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Ristorante Agostino

Ristorante Agostino
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  • Post #31 - March 29th, 2007, 9:11 am
    Post #31 - March 29th, 2007, 9:11 am Post #31 - March 29th, 2007, 9:11 am
    Can anyone point to anything really distinctive about Agostino's?

    Some might say that we should evaluate every restaurant on equal criteria, but we know that doesn't happen. Some places are in a packed genre (Thai food, taquerias) and really have to climb to the top; other places are one of a kinds (Manny's, Klas) and we treasure them just for being them, for the total package apart from the food (I like Manny's a lot but I could see others disagreeing; I don't think anyone has ever said Klas was great for food alone).

    Anyway, my point is, Agostino's is a relatively recent, apparently popular, very middle of the road Italian-American restaurant. I think, though, that Chicago has one or two others of those. On every block in this city. In part the GNRs buy into the idea that the honest love of a single LTHer willing to put their neck out and express it should count for a lot, and I agree, but still... what about Agostino's is not just decent enough, but truly ranks it above Jimmy's in Forest Park, Fiorentino's on Ashland, La Scarola, Via Veneto, et cetera et cetera among the ranks of pretty good Italian joints?

    Lest anyone think I'm picking on Agostino's, I think this is a question worth contemplating for every GNR renominee at this phase. Over 2000 people have downloaded the pocket guide PDF of the GNR winners. It's worth giving each one a good scrooten, and if you want to stand up for some place, or say "What the hell's that doing on the list," now is the time.
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  • Post #32 - March 29th, 2007, 9:25 am
    Post #32 - March 29th, 2007, 9:25 am Post #32 - March 29th, 2007, 9:25 am
    I remember Restaurante Augostino in its previous location, which was in a strip mall on the other side of Harlem where a fresh pasta store now resides. This is circa 25ish years ago. At the time, the zuppa di pesche was my go to dish and was quite good. I guess I've been putting off a visit to the "new" place long enough and I plan on going in the near future to give it a taste.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #33 - March 29th, 2007, 12:52 pm
    Post #33 - March 29th, 2007, 12:52 pm Post #33 - March 29th, 2007, 12:52 pm
    Mike G wrote:Can anyone point to anything really distinctive about Agostino's?


    Good question. I haven't been, but my impression from what I've read and heard (including their own stuff), is that at least one claim to distinctiveness is the seafood focus. I'd love to hear more from those who have been there if it actually stands out in this regard.

    I think the list of other genre places is interesting, as any of those places might be GNR worthy if they got LTH-love. I think that's really the distinction that sets one or two apart from the others...that LTHers like the place, go there, and talk about it. I'm not quite sure they do about Agostino's, even as much as, say, Jimmy's.

    La Scarola...if there were Chicago Chowhound 2002 GNRs, I think La Scarola would have been a shoo-in. Now I'm not so sure.
  • Post #34 - March 29th, 2007, 2:53 pm
    Post #34 - March 29th, 2007, 2:53 pm Post #34 - March 29th, 2007, 2:53 pm
    G Wiv wrote:...fluffed on a regular basis ...


    Right there, it sounds like my kind of place, and while I have never been, I would heartily recommend this restaurant for GNR renewal.
    JiLS
  • Post #35 - March 31st, 2007, 8:09 pm
    Post #35 - March 31st, 2007, 8:09 pm Post #35 - March 31st, 2007, 8:09 pm
    Last minute? Sure, why not?

    I started out speaking of my long-term love for this place. I've had many very good meals here, and maybe one or two not so stellar.

    My last meal at Agostino's was WAY less than stellar. It was overly rich, overly hyped by the server, and overly expensive [details available if anybody's curious . . . ] I left with an unhappy taste in my mouth, thinking that things had changed in a way I didn't like. I had taken a friend there for his first dinner at Agostino, and I felt left down.

    Hence my ambivalence about pushing the restaurant for a GNR renewal.

    But, other thoughts and conversations brought me around to thinking about all of the really, really good meals I've had there. I had a very good meal there last spring [the disappointing one was in November]. At their best, Agostino's is capable of making a dish that is fresh-tasing and perfectly executed. Fresh fish*, fresh herbs, good-quality tomatoes in the dishes, pasta done to a perfect al dente turn, professional [not too obtrusive, not neglectful] service. [*I always recommend them as a place for sea food, and they more and more promote themselves as such.] When they stick to their core meals, I haven't had anything that can beat them in Chicago. And yes, in my mind, the usual quality of execution, the lightness of hand that they're capable of, DOES make them stand out in the Chicago restaurant scene from any number of other neighborhood Italian places.

    And, as you can see in the events board, I'm looking forward to exploring their menu more widely in the company of a few of my chowish friends.

