Mushroom Rigatoni Pasta at Bella Bacino’s

Mushrooms and Rigatoni

The mushrooms in the rigatoni are fresh and flavorful.

From the baskets of warm focaccia served at each table, to the warm welcome I got from the accommodating staff, my visit to Bella Bacnio’s Monday night was a welcome oasis from the cold.  Located next door to the Club Quarters on Wacker, the downtown location is a easy distance from most businesses in the Loop, and it’s apparently a popular lunch stop.

The dinner menu is dominated by pizza and pasta, as is the lunch menu and there are a few intriguing entree options too like a seafood medley called “fish in crazy water.”

I opted for pasta in the end, since it seemed to be the house specialty, and selected mushrooms and rigatoni because I order the same dish regularly at Mario’s, one of my old standbys. I figured I would have a good base for comparison. The two dishes turned out to be drastically different.

Mario’s sauce is thick and meaty and Bella Bacino’s sauce is strikingly thinner both in consistency and taste.  The mushrooms were prepared in entirely differently too — added right into the meat sauce at Mario’s and sautéed separately and then added into the sauce at Bella Bacino’s.  The result is a trade off between more flavorful sauce or more flavorful mushrooms.  Although I enjoyed the texture and taste of the fresh mushroom at Bella Bacino’s, I’ll admit that I prefer the Mario’s sauce version.  Sometimes it’s good to be reaffirmed that my good ol’ favorites are my favorites for good reason.

Do you order the same dish at various restaurants to compare and contrast them?  What do you order and what criteria do you use?  Tell us about it! Leave us a comment or drop us a line on Twitter.

Bella Bacino’s
75 East Wacker Dr # 1
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 263-2350

  1. Krista from left a comment on December 16, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I got hooked on the chopped salad at Pompeii years ago and now order it wherever I see it. Pompeii’s version–and that DRESSING–is still the best!

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