Balagio: Homewood, IL

If you’re in the mood for an authentic Italian meal, Balagio Ristorante and Banquets is the place to be. I loved visiting the Homewood location, which has a bit of an old-school vibe with an elegant feel. Fresh ingredients, classic pasta dishes, a nice wine list - it’s all you could want in an Italian ristorante.

Open for lunch or dinner, you can start off with appetizers such as broiled calamari, panko-crusted shrimp, mussels, bruschetta, baked goat cheese, sausage and peppers or an atinipasto platter or mortadella, prosciutto, salami, fontinella, roasted peppers, olives and more.

I love starting out the meal with Italian bread, extra virgin olive oil and parmesan while I perused the menu. Entrees include some traditional pasta, chicken, seafood and beef dishes. My very favorite chicken dish is chicken piccata and I loved their version - the chicken was thin and tender and the sauce was amazing. There’s also a nice selection of specials to choose from. My husband tried a Trout con Granchio on our visit from the specials menu, which was stuffed with crab and finished with a lemon garlic saffron sauce.

If you’re looking for a good Italian meal in the south suburbs, definitely give Balagio a try.