    Giovanna

    [edited to fix some spelling that was so off it mentioned another restaurant entirely]
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #36 - October 4th, 2009, 8:44 am
    Post #36 - October 4th, 2009, 8:44 am Post #36 - October 4th, 2009, 8:44 am
    Update on Agostino.

    Nothing much to add, except that it hasn't been spoken about lately. The good news: nothing much has changed since I was last there several years ago. Solid seafood, friendly ambience, wonderful neighborhood feel. Not to be confused with some of the more interesting, more-or-less authentic Italian restaurants downtown and nearby (the Merlos, Spiaggias, Coco Pazzos), but still one of those fine neighborhood Italian restaurants still to be mentioned, as above, in the same breath as Bruna's, Sabatino's, and might I add, RIP, Febo's--the kind of Italian restaurant that has been disappearing in other cities around the country, but fortunately not so much in Chicago.

    The bad news: Traffic on Harlem Avenue hasn't gotten any better.
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #37 - November 15th, 2010, 6:11 pm
    Post #37 - November 15th, 2010, 6:11 pm Post #37 - November 15th, 2010, 6:11 pm
    Buona sera tutti,

    I would like to first introduce myself, Laura Fiasche, the daughter of Agostino and Anna, owners' of Ristorante Agostino on Harlem Avenue. I would like to thank you all for your reviews and comments, although some were hard to swallow, because no one wants to hear negative comments about their parents' cooking, although it was eye-opening. This December my family will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in business, which we are very proud of and consider an immense accomplishment. =)

    It's true that Agostino's is a neighborhood restaurant run by family, in which we do pride ourselves on always providing the freshest and most authentic Italian ingredients. We have been recognized twice by Accademia Italiana Della Cucina, have been featured on 190 North, Hungry Hound, and Check Please, along with being named 2010's #1 Italian Restaurant by Fra Noi Newspaper. Enough gloating, however I felt it was quite necessary to defend our name. Yes, we might not have the best website, but my dad is old school and doesn't understand the technology world, but I'm working on the site now. Agostino always says ''its not important what's on the walls (referring to the decor) but the most important thing is what's on the plate.''

    Another point I'd like to touch on is the comparison to other Italian restaurants. We are all a community and we all support each other, however if you come in our restaurant and expect your veal marsala to taste like the veal marsala at so and so's restaurant, then of course you will not be satisfied. Every restaurant has its own unique recipes and each chef has his/her own special touch.. so don't ask for peas in your Carbonara because Anna will refuse! That being said, Anna, named Maestro della Cucina at Italian Expo's 'Who's Your Chef' competition is one of the most creative chefs and has a loyal following constantly waiting to discover what she will be serving up. She is at the restaurant Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and you can call ahead to see if Anna will be in the kitchen that night. I guarantee that the flare, love, and passion she puts into each dish is undoubtably evident and will leave your palate in awe.

    Anna comes from Naples and Agostino is from Calabria, these two Mediterranean born chefs know their fish and most definitely know how to prepare and serve it up. If you came to the restaurant and didn't order fish you would be doing yourself the disfavor. Agostino orders fresh shellfish and whole fish daily which he picks up at the airport to ensure quality. We continue to remain true to our old world traditions and provide the ultimate experience to our customers.. We want you to feel like family... but only if you want to!

    Tanti Saluti,

    Laura Fiasche
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chicago-IL/Ristorante-Agostino/134738049500
  • Post #38 - June 12th, 2011, 7:27 pm
    Post #38 - June 12th, 2011, 7:27 pm Post #38 - June 12th, 2011, 7:27 pm
    Stopped by Ristorante Agostino for the first time last night. Had the fritto misto appetizer which was nothing to write home about. I had the grilled octopus with a spicy tomato sauce ($27)...the sauce was great but the octopus was like eating bicycle tires.

    HOWEVER, wife had the gnocci with vodka sauce which was outstanding. They were, from all appearances, homemade and feather light, really top notch. Much better than Jimmy's version.

    Cannoli and tiramisu are made in house. The former was pretty good. The latter, not good. How do you mess up tiramisu?

    The gratis fruit plate is still offered and very much appreciated.

    Anyway, the gnocchi was so good I would return. I think pastas may be your best bet.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #39 - December 15th, 2011, 8:38 am
    Post #39 - December 15th, 2011, 8:38 am Post #39 - December 15th, 2011, 8:38 am
    I met a gent earlier this week in court who told me I must eat at Agostino's.

    Now, I'm dreaming of eggplant parmigiana. Anyone had it here recently?

    I like a bit of sauce, but not too sweet and the eggplant should be crispy, a bit of oil is okay, but not soaking in oil.

    I make a pretty good one, but it always seems like so much work.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #40 - December 15th, 2011, 9:19 am
    Post #40 - December 15th, 2011, 9:19 am Post #40 - December 15th, 2011, 9:19 am
    pairs4life wrote:I met a gent earlier this week in court who told me I must eat at Agostino's.

