La Dolce Vita
Creative and classic Italian fare in Lemont
Few restaurants successfully provide an environment suitable for a romantic date, an after-work get-together, or a family of four, but La Dolce Vita in downtown Lemont scores the dining trifecta.
The ambiance and white table cloths portend an expectation of high quality, well-crafted Italian food. And with antipasti options that includes Polpo Alla Griglia (grilled octopus, roasted peppers, garbanzo beans, aged balsamic) and Pepe Farcite (baked stuffed pepper with sausage risotto, fresh mozzarella, and parmesan), it is clear from the outset that one’s palate will not be disappointed. Yet, while La Dolce Vita offers imaginative dishes and an extensive wine selection, it is also a place that offers familiar Italian fare and even provides children with crayons, their own menu, and chocolate milk.
With soft music in the background — think Sinatra or jazz — patrons will find themselves seated in a quaint dining room featuring brick, dark woods, soft lighting and a little touch of Tuscan ornamentation. A well-stocked bar sits adjacent to the dining area and has a TV, so sports fans need not worry about missing the game. It’s a cozy atmosphere without ever seeming crowded.
La Dolce Vita also offers diners a chance to dine al fresco in a beautiful, screened-in patio. No matter where hungry visitors sit, the staff is sure to greet incoming guests with a smile and then follow that with terrific service — servers are pleasant, attentive and knowledgeable.
Of course, quality service, impressive ambiance and beautiful décor are wonderful features, but no restaurant is worthy of a visit unless the food is good. It is. In fact, it’s delectable. In addition
to several, recognizable pasta dishes that will not disappoint, guests can enjoy items such as Linguine Con Scampi featuring shrimp and broccoli sautéed with olive oil and garlic and then tossed with linguine. Or, enjoy perfectly cooked steak, chicken, fish or the outstanding sausage and peppers dish served in a white wine sauce that hits on several notes — sweet and spicey with a touch of salt. All dishes arrive with bread, parmesan cheese and olive oil along with a masterfully dressed salad that will delight even the most stubborn carnivore.
Portions are not overwhelming, but expect to take home a healthy amount of leftovers. Besides, saving room for dessert is a must — the tiramisu is excellent.
La Dolce Vita is not in Rome, obviously. In fact, the restaurant lies in the heart of what was once referred to as “Smokey Row.” Lemont’s 19th century western-city, mining-town days were marked by streets populated by a rough and tumble crowd. Today, Lemont’s historically quaint downtown, along with the wonderful dining experience awaiting people at La Dolce Vita, makes it well worth the trip, no matter where one resides within the west suburban area.
107 Stephen Street, Lemont
Polenta Bolognese al Forno and Tortellacci Di Vitello e Prosciutto
Pasta and antipasti, $9 to $17. Specials, $12 to $35.
Mon-Thurs 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; Fri-Sat 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sun 3 p.m.-8 p.m.
25 wines by the glass; gluten-free menu; free parking.