Va Pensiero

★★★★☆
  • 1566 Oak Ave

    Evanston, IL 60201

    Map & Directions
  • 847-475-7779

About Va Pensiero

Food

Food
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New Owner, New Manager, New Chef. Great service and exceptional food. The hostess was warm and friendly, the waiter prompt and knowledgeable about the menu and the suggestions he made were right on. The four of us ordered fish, veal, pasta and shrimp. We spent as much time eating off of each others plates and tasting everything that that I am not sure which dish i liked best (OK, it was the bass). What we did was order two appetizers for the four of us. Generous portions and I broke my rule about not eating until I was stuffed. My next trip will be an appetizer orgy. A great value for a first class dining experience.

2
★★★★★

New Owner, New Manager, New Chef. Great service and exceptional food. The hostess was warm and friendly, the waiter prompt and knowledgeable about the menu and the suggestions he made were right on. The four of us ordered fish, veal, pasta and shrimp. We spent as much time eating off of each others plates and tasting everything that that I am not sure which dish i liked best (OK, it was the bass). What we did was order two appetizers for the four of us. Generous portions and I broke my rule about not eating until I was stuffed. My next trip will be an appetizer orgy. A great value for a first class dining experience.

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I was in the North Shore of Chicago area on business and was told by a friend to try "Va-P" ,,, and I'm sure glad I did!

Excellent food & atmosphere made it a extremely enjoyable dinner. I loved my lasagna plus the desert - perfect flavor with just the right touch of spices / ingredients. I enjoyed meeting the Chef / Owner, too - that's always nice. Good wine list. Overall, it was great! Highly recommended!

2
★★★★★

I was in the North Shore of Chicago area on business and was told by a friend to try "Va-P" ,,, and I'm sure glad I did!

Excellent food & atmosphere made it a extremely enjoyable dinner. I loved my lasagna plus the desert - perfect flavor with just the right touch of spices / ingredients. I enjoyed meeting the Chef / Owner, too - that's always nice. Good wine list. Overall, it was great! Highly recommended!

Pros: Quality, Value, Ambiance

Cons: Street Parking

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The menu includes an excellent variety of appetizers, pastas, meats, seafood, dessert. Very good wine menu.

2
★★★★★

The menu includes an excellent variety of appetizers, pastas, meats, seafood, dessert. Very good wine menu.

Pros: Excellent quality, friendly staff, good value

Cons: Not close to downtown Chicago

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Totally disappointing experience, the dinner which was to celebrate my boyfriend??s birthday was a complete disaster. Va Pensiero used to be our favorite Italian restaurant. My husband and I have been there several times and loved it; although last time service was questionable but the meal was good. This time the bad experience started from the walking in, we had to wait 5 minutes for someone to acknowledge we were waiting to be seated (the host was MIA). We set down and another 10 ?? 15 minutes until the waiter appeared introducing himself and apologizing for the wait (did not ask and did not take our drink order). Another 5+ minutes and the waiter came back and got our drink orders and disappeared but this time came back a bit quicker. Dropped the drinks and another 15 minutes went by before coming back to take our meal order.
The mixed field greens salad was fresh and crispy although room temperature with a light balsamic vinaigrette dressing which did compliment the field greens. The good meal and bad service only god worst from there turning the experience into a complete disaster.
My husband ordered the Garlic-Rosemary Marinated Medallions of Beef, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Exotic Mushrooms cooked median rare and I ordered the Lamb Scaloppini, Gorgonzola-Infused Polenta and Braise Italian Greens. Both meals were over cooked with burned yes bitter burned chunks on the thing and toughs meat. It was so burned and over cooked it tasted bitter. We waited for our waiter to come back to check on us and see if we wanted anything else to drink but that never did occur. The only time to waiter was prompt was at dropping the check.
I am extremely disappointed and will not return. Once bad shame on you, twice bad shame on me.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Totally disappointing experience, the dinner which was to celebrate my boyfriend??s birthday was a complete disaster. Va Pensiero used to be our favorite Italian restaurant. My husband and I have been there several times and loved it; although last time service was questionable but the meal was good. This time the bad experience started from the walking in, we had to wait 5 minutes for someone to acknowledge we were waiting to be seated (the host was MIA). We set down and another 10 ?? 15 minutes until the waiter appeared introducing himself and apologizing for the wait (did not ask and did not take our drink order). Another 5+ minutes and the waiter came back and got our drink orders and disappeared but this time came back a bit quicker. Dropped the drinks and another 15 minutes went by before coming back to take our meal order.
The mixed field greens salad was fresh and crispy although room temperature with a light balsamic vinaigrette dressing which did compliment the field greens. The good meal and bad service only god worst from there turning the experience into a complete disaster.
My husband ordered the Garlic-Rosemary Marinated Medallions of Beef, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Exotic Mushrooms cooked median rare and I ordered the Lamb Scaloppini, Gorgonzola-Infused Polenta and Braise Italian Greens. Both meals were over cooked with burned yes bitter burned chunks on the thing and toughs meat. It was so burned and over cooked it tasted bitter. We waited for our waiter to come back to check on us and see if we wanted anything else to drink but that never did occur. The only time to waiter was prompt was at dropping the check.
I am extremely disappointed and will not return. Once bad shame on you, twice bad shame on me.

