This hobby of mine sure has some perks sometimes. I was fortunate to be invited by Volare to come in this past Saturday and sample their menu. This couldn’t have landed on a better day. I had just completed Chicago’s Urban Dare, where I was running around the city like a mad woman trying not to become subject to a heat stroke. I definitely worked up quite the appetite by the time all was said and done. Let’s get to it.
It was a classic Summer day in Chicago, hot and humid but I wouldn’t have it any other way (remember these days in January, my friend). It was nice to escape the heat and we sat in one of the main seating areas inside. Volare isn’t one of those kitschy Italian spots. We’ve all seen those and they make me cringe. The space is calming and has a modern twist with an Old World feel. Ninja star awarded.
Italian restaurants are notoriously romantic and Volare is no different. The mood lighting is definitely there and the atmosphere is conducive to good conversation, drinking copious amounts of wine, and enjoying each other’s company. Ninja star awarded.
The hospitality shown by the Volare staff was outstanding. Our server was so sweet to us and it reminded me of the type of hospitality I would receive at home. However, I’m sure they were all just a tad bit sweeter than they are to other guests but who cares, it was an enjoyable experience.
It was a hot summer day which is synonymous with white wine for me. They were out of the original white wine we picked out and our waitress kindly recommended another one that was light, crisp, fruity, and refreshing. She was right. Ninja star awarded.
We decided to start with some Prosciutto and the Caprese salad with a Balsamic glaze. The prosciutto was perfectly salty and the right ratio of fat to meat. The salad was fresh, the mozzarella was creamy and the balsamic glaze was out of this world. I wish I could have bottled it and taken it home with me. I loved it so much that we asked for more. The balsamic was so thick with a touch of sweetness which made it the perfect accompaniment to the salad and was a great substitution to the classic vinegar and oil combination.
For first courses, we both decided to try some of Volare’s handmade pastas. I went for the Gnocchi ala Vodka that I had read so much about. My friend went for the Ricotta Ravioli.
The Gnocchi were light pillows of heaven and didn’t weigh my stomach down, which was key on such a scorching day where I usually wouldn’t pick such a classically heavy dish. The gnocchi weren’t gummy or chewy and the sauce had a touch of Marscapone cheese to take it to the next level. I cleared my plate.
I tried the Ravioli as well and they did not disappoint. The ravioli were perfectly cooked so you still had a bite to the pasta and the sauce had depth. Volare nailed it on the classic dishes.
My friend and I decided to split the Osso Buco over Vegetable Risotto for our second course. It was the special and I just couldn’t resist. My dining companion was down for the count at this point. Luckily, I’m a girl who can eat.
The veal was so tender that it fell off the bone and the sauce did a great job complimenting the meat and risotto instead of upstaging it. The vegetable risotto just melted in your mouth. Everything was delicious and lived up to my high Italian standards. Ninja star awarded.
Overall yummy in my tummy:
Volare is some of the best Italian food I’ve had in the city. For years, I would never order pasta at a restaurant because it was always disappointing. I eventually learned that I was going to the wrong restaurants and if you choose wisely, the dish can be outstanding. You also won’t leave hungry. Ninja star awarded.
My friend was bursting at the seams by this point, but there is always room for dessert. I knew immediately what I wanted, the Tiramisu and the Cannoli. These two items, for me, are the true test of an Italian restaurant’s pastry ability. I also have really high standards because I’ve never had a Tiramisu that could beat my mother’s and the cannoli from my parent’s city in Sicily are undoubtedly some of the best in the world.
The tiramisu was delicious and can actually compete with my mother’s, which is saying something. I ate every bite but my only complaint is that I would have preferred a stronger espresso taste permeating throughout the dessert. However, the cream was spot on and comparable to my mom’s.
On the other hand, the cannoli were my least favorite item of the evening.
On the plus side, they fill them fresh which is critical to ensure the shell doesn’t get soggy. There is nothing worse than a soggy cannoli. However, I wasn’t a fan of the cream. There was just something off. I could taste a hint of citrus in it which sounds like a good thing but just didn’t work for me. I like my cannoli the classic way.
I did eat everything… Ninja star awarded.
Volare comes in at 8/9 ninja stars. Overall, I had a phenomenal experience at Volare and I would even take my Sicilian parents there.
Thanks again to the wonderful folks at Volare.
Till next time, peace out ninjas!