Summer time is upon us! Everyone knows what that means … sitting outside, enjoying the weather and good food & drinks with friends and family.
Labarra ristorante is a restaurant that hits all of these qualities on almost every level. It is tucked away off of Butterfield Rd in the Oakbrook Promenade.
This is the sister restaurant to the very popular La Briola Bakery Cafe. It is also located in the same mall famous for their delicious baked breads used in all of the dishes and the bread
they put on your table before your meal.
La Barra is located in a beautiful area. It is also very contemporary, yet old school Italian restaurant vibe with red leather booths and dark woods throughout.
The real Gem lies in the beautiful open air outdoor patio overlooking the small man-made pond behind the restaurant. On a nice evening in the spring of summertime, it feels great to have the night breeze cool you off as you enjoy food and a cocktail.
There is also a bar in the patio area that makes it very convenient to grab a drink and not have to worry about going into the main restaurant.
The food is absolutely delicious with some of the best Italian style meatballs I have had outside of my own. Their pastas are extremely flavorful and their pizzas are delicious.
On my most recent visit, I went on one of the first nice days we've had in the Chicagoland area where temps reached in the mid 80s. Everyone wanted to sit on the patio. It was very busy and most of the wait staff was running around trying to take care of everyone that was out there. Our waitress was very nice, but she forgot my wife's salad. It really was no big deal because we ordered two appetizers that was more than enough before our entrées.
We ordered the fried raviolis that were filled with ricotta cheese on top. The raviolis also had a pot roast style meat that was served with a side of Italian Giardiniera. This dish was delicious. We also ordered their famous mama's meatballs with marinara, whipped ricotta cheese & parmesan perfectly cooked. Again, this was outstanding and a must order when visiting.
For our main dishes my wife had the chicken parmesan boneless chicken breast with spaghetti & marinara. The mozzarella was baked perfectly in a red sauce, which resulted from charring the cheese on top. Most chicken parmesan is soggy, but not with this dish. The breadcrumb still held a crunch under all the sauce and cheese.
For my main dish, I went for one of my favs at this restaurant. I ordered the Orecchiette Calabrese. It had sausage, kale, Calabrian chilies, garlic breadcrumbs, and pecorino romano … all drenched in an olive oil sauce. This dish was fantastic!
The only cons that I can say for this restaurant is when it gets super busy, the staff has a hard time handling the rush. Also, you might wait awhile to get some refills on drinks.
Another con that I noticed, especially during Covid times, was the bartender was the only worker not wearing any type of gloves and his mask was constantly below his nose.
Some of the tables were adhering to Covid standards of social distancing 6 feet apart, while others were right on top of each other. The bar was packed with people literally shoulder to shoulder.
Most of the dishes on the menu were not cheap. Our bill was pushing $80 for two pasta dishes, two appetizers, and a water and a Coke.
I do have to say that the food is pretty consistent and delicious. The patio is a great atmosphere, especially when weather permits. It’s a great place to hang out with family & friends and enjoying a scenic view. I will definitely be returning.
I will give this place a solid 7 out of 10.