Tuscany on Taylor: perfect for date night or family dinner

Tuscany on Taylor holds a special place in my heart. It was the site of my first date with my husband almost 15 years ago, a favorite place to meet other couples for a night of good food and boisterous fun. But I didn’t think of it as a family restaurant, so we hadn’t visited since our sons were born.

Going back to the Taylor Street location recently, we found a place open and friendly to all ages, with fast service and hearty fare. They certainly pack the customers in (especially before United Center games), but many large round tables accommodated families and groups in both of the restaurant’s dining areas. Even though Tuscany does not have a stand-alone kids’ menu, at 6 p.m. on a Friday, you’re as likely to find a toddler at a table as a couple on their first date.

What really set this dining experience apart was the excellent service. Our server (who has worked there for more than 20 years) greeted us immediately and joked around with the boys, making them comfortable, and even offering suggestions. He delivered drinks and appetizers before the boys could fidget. By the end of dinner he knew their names, school and interests. Tuscany has a fast-moving kitchen, so food came quickly and piping hot.

The menu boasts classic Italian food, but this is not a spaghetti and meatballs joint. Instead you’ll find a variety of veal and fish dishes. Specially created pastas include pappardelle with sausage and rapini, seafood spaghetti and four-cheese ravioli. They will happily make kids any kind of noodle with meat or marinara sauce, but my younger sons went the “pizze” route, sharing a tasty wood-fired pizza with sausage and peppers. Dinners range anywhere from $11 for pizzas to $33 for entrees, so it’s possible to find something to fit your price point.

My sons also raved about the desserts. In fact, before ordering, they visited the dessert case and asked servers about all the treats. We ended up with delicious gelato, chocolate lava cake with fresh berries and profiterole.

It was good to be back.

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