and Vandermill dry cider...

... while Mario stuck to the classics side of the menu: Old-Fashioned made with Old Forester.

Iceberg and Gorgonzola DOP with Sweet 100 Tomatoes, crispy pancetta, and walnuts. I typically skip right over iceberg-based salads for more exciting appetizers, but I had to give this modern wedge salad a try after several of my friends highly recommended it. I have to admit that it was a damn good salad, thanks to the contrast in textures and the pairing of the crisp lettuce with the creamy dressing, the sweet and acidic pop from the tomatoes, and the smokiness from the pancetta.

We paired our salad with an order of Alaskan King Crab. This was served with the top half of the shell and tendon removed, making it easier to get at that beautiful sweet meat!

We also split a bowl of King Crab Bisque (I can never resist a good bowl of bisque!). This rich and creamy bisque was served with a generous amount of crabmeat, which added just the right touch of sweetness.

For our entrées, our server recommended ordering several pasta dishes from the Italian side of the menu and pairing them with a steak. The pasta is housemade (made fresh daily), using a gold extruder and Italian heritage organic stone-ground Senatore Cappelli flour; most of the pasta offerings lean toward the classic end with dishes such as spaghettini al pomodoro, fusilli with Neapolitan beef, and linguine with clams and chili.

Linguine with Clams in pinot blanco sauce: while there's nothing new about linguine with clams, the quality of the pasta most definitely makes a difference. This light and flavorful dish was so perfectly done that it has since become one of our favorite summertime lunch orders!

Speaking of favorites, this beautifully done Cacio e Pepe topped with shaved white truffles stole my heart (and stomach!). While this pasta is amongst the most basic dishes, it is absolutely incredible when done right - the addition of the intoxicating and powerfully tasty truffles takes this dish to a new level of deliciousness!

So perfectly done! 

For our steak, we chose to go with the Japanese Kobe (A5 Sirloin) from the Hyōgo Prefecture. While there are always questions about the authenticity of Kobe in the United States, Gibsons is one of the few places in Chicago in which you can actually trust that what you're being served is actually Kobe.

This rich and tender beef was so buttery and amazing! If you've never tried Kobe before, it is definitely worth ordering at least the 4oz minimum - it's a flavor experience that cannot be replicated.

Finally, we ended our meal with the Torta al Cioccolato: chocolate cake with cremeux, winter citrus, chocolate vincotto, and cocoa nibs. Any time I'm with Mario, it's guaranteed we will order the most decadent and chocolatey dessert on the menu (he is a chocolate fiend!). This is one of those desserts that will catch you by surprise, as you'll first only taste the deep chocolate; then suddenly, the slight bitterness from the citrus will take over.

We also sampled the light and perfectly seasonal Mousse di Castagne with caramelized white chocolate, poached pears, cranberries, and walnut crumble. 

Needless to say, I loved my meal at Gibsons Italia - in fact, I loved it so much that I went back twice within the following month! Thanks to the delicious bites, impeccable service, and gorgeous city views, Gibsons Italia is an absolute must-visit for city-dwellers and visitors alike.

You can try all of this deliciousness and more at Gibsons Italia: 233 N. Canal, Chicago, IL.

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