    Now, I'm dreaming of eggplant parmigiana. Anyone had it here recently?

    I like a bit of sauce, but not too sweet and the eggplant should be crispy, a bit of oil is okay, but not soaking in oil.

    I make a pretty good one, but it always seems like so much work.


    Agostino is mostly a seafood place. I wouldn't think to order eggplant there, but you never know. They have a spiffy new sign, so you've got that going for you, which is nice.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #41 - December 15th, 2011, 1:46 pm
    Post #41 - December 15th, 2011, 1:46 pm Post #41 - December 15th, 2011, 1:46 pm
    stevez wrote:
    pairs4life wrote:I met a gent earlier this week in court who told me I must eat at Agostino's.

    Now, I'm dreaming of eggplant parmigiana. Anyone had it here recently?

    I like a bit of sauce, but not too sweet and the eggplant should be crispy, a bit of oil is okay, but not soaking in oil.

    I make a pretty good one, but it always seems like so much work.


    Agostino is mostly a seafood place. I wouldn't think to order eggplant there, but you never know. They have a spiffy new sign, so you've got that going for you, which is nice.


    The gent said they had great pasta & knew I didn't eat animals. The spiffy new sign sounds like I must pay a visit. :wink:
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #42 - September 7th, 2012, 8:18 am
    Post #42 - September 7th, 2012, 8:18 am Post #42 - September 7th, 2012, 8:18 am
    had a wonderful meal at Agostino's last night, first time I had been there.

    Started out with sautéed artichoke hearts w/garlic. No muss, no fuss, the hearts were devioid off all tough parts leaving the firm, fresh hearts to shine.

    Next was the Prosciutto & melon. Prosciutto was by far the best I've ever had, simply amazing. The melon seemed at the peak of sweetness.

    Client had the lemon veal which was a very hearty serving of veal, which was very very tender, yet flavorful.

    I had the grilled John Dory w/garlic & oil. One side had been cooked a bit too long but that is my only complaint with this fresh white fleshed fish.

    We both split a small serving of penne w/ricotta & spinach which I would have been very pleased with if that had been my main course.

    The house chianti was quite pleasant.

    After my experience last night I can't wait to go back and try the octopus in spicy tomato sauce.

    We were there ~5:45pm on a Thursday night and there were 5 other tables occupied, by the time we left ~8pm, most of the restaurant was filled.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #43 - September 7th, 2012, 8:45 am
    Post #43 - September 7th, 2012, 8:45 am Post #43 - September 7th, 2012, 8:45 am
    I didn't see this upthread.

    Ristorante Agostino
    2817 North Harlem Avenue
    Chicago, IL
    (773) 745 6464
    http://www.agostinogustofino.com/
    -Mary
  • Post #44 - September 7th, 2012, 10:23 am
    Post #44 - September 7th, 2012, 10:23 am Post #44 - September 7th, 2012, 10:23 am
    Sweet Willie wrote:After my experience last night I can't wait to go back and try the octopus in spicy tomato sauce.


    See my post above. Buyer beware on the octopus.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #45 - September 10th, 2012, 11:32 am
    Post #45 - September 10th, 2012, 11:32 am Post #45 - September 10th, 2012, 11:32 am
    teatpuller wrote:See my post above. Buyer beware on the octopus.
    yep, saw it, that is the reason I chose the John Dory(which was delicious), but I do have a question for you as you stated your octopus was grilled but w/sauce.

    The menu describes Polpo al Sugo or Grigliata - Octopus in a spiced tomato sauce or grilled.

    Your dish was grilled & with sauce?
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #46 - September 10th, 2012, 12:02 pm
    Post #46 - September 10th, 2012, 12:02 pm Post #46 - September 10th, 2012, 12:02 pm
    Sweet Willie wrote:Your dish was grilled & with sauce?


    It's been a while, but as I recall it was grilled, placed on top of some garlic bread and red sauce liberally applied on top. I guess I was expecting more of a slow-cooked stew type of thing. It was huge. Taste was fine, but chewy as hell.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #47 - August 17th, 2013, 9:17 am
    Post #47 - August 17th, 2013, 9:17 am Post #47 - August 17th, 2013, 9:17 am
    teatpuller wrote:
    Sweet Willie wrote:Your dish was grilled & with sauce?


    It's been a while, but as I recall it was grilled, placed on top of some garlic bread and red sauce liberally applied on top. I guess I was expecting more of a slow-cooked stew type of thing. It was huge. Taste was fine, but chewy as hell.

    Last night, I too got the octopus al sugo (w/sauce). I was very pleased with this dish and the octopi were of good texture, not chewy rubber.

