It has a celebrity power couple (that would be Giuilana and Bill Rancic, the restaurant’s owners) behind its name, is perfectly located and boasts a sleek and stunning interior. So yeah, RPM is going to make money. Good food isn’t always a necessity when you have the trend factor, and this River North eatery has it in spades.
But the food here is actually really, really good. If you’re a fan of hearty Italian (and who isn’t?) pay it a visit. You won’t be disappointed. I’ve been to RPM several times and everytime has been really solid – my tip? Go with the most basic items on the menu. The ones that seem remniscent of childhood days seem to consistently be the most delicious.
Anyone who has eaten at RPM knows exactly what I’m talking about: Mama DePandi’s pasta. It’s a spaghetti dish with a fresh pomodoro sauce – so simple and so, so good. You can tell it’s homemade, and word on the street is that the this was the dish that took the longest to perfect before the restaurant opened. Prime beef meatballs can be ordered alongside this pasta; they too provide an elevated take on something you probably loved eating as a kid. The salads are great options too, whether you go for the brussels sprouts and avocado dish or Giuiliana’s Italian salad, which is loaded up with meats and cheeses. After all, it isn’t an Italian meal without lots of cheese, and if you operate under that mindset, try the Burrata appetizer. It inspired my dining companion to say “that’s the to paradise.” If that statement doesn’t get you on your way to RPM Italian, I don’t know what will.
I think you should:
Try it. Definitely try it, especially if you like a side of scene with your meal. And if you’re turned off by trendy ambience, come for the food alone, but you should probably avoid busy dinner hours, which may be your only option anyway, Unfortunately, this place is pretty much always packed.
Go on a: Weeknight, especially if food is what you’re after. It’ll still have a large, well-dressed crowd. Friday or Saturday night would certainly work too, but be prepared to stand in the bar area. RPM doubles as a place to get a great cocktail and perhaps enjoy a plate of truffle garlic bread while mingling.
Wear: A bandage dress, a button-down, a sequined top – this place is capital ‘T’ trendy and patrons definitely dress to impress.
Go with: A group of friends. The bigger the better – this is definitely a great place for girls’ night out. Of course you could always go with a date, but the feel here isn’t the most romantic.
Order: Mama DePandi’s! pasta It certainly doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing on the menu, but trust me: it beats out more high-brow dishes like lobster ravioli.
52 W. Illinois St.
Chicago, IL 60654
Image credit: iVillage