Formento’s

Red Sauce Italian

  • 89
Overview

Inspired by the classic red-sauce joints of the 1950s, this West Loop hotspot offers chef/partner Tony Quartaro’s inventive takes on traditional Italian dishes and a (600-plus bottle!) Italian-centric wine list. The setting, with red booths and white tablecloths, has an elegant, old school feel.

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What the Food Critics are Saying

“Start with antipasti such as shrimp scampi made with Cook Islands langoustines or an order of Nonna’s meatballs. Follow with one of the many housemade pastas — bucatini amatriciana with spicy ’nduja sausage, canestri with pork-neck gravy or lobster fra diavolo filled with spaghettini. Entrees are divided between fish and meat, with oversized steaks, rabbit cacciatore and quail saltimbocca. There's no shortage of choices — a nod to the massive menus of classic red-sauce Italian joints — but be sure not to miss the extra-creamy Gorgonzola mashed potatoes.” – Zagat

“There is Sunday gravy, magnificent meaty red sauce infused with simmered pork neck bones, emulsified fat and braised pancetta. A big juicy meatball and links of fennel sausage take a bath in that sauce, and it's all spooned tableside over house-extruded canestri, a pasta shape that looks like a hybrid of macaroni and rigatoni. Then food runners sprinkle cheese from a granny china-patterned tureen over the noodles. Pink quail breasts—stuffed with sage, wrapped in prosciutto and tightly wound with caul fat before being roasted into fat sausage-like lobes—are as rich as beef, lying on dollops of fontina cheese cream sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts. Most revelatory of all, though, was the shrimp scampi…Here, New Zealand langoustines full of plump, sweet meat were topped with a fluffy rock shrimp mousseline and bathed in rich garlic butter punched up with bright white wine vinegar.” – Red Eye

“The menu has dishes that veer both traditional (classic-to-the-core Nonna's meatballs blanketed in herby marinara sauce), and more modern, like the shareable relish tray, a petite serving platter laden with tiny sweet potato cannoli as delicate as they are tasty, bite-size Ligurian beets, stuffed radicchio and more. Entrées range from a boneless quail saltimbocca with prosciutto, sage, hazelnut and smoked cauliflower to a 16-ounce veal tomahawk smothered in mushrooms, Marsala and Taleggio, along with six stick-to-your-ribs pastas. Go for the comforting rigatoni alla vodka, which has a welcome kick of peppery heat, along with salty pancetta, tomato and creamy mascarpone cheese.” – Tasting Table

Ambience

The décor in both dining rooms is elegant and nostalgic, with oxblood tufted banquettes, white tablecloths, exposed brick walls, and framed art and family photos. The bar area, with rich brown walls, tiled flooring, and a long, curved bar, is clean-lined and sophisticated.

Accolades

  • Four stars from Time Out 2015
  • The 10 Hottest Restaurants in Chicago Right Now 2015 – Chicago Magazine
  • Formento’s: The Hot New Restaurant 2014 — Michigan Avenue Magazine
  • 15 Hottest Restaurant Openings in Chicago 2015 – Zagat

925 W Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607

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Details
  • Price Range: $$$
    Atmosphere: Classic/Old School, Refined, Romantic
  • Dress Code: Dressy
    Good For: Groups, Singles, Special Occasion
  • Noise Level: Average
  • Wine Spirits: Full Bar
    Phone: (312) 690-7295
  • Private Dining Room: Yes