Posted: Aug 21, 2019
In my youth I was employed by a traditionally trained Northern Italian chef. I was her sous chef, manager, bartender, server and general go to person. There I learned the magic of making pasta sauce without sugar, the beautiful flavors that could only come from roasting bones and vegetables for hours, and how I could not compromise at any level in the food or service quality.
That restaurant is long gone now.
In the late 90's my family and I moved to the western suburbs of Chicago.
There we discovered Zaza's in Clarendon Hills, Illinois. A restaurant which not only brought me back to the fantastic Italian experience I had in my twenties, but actually exceeded my expectations. I remember the first time I walked in to the classic wood bar reminiscent of the post prohibition establishments in Chicago. The walls were covered with nostalgic pictures of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, The Rat Pack, Johnny Cash and Marisa Tormei. Could it be true? Had we discovered a jewel in the Italian restaurant market in sleepy Clarendon Hills? We soon found out that we had.
The host, servers, and bar staff are as unpretentious and genuine as ever. The owner Tony Donati is always ready to chat and the chef makes his presence known with the customers as well. My greatest expectations have been fulfilled every time I enjoy a meal or a cocktail there! Over the years my family and I have been delighted with their fresh baked bread, fairly priced wines, cocktails, and craft beer; authentic Italian Linguine and white clams; Lasagna, Frutti di Mare, Bruschetta, and more.
The market place in restaurants in this area is literally saturated. Zaza's has managed over several decades to rise above and define excellence that is true to their brand and above all true to their customers. Congratulations to the Donati Family. Continued success.
By Go-Wine.com Team
August 21, 2019
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