The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Re-Visiting La Villa

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Dec 17, 2007 6:30PM

2007_12_lavilla.jpgIn high school one of the constants of our Friday nights was a family-sized pizza delivered to the house from La Villa Restaurant and Banquets in Old Irving. We'd fight for a corner slice among our allotment, chase them down with a glass of pop, and head out the house for our other constant: vainly working on our game with every Catholic school girl we could meet.

Those pizzas from La Villa, still among the best in the city, narrowed our opinion of the place, for certain. Years passed and we thought that pizza was all that La Villa did. It completely spaced our mind that this family-owned restaurant, founded in 1971, also had an attached banquet hall until our best friend mentioned that his brother-in-law's wedding reception was held there. This was Saturday night, and we and two others braved the snowstorm for a bite to eat at La Villa. The Canale family definitely does more than just pizza, although they do make a lot of it. Our friend ordered baked gnocchi. We had brasciole, which was the Saturday special. Both dishes tasted better than they looked, but there isn't much one can do to dress up brasciole, which might explain why the salad bar (teeming with antipasti, desserts, and dressings) was part of the special.

La Villa's has a well-earned reputation as a family restaurant, and on this evening the warm wood tones of the dining room - which looked like it was decorated for the holidays by a Christmas light bomb squad - was packed with families enjoying dinner; some tables had three generations of members. It's a comfortable, lived-in dining room where we felt at ease the moment we stepped inside.

La Villa Restaurant and Banquets
3632-36 N. Pulaski