    After reading about nduja, the spreadable salami is discussed in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=27109 and is every bit delicious as it looks. Amazing stuff.

    We had the melon & prosciutto, again terrific, melon at peak flavor & the salty/earthy prosciutto was so good.

    Wife had the seafood risotto which was packed w/seafood, so much that she made the comment the dish was more like seafood & white rice rather than the rich risotto she expected. This was the only fault in our meal last night.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #48 - July 12th, 2014, 10:17 am
    Post #48 - July 12th, 2014, 10:17 am Post #48 - July 12th, 2014, 10:17 am
    A little bump-y love for this place.

    It's been years since I've been, but I've been meaning to forever since Ann Marie at Freddy's to me that this was here and Joe's go to for a nice meal.

    A lot of the discussion of this place slot it in the "Italian-American" category like Sabatino's or the late, very lamented (for me at least) Gianotti's, but I don't think it's that kind of place. Granted, it's been about 30 years since I've been to Italy (but I read a lot of cookbooks...); this place had many imprimaturs that made it seem way more Italian, than Italian-American. When the first of the daily specials was stuffed zucchini blossoms (as was the second*), I was hooked. And then there was another daily special of pasta with zukes and more blossoms. These things tasted right what they should for mid-July. What really did the trick though was the salad. It had that dressing of salt (a ton) and dabs of vinegar that tasted EXACTLY as I remember. To my thinking, the seafood dominated menu seems authentic too. Even the stray pastas, a carbonara here, a Bolognase there, remind me what a menu would look like al Italia. I would add, that while the fruit platter is a nice and also an authentic tough, it would good if they put a little more effort into where they purchased such fruit.

    I saw that ages ago there was a group dinner here. It really seems like a place that would hold well to such an event. If nothing else, I am highly curious about the giant seafood platters. I am thinking if you come here with a group, order family style/Italian style, the final bill can average out pretty OK (cf LTH events @ Boston Seafood). Interest?

    *The first option was with fresh mozz; the second, with cheese and locally made njuda. I really wanted that, but as wife eats no flesh, it was the first. Only when the bill came and I found out that the blossoms were priced per, did I realize we each could have had our own.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #49 - July 12th, 2014, 11:01 am
    Post #49 - July 12th, 2014, 11:01 am Post #49 - July 12th, 2014, 11:01 am
    I've been way up and then down and then indifferent about this place for a long time. Last 2 times I went I think some of the younger generation were messing with the menu and I made the mistake of ordering some of their offerings [a gummy, tasteless, expensive lobster ravioli in cream sauce kept me out of the place for years]. I think if you order the simple dishes made with simple, fresh, well-sourced ingredients this can still be a great restaurant.

    VI, I'm pleasantly surprised that Ann Marie and Joe come here to eat, but then not surprised when I consider how much I love their food.

    I've come to the conclusion, if anyone cares :roll: , that I dislike Italian-American food. The LTH love for Sabatino's completely bumfuzzles me. Went to one of the restaurants in Heart of Chicago - can't even remember which one - and loved the old linoleum and badly decorated nature of it. Struck me as authentically Italian-American as practiced by my relatives. And while the food there was well prepared for what is was [eggplant parm, iirc] it was too heavy, too oily, too sweet. Italian food prepared for Americans.

    I keep trying to meet up with my cousins at Freddy's because I consider it the best Italian food I've had since Grandma went to hang with that nice Jewish carpenter boy. And that, in conclusion, is the point I'm trying to back VI up on here - I think that Ristorante Agostino and Freddy's serve Good Italian Food.

    [And, sure, I'd be more than willing to meet up with a group some weeknight.]



    Giovanna
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #50 - November 1st, 2018, 6:44 am
    Post #50 - November 1st, 2018, 6:44 am Post #50 - November 1st, 2018, 6:44 am
    Mrs Willie & I are not fans of Halloween, so we keep the house dark & go out to dinner. Last night we chose Ristorante Agostino. In reading this thread I realized I hadn't been in quite awhile, my loss.
    stevez wrote:Agostino is mostly a seafood place.
    I would fully agree with this statement, it is all about the seafood here with a starter of nduja thrown in.

    1/2 dozen raw west coast oysters were fresh as could be, shucked perfectly with lots of liquor.

    Our starter of nduja was as usual spot on. (not on menu, have to ask)

    Mrs Willie chose the Bucatini Amatriciana w/Tomato, Basil, Onion & Pancetta. While certainly tasty, for me (as stated above) this place is all about seafood.

    I ordered a special, large envelopes of pasta filled with crab in a vodka cream sauce w/mushrooms and pieces of lobster. Friggin off the hook delicious.

    I'm not going to wait so long between visits.

    Closed on Mon & Tues, website: http://www.agostinositalian.com/
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.

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