Our Guide To The Best Of Little Village, Heart Of Chicago & West Pilsen

June 8, 2017 | Calley Nelson
Excerpt from the Chicagoist Article:

Heart of Italy—Bruna’s,

Best dish: Stuffed shells with extra sauce
Bruna’s is one of the oldest Italian restaurants in the city, and quite possibly the best. Their bread and olive oil melts in your mouth and the red sauce is simmered to perfection with just the right amount of salt. Make sure and save room for tiramisu.
2424 S. Oakley Ave.

The 11 Best Old School Pasta Spots Around Chicago

December 8, 2016 | Jennifer Olivera
Excerpt from the Chicagoist Article:

Bruna’s :
 A mainstay since 1933, the small, mural-lined Bruna’s Ristorante in Little Village does many things right: for starters, cheesy lasagna, humble-but-mighty carbonara and — as a splurge — Dover Sole, deboned before your eyes. Consider coming for Sunday supper, when legendary roast chicken is served.


Chicago’s best Italian food: 31 days of pasta, pizza, antipasti, gelato and more

October 2017 | Bill Daley
Excerpt from the Tribune Article:

Bruna’s Ristorante:
Sometimes you can literally eat history. Take the roast chicken served every Sunday at Bruna’s Ristorante in the Heart of Italy neighborhood on Chicago’s Lower West Side. The spot opened back in 1933 and the chicken recipe is credited to the original owner, Bruna Cani herself. “As far as we know, Bruna Cani had always served the roast chicken. We basically kept her recipe,” wrote owner Luciano Silvestri, in an email while on a trip to Italy. “We roast it with sage, rosemary, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper for two hours until golden brown.” What arrives is a half-chicken roasted until golden, the skin is crisp almost to the point of crunchiness. The chicken is extremely tender and falls easily from the bone. The dark meat is agreeably moist but there were a few dry-ish spots on the breast. This chicken isn’t some fancy restaurant bird. Indeed, it’s kind of homey with its broccoli spear and potato chunks on the side and a few parsley sprigs on top. This is the kind of dish your grandmother would make for Sunday dinner and therein, I think, lies its enduring appeal. $24, Bruna’s Ristorante, 2424 S. Oakley Ave., 773-254-5550. — Bill Daley (Link to Tribune Article)

In the Heart of Chicago, a hub of restaurants and history

January 18, 2014 Phil Vettel


Excerpt from the Tribune Article:

Bruna’s Ristorante:
The Pump Room, White Palace Grill, Gene & Georgetti — Bruna’s Ristorante has the distinction of predating those all. Bruna Cani was a Michigan-born Tuscan who left the restaurant Orsi & Cani (Bear & Dog) to open her own place across the street, said owner Luciano Silvestri. There Bruna’s stands, 81 years in 2014, as the grand dame of Italian restaurants along Oakley. “People don’t come here to see and be seen,” said the Siena, Italy-born Silvestri, its owner since 1980. “They come here to have good food and a bottle of wine for reasonable money.” Indeed, to step inside Bruna’s is to time-travel to bygone days: big plates, oil paintings hung in muted lighting and eager owners ready to proclaim “best in the city!” to just about every dish offered. As with all restaurants of the ilk, there’s little in the way of menu turnover. Its oldest dish just might be its Sunday slow-roast chicken, a classic preparation with sage, rosemary and garlic. It’s a Bruna Cani recipe, older than Pizzeria Uno or Manny’s have been around. “Some of the dishes, they taste good, people know it, we sell them,” Silvestri said. “Why kick them out?”



Restaurant Review

by Chip Dudley

The pleasures at Bruna’s are many. Begin with the bar: swiveling stools with backs (a practically extinct species of chair that was once standard everywhere); a wide selection of wine, including a slightly sweet Chianti imported from Italy and stamped with a Bruna’s label; and a back bar packed with decades’ worth of detritus. The dining room has murals of the old country, crisp white linens, and a chalkboard menu listing the daily specials like Tomatoes Smith: tomatoes topped with mozzarella, herbs, and oil, then baked. Even if the food were awful, I’d come back to enjoy the ambience and the superb martinis. But almost everything was good: classics like pasta carbonara and lasagna were well above par; the mushroom ravioli was even better; and Dover sole, expertly filleted tableside by our waiter, was sublime. The only off note was the clams, which were grittier than they should have been. The pace here can be leisurely. We were at table for over two hours, but amid all the good food and good cheer it seemed half that. Reservations are an excellent idea, since Bruna’s can be jammed on the weekend.

view the review at Chicago Reader »


Restaurant Review

Set in a “quiet” Southwest Side locale, this circa-1933 “landmark” serves “large portions” of “traditional” Italian fare “made the way it should be made”; the “tiny” “old-school” digs are “nothing to look at”, but tabs are moderate and “you’re treated like family”, so it’s “still a great haunt”, especially when you need a “comfort-food blanket.

Read the review online »


The Best Old School Restaurants in Chicago

April 7, 2016 | Matt Spina

Excerpt from the Thrillist Article:

It’s not hard to find good Italian in Chicago. Acclaimed restaurants serving refined pasta dishes and rustic Tuscan roasts dot almost every neighborhood. When diving into the city’s Italian heritage, you don’t need new twists or human-sized portions, you want a plate of chicken parm that will feed you for three days. You want crowded, sauce-covered tables, checkerboard cloth, and waiters who pre-date color TV. You’ll find it all at these old-school Italian eateries in Chicago where the food is better than your nonna’s (even though you will never tell her that)……..

BRUNA’S: Taylor St may have taken over the Little Italy moniker but it’s Oakley Ave in Pilsen that has the oldest Italian hood in the city. While the old residents may have moved on Bruna’s absolutely has not, many of the menu items are older than most of the other restaurants in Chicago. Regional northern Italian specialties mix with Italian-American fare and they don’t really have a specialty because everything is that damn good. Paintings and leather chairs fill the dimly lit dining room that hits the spot between passé and perfect.