BYOB Italian restaurants in Chicago
Bring a bottle to our favorite Italian BYOBs.
If we tell you how much we love this Andersonville pizzeria, do you promise you’ll vacate one of its scant 14 seats in a timely fashion so we can still eat there? Okay, we’re trusting you, so here goes: We eat its puffy, chewy crust, graced with the highest-quality toppings—earthy mushrooms, fresh herbs, housemade mozzarella—in our dreams. 1477 W Balmoral Ave, 773-334-9270; temporarily closed—reopens March 25.
Corkage fee None
Best nearby liquor store In Fine Spirits (5418 N Clark St, 773-506-9463)
Terragusto on Addison
With the recent addition of Terragusto on Armitage, getting a table at chef-owner Theo Gilbert’s Roscoe Village homage to rustic Italian cooking just got easier. Choose from the housemade pastas—whole-grain tagliatelle ribbons, “pope’s hats” stuffed with squash—or simple preparations of roast chicken and pork loin, both organic and locally sourced. 1851 W Addison St, 773-248-2777.
Corkage fee $1 per person
Best nearby beer store West Lakeview Liquors (2156 W Addison St, 773-525-1916)
Best nearby wine store Trader Joe’s (3745 N Lincoln Ave, 773-248-4920)—Julia Kramer
BEER Before heading to the beer aisle, think about what kind of Italian restaurant you’re going to, or at least what you’re likely to order. If you’re eating spaghetti, eggplant parm, pizza or other red-sauce dishes, you’ll need something with enough bitterness to cut through the red sauce’s sweetness, but also with good roasted-malt flavor to counter the tomatoes’ acidity. A Belgian-style pale ale like Goose Island’s Matilda, La Chouffe from Brasserie d’Achouffe or Duvel would be perfect. If you’ve got your heart set on dishes like pesto gnocchi, rosemary chicken or other classics where herbs and grassy olive oil dominate, go for a tripel, a style that delivers herbal hoppiness but is so balanced that neither the malts nor the hops will overpower the food. Unibroue’s La Fin Du Monde or Westmalle’s Trappist Tripel are ideal. —Heather Shouse
WINE Italians don’t eat for sustenance—they eat to have something to do while drinking wine. So don’t even think about picking up a bottle of French, American or German plonk for that pizza. Instead, buy a bottle of Rocche Costamagna Dolcetto d’Alba, a savory, darkly fruity wine that’s just barely kissed with tannins, making it perfect for anything involving a proper red sauce. If crudo (Italy’s answer to ceviche) is more your thing, reach for Lugana, a wine made from trebbiano grapes that has a natural affinity for anything that comes from the sea. And for dessert? Malvira’s Birbet is an amazing example of sweet, bubbly brachetto, the red Italian dessert wine that will rob all the attention from the tiramisu. —David Tamarkin