More inherited opinion on a place that lots of folks here know, but one that really hasn't been discussed: Sabatino's on Irving near the Kennedy. You either love it or you wonder what the big deal is. Anyway, I was there recently and had a fantastic meal. While all sorts of free stuff "comes with" you should still try the house-cured bresaola (or the antipasto platter, which includes it and very good salume) before dinner. I'd add the veal chop to the list of big-deal bargains below in this old post. Save room for table-side flaming desserts.
Chicago-Italian places that time forgot, [include] Sabatino's and the recently-ruined Biasetti's (the ambiance, including the 1977-vintage NFL helmets at the bar, has been lost to a late, ill-conceived makeover by the new management; however, I must confess the steaks are now better and the North Side (baked) ribs remain the genre's benchmark). Sabatino's is, IMO, several notches higher in terms of food quality and early David Lynch style. Indeed, I rank it above Cafe La Cave, Myron and Phil's (Jewish variation on the theme) and Francesco's Hole in the Wall among my only-in-Chicago experiences. When you go, be sure to stick to the theme: anything with "parmagiana," "vesuvio," or "De Jonghe" in the name is safe. Special meat and fish preparations usually fail. Finally, if you are up to it, the kitchen seems to give special attention to certain heavy-hitter entrees such as the zuppa di pesce and the NY strip, both of which are huge, surprisingly good, and priced at about 50% of what they should be. The pound of lobster in the former dish continues to amaze me and supports my theory that much of the produce here has fallen off a truck. They make a very solid Manhattan (the natural choice in a place like this) too.