Get Pasta Your Way at Volare

Gnocchi with vodka sauce

Half order of gnocchi with vodka sauce.

Volare is one of those places I’ve passed a hundred times and wanted to try.  Located just east of Michigan Avenue on Grand, it’s been open forever and always seems to have a steady stream of customers coming and going.  It’s also within easy walking distance of the AMC 21 theater, so it’s a good place to go before or after a show.

That’s how I ended up there recently — rounding out an afternoon at the movies with dinner on the patio (are you loving this fall weather or what?) with my movie-going buddy.  I oped for pasta — a build-your-own meal sort of deal where you select the pasta and the sauce — and I got a half order of gnocchi with vodka sauce.  It was excellent and the half order was more than enough, not to mention that it rang in at an extremely affordable seven dollars.

Volare is a worthy stop if you’re walking by. The meal I had was solid and everything I saw coming out of the kitchen, including dessert, looked good; the wine list is extensive; and the service was good too, even if our waitress was over zealous to a fault. She checked on us a little too often and made us feel rushed, but we took our time anyway because there was no wait, and it obviously wasn’t end-of-shift.  She also called us “my ladies” repeatedly — a somewhat absurd verbal tick that made me feel like I was at a renaissance fair — but the good food made that possible to overlook.

Another charming aspect of Volare is it feels like a local place right in the heart of an overly touristy, restaurant-chain laden area. I’d go back in a heartbeat. Have you tried Volare? Let us know what you think!


The tiramisu was pretty and tasty.

201 E Grand Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60611
(312) 410-9900