Pros: Ambiance

Cons: service, food

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this place has some great italian food. some of the best around and the menu is fabulous! i suggest trying just about anything, its all good. it's not the cheapest place so this would be for a bit of a nicer dinner, but the food is delicious!

4
★★★★☆

this place has some great italian food. some of the best around and the menu is fabulous! i suggest trying just about anything, its all good. it's not the cheapest place so this would be for a bit of a nicer dinner, but the food is delicious!

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From the time we entered Va Penseiro, we were treated like royalty! The service was exceptional and the servers were so discrete...it was as if our water glasses were refilled and bread replensihed magically!
The Wine list was excellent and reasonably priced. The food was even better than the service! We had the beet salad and the field greens with gorganzola and michigan cherries. Both were tasty and a wonderful start to a fabulous meal. My husband had the pork and I had salmon with lentils. Both main courses were taste sensations that exceeded our high expectations. We ended the evening with the budino~ a warm chocolate with a a melted chocolate center ~It was to die for and the creme brulee, again an exceptional taste sensation delight! We go out to eat almost every weekend night. After our ivsit to Va Pensiero, we know where we will be going again and again!

2
★★★★★

From the time we entered Va Penseiro, we were treated like royalty! The service was exceptional and the servers were so discrete...it was as if our water glasses were refilled and bread replensihed magically!
The Wine list was excellent and reasonably priced. The food was even better than the service! We had the beet salad and the field greens with gorganzola and michigan cherries. Both were tasty and a wonderful start to a fabulous meal. My husband had the pork and I had salmon with lentils. Both main courses were taste sensations that exceeded our high expectations. We ended the evening with the budino~ a warm chocolate with a a melted chocolate center ~It was to die for and the creme brulee, again an exceptional taste sensation delight! We go out to eat almost every weekend night. After our ivsit to Va Pensiero, we know where we will be going again and again!

Pros: great service, food, wine and reasonably priced

Cons: hard to find, but worth the search

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I really don't understand why this place gets such good reviews. The food was bland when it wasn't strangely acidic. The mushroom soup might as well have been battery acid. The portobello piccatta... just yuck. Overcooked mushroom with soggy breading and a really strange souffle on the side. I am normally the type of person who loves to try adventurous dishes and I'm not much of a picky eater, but this place couldn't seem to get the most simple dishes right. Even the pre-meal bread was rubbery. I couldn't make myself take more than a few nibbles of anything, before I gave up.
The weight staff and manager were aggressive. We were constantly being interrupted by questions about how we were doing. When it became obvious how unhappy I was with the food, the waiter's demeanor became odd and pouty. It was very uncomfortable.
Otherwise, the place is cute. They have interesting presentation... too bad nothing tastes as good as it looks. I wouldn't recommend this place AT ALL to anyone - EVER. Yuck!

0
★☆☆☆☆

I really don't understand why this place gets such good reviews. The food was bland when it wasn't strangely acidic. The mushroom soup might as well have been battery acid. The portobello piccatta... just yuck. Overcooked mushroom with soggy breading and a really strange souffle on the side. I am normally the type of person who loves to try adventurous dishes and I'm not much of a picky eater, but this place couldn't seem to get the most simple dishes right. Even the pre-meal bread was rubbery. I couldn't make myself take more than a few nibbles of anything, before I gave up.
The weight staff and manager were aggressive. We were constantly being interrupted by questions about how we were doing. When it became obvious how unhappy I was with the food, the waiter's demeanor became odd and pouty. It was very uncomfortable.
Otherwise, the place is cute. They have interesting presentation... too bad nothing tastes as good as it looks. I wouldn't recommend this place AT ALL to anyone - EVER. Yuck!

