Sunday, June 20, 2010


In Buffalo Grove Town Center, a Weight Watchers opened up a few years ago. Shortly after that a Coldstone Creamery opened next door. Now that's a rather extreme examples of the point I'm trying to make, but wherever you work out there seems to be some kind of temptation right around the corner (almost just waiting there to be a guilty reward for people who feel they've earned it). Near Holmes Place (the gym us students get a discounted membership at) the temptation is called Volare. When I walk to the train from the gym I always have to pass this place and take in the wonderful smell of quality Italian food. If I'm lucky I can catch a glimpse of some of the food at the large outdoor seating area. This past weekend I finally got around to eating at Volare with my friends Lauren, Evan, Ricky, and Steve.

The logistical components at Volare were practically impeccable. For starters the sat us directly at our reservation time. We had 5 people which normally means a round table. It was interesting that instead of having square tables with circular pop up pieces underneath, the restaurant had circular tops that were constantly being wheeled out and set up by the bus boys. For that matter, the bus boys were about as perfect as could be. Water never got below halfway in anyone's glass, but it didn't have that feel of being watched ever time you take a sip like at Benihana. I also think they refilled our bread like four times.

For seating there are two options, a main room and a lengthy outdoor seating area. It was a little muggy outside so we sat in. One issue with the main room is that they kind of cram lots of tables in there, and it can get a little loud (although we made our fair share of noise). Although it was crowded, when they could afford to take a table out, the bus boys got rid of it right away.

The service was really a team effort. The waiter was ultra attentive, and we had multiple visits from the manager to make sure that everything was going as planned. It felt really nice that even though we were just a bunch of kids with a rather small order that we were given so much attention.

The prices weren't too bad either. Although the feel here was that of a somewhat nicer Italian restaurant (despite the roof painted like a cloudy sky) most of us spent $16 for our entrees and got tons of food.

The Food
We sat down to a pretty late dinner (9:30), so we stuck to entrees not wanting to have a long drawn out meal. The order we placed was Gnocchi with Vodka Sauce (Lauren), Gnocchi with Salmonatta sauce (Fresh Salmon in Cream Sauce) (Me), Tortellini Bolognese (Evan), Chicken Vesuvio (Steve), and Chicken Cacciatora (Ricky). Everyone loved what they ordered. The Gnocchi had a nice texture with a creamy center and firm outer layer. This was some of the best Gnocchi I've ever had, right up there with Pompeii in Buffalo Grove. Plus, my dish had tons of Salmon with a cream sauce that was rich, but not to the point where I felt sick after. The Tortellini had a delicious cheese filling and a casing that was clearly homemade with it's excellent texture and flavor.

 Gnocchi with Salmonatta

 Gnocchi in Vodka Cream Sauce

 Tortellini Bolognese

The chicken dishes were spot on as well. The Vesuvio was cooked perfectly with a moist center, and it was smothered in peas and a wine sauce that was the proper balance between wine and creaminess. The Cacciatora had a real kick to it and was covered in a variety of olives and peppers. On top of the overall quality of the food, it all came out piping hot and in a short amount of overall wait time. One extra point is they seem to make real strong drinks at the bar if having a cocktail with dinner is your style.

Chicken Vesuvio

Chicken Cacciatora

We all had a fantastic time at Volare. Everyone was completely satisfied and impressed with their meal. It didn't cost us an arm and a leg either. For those of you that live in Streeterville, this place is pretty conveniently located as well. As far as Italian restaurants in the city, Volare is one of the best I've been to so far. There's homemade pasta/gnocchi and delicious sauces were the highlight for me, and it was difficult to ignore just how excellent the staff made our experience. I'm giving Volare 4.5 out of 5 Pearls.

Volare on Urbanspoon


  1. My family and I love this place! Glad someone got the Vesuvio - it is my fav. You must go back and sit outside one night when it is nice out :)

  2. Rose Angelis was another Italian place you were raving about however it was before the Pearls system. How would you say these two places compare?

  3. I'm not exactly sure what I'd give Rose Angelis. I'd have to eat there again, but it'd either be 4.5 or 5 Pearls. The feel is very different. Rose Angelis is in somewhat of a remodeled house compared to the busy restaurant atmosphere of Volare.

  4. Great place.... Checkout the blog for the Oakbrook location at:

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