Open Now: Gibsons Italia

By / Dining / November 22, 2017

Gibsons debuts a new concept on the Chicago River.

In 1989, business partners Steve Lombardo and Hugo Ralli founded Gibsons Restaurant Group and opened the doors to their signature restaurant in the Gold Coast. Since then, Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse has become the city’s top-grossing independent restaurant, and the group has added eight more concepts, including Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House, Luxbar and Quartino Ristorante.

With the opening of their latest eatery, Gibsons Italia, last month, the Lombardos take a more modern approach. Set adjacent to the West Loop’s glistening 52-story River Point Complex, Italia — helmed by 10-year Gibsons veteran Chef José Sosa (Luxbar) — marries American classics with Mediterranean dishes.

Here’s what else to expect at Gibsons Italia:

Point of view: The restaurant’s unobstructed view of the skyline and river is majestic, and complements the three-story interior, designed by architect Mark Knauer. The bottom-level bar, second-floor dining room and upper-level lounge — with floor-to-ceiling windows and a retractable roof — each have their own vibes. “We wanted to create a restaurant that was approachable,” says director of marketing Liz Lombardo. “The bar is lively and social, and the lounge is a cozy area to catch up with friends or a date over drinks.”

Raising the stakes: Italia doesn’t stray too far from its roots: Gibsons USDA Prime Angus selections are still on deck, with the addition of Australian grass-fed beef (starting at $42). But the pasta and risotto are the menu’s shining stars. Made in-house, the pastas — like the casarecce with asparagus and ricotta ($20), or the fusilli with Neapolitan beef and onion sugo ($19) — are handcrafted with a soft metal tool to give their surfaces a rough texture, which helps the sauce adhere. Another standout is the seven-year aged Acquerello risotto with scallops and baby leeks ($29); ask for some fresh truffle on top.

Small talk: Those looking for Gibsons’ famous slabs of pie might be disappointed. True to its Italian heritage, the menu’s dessert options are more reasonable in size — think gelato and sorbet ($9) or an extra virgin olive oil cake with strawberry white chocolate salsa and balsamic ($10) — but don’t skimp on flavor.

233 N. Canal, (312) 414-1100;

Photos by Kailley Lindman 


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