Francesca's by the River

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Locals love Francesca's for its Italian food, family-friendly atmosphere and sophisticated decor. The airy main dining room has exposed beams, track lights, wood floors, brick walls and views of busy chefs in the open kitchen at the far end of the room. In the back dining room, a fireplace warms the ample space. This room doubles as a banquet hall, seating up to 100. Sepia-toned photos of people and food, shot by Chicago photographer Paul Elledge during trips to Italy, deck the walls in both dining rooms and the small bar area. Regulars favor Francesca's veal medallions and the linguini frutti del mare, with scallops, clams, calamari and mussels in a spicy marinara sauce.