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Va Pensiero in Evanston is a bit hard to find the first time, but is so worth the effort! We dine out often and we have never been disappointed here. The food is flavorful and authentic; it reminds us of our vacations in Italy. The staff is attentive and knowledgeable about the menu and the wine list. The rooms are elegant and inviting; they have a quaint patio. They have a drink called La Dolce Vita, which they created, and it is amazing! We have attended the monthly wine dinners and have always been quite impressed--we have even met winemakers from Italy there! Va Pensiero is perfect if you are looking for an elegant evening of fine food and wine with an impressive backdrop (check out the art in the rooms).

2
★★★★★

Va Pensiero in Evanston is a bit hard to find the first time, but is so worth the effort! We dine out often and we have never been disappointed here. The food is flavorful and authentic; it reminds us of our vacations in Italy. The staff is attentive and knowledgeable about the menu and the wine list. The rooms are elegant and inviting; they have a quaint patio. They have a drink called La Dolce Vita, which they created, and it is amazing! We have attended the monthly wine dinners and have always been quite impressed--we have even met winemakers from Italy there! Va Pensiero is perfect if you are looking for an elegant evening of fine food and wine with an impressive backdrop (check out the art in the rooms).

Pros: wonderful food, service and ambience

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Va Pensiero seems to have hired an assistant manager on a power trip, and he ruined my family's experience there last week. He was aggressive and rude throughout our meal. He refused to change our table (until we were equally rude in asking him to move us) even though 75% of the restaurant was empty and remained empty throughout our meal; he accused us of lying; and he got into a staring contest with my father about a bottle of wine. Despite continually saying "no" to our requests, he never apologized or worked to find a compromise, he simply sneered at us as if he shouldn't have to talk to such commoners.

Until that evening, we had experienced nothing but wonderful service and professionalism from everyone who worked at Va Pensiero, but we will not be returning after that experience. The prices are too high, and the location not nearly worth it, for such atrocious treatment.

1
★★☆☆☆

Va Pensiero seems to have hired an assistant manager on a power trip, and he ruined my family's experience there last week. He was aggressive and rude throughout our meal. He refused to change our table (until we were equally rude in asking him to move us) even though 75% of the restaurant was empty and remained empty throughout our meal; he accused us of lying; and he got into a staring contest with my father about a bottle of wine. Despite continually saying "no" to our requests, he never apologized or worked to find a compromise, he simply sneered at us as if he shouldn't have to talk to such commoners.

Until that evening, we had experienced nothing but wonderful service and professionalism from everyone who worked at Va Pensiero, but we will not be returning after that experience. The prices are too high, and the location not nearly worth it, for such atrocious treatment.

Pros: Food

Cons: Rude management

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Service and food were excellent. Warm and soft sourdough rolls started the meal with a toasted walnut and sage butter.

We're vegetarians, so we ordered one bowl of wild mushroom soup made with vegetable stock (2 thumbs up!). Don't even think about sharing your soup spoon. An extra one will mysteriously appear, thanks to the discreet but attentive wait staff.

We also had the baby arugula + blood oranges salad (very fresh) and the mixed greens and beet salad (savory). For entrees we had Semolina Ravioli with Spinach and Ricotta (delicious) and Portobello Piccata with a Fallen Spinach Soufflé and Goat Cheese (tasty but a bit fussy.)

For dessert, the Mascarpone Cheesecake with rasperries and graham cracker crust was substantive and satisfying.

The wine recommendation was helpful. We are not crazy about Italian wines, but the Chianti the waiter recommended was surprisingly good! Overall, the ambience was relaxing and romantic.

2
★★★★☆

Service and food were excellent. Warm and soft sourdough rolls started the meal with a toasted walnut and sage butter.

We're vegetarians, so we ordered one bowl of wild mushroom soup made with vegetable stock (2 thumbs up!). Don't even think about sharing your soup spoon. An extra one will mysteriously appear, thanks to the discreet but attentive wait staff.

We also had the baby arugula + blood oranges salad (very fresh) and the mixed greens and beet salad (savory). For entrees we had Semolina Ravioli with Spinach and Ricotta (delicious) and Portobello Piccata with a Fallen Spinach Soufflé and Goat Cheese (tasty but a bit fussy.)

For dessert, the Mascarpone Cheesecake with rasperries and graham cracker crust was substantive and satisfying.

The wine recommendation was helpful. We are not crazy about Italian wines, but the Chianti the waiter recommended was surprisingly good! Overall, the ambience was relaxing and romantic.

.

This is a great restaurant, consistently good all around. Great martinis.

2
★★★★★

This is a great restaurant, consistently good all around. Great martinis.

Editorial from

Pensiero Ristorante has slightly altered its concept, while remaining true to its Italian roots. Now, the menu skews toward more affordable dishes, such as rosemary-skewered grilled chicken liver, risotto Milanese and Lake Superior…

 

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