Subway: Brown, Purple (rush hrs), Red to Belmont(773) 281-3310 miafrancesca.com41.942006 -87.652332 3311 N Clark St (between Aldine Ave and Buckingham Pl) Lakeview, Chicago
Lunch (Sat, Sun), dinnerAverage main course: $18
Clearly the business minds behind this Italian concept have figured out a formula for success: approachable, Northern Italian cooking for the masses, with suburban outposts seemingly opening weekly. At this location, loyalists from the neighborhood dig in to huge oval platters of cool, caper-studded carpaccio; pastas tossed with lemony cream and asparagus; capable fish and chicken sautés; and what’s surprisingly the best garlic spinach in town. Couples and families happily wait at the bar drinking tumblers of cheap wine, somehow oblivious to the chaos of the always-packed room and the obligatory wait even for those with a reservation.