Cafe Bionda

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Joe Farina, who spent a decade as the corporate chef of Rosebud Restaurants in addition to a brief stint at Ballo, is behind this South Loop Italian eatery. Look for two mahogany bars, warm earthy hues and an open kitchen with a tin ceiling. Bionda focuses on reasonably priced old-school Italian dishes in manageable portions; pasta selections average about $15 and entrees top out at $25. On the menu: rigatoni Genovese with Italian sausage, tomatoes and basil; veal Milanese; center-cut pork chops with banana peppers, chili flakes and white wine; eggplant Parmesan; and more.