This past week I was in Chicago for work and decided to make it an extra long weekend with the 4th and go up early. Chicago is one of my favorite cities, but also my mom’s side of the family is in the Chicago/southern Wisconsin area so I have a lot of people to see. I flew in on the 3rd and visited with my grandmother all afternoon before going to dinner with my aunt.
My aunt had suggested an Italian place, Agio Bistro, near her in Palatine and when I looked on the website they said that most dishes could be accommodated as gluten-free. We called to see if that meant they also had gluten-free pasta and they said yes so that sealed it for us!
Agio Bistro is in a strip mall just south of Palatine Road. It’s actually on South Northwest Highway, which I think is kind of a funny address. Unfortunately parking was kind of an issue in the strip mall. It sounded like that’s a common problem, but there also was a 3rd of July firework show a few blocks away so that possibly made it impossible. We parked in one of the neighboring strip malls and the restaurant said that was fine to do.
They have a nice outdoor patio that’s open to the inside, but unfortunately it was full when we got there.The inside has an upscale interior and the menu seems similarly “upscale” in terms of pasta (with seafood, more elaborate sauces than marinara, etc.) and the meats and seafood. They still had some basic dishes like fettuccine alfredo and that tends to be my go-to when there is gluten-free pasta. Instead I went for something new (but still rather basic) with the pasta bolognese. My aunt and I also got an order of the sausage and peppers to start off and she got the fish special.
The pasta bolognese came out and looked like a very hearty dish. The pasta itself was pretty good although slightly too al dente for my taste. The bolognese sauce was filling and once I got more used to the firm texture of the pasta it all came together very well. The pasta al dente even seemed to make it even more filling and I liked that it was filling but not as heavy as a fettuccine alfredo with the cream sauce.
I liked the sausage and peppers (a good amount of spice and a light marinade) for our starter and it was a great way to keep my hunger at bay until the pasta came (I was pretty hungry). Unfortunately my almost extreme indifference to seafood means that I forgot to take note of what kind of seafood my aunt got with the special. She did say that she really enjoyed it. She also mentioned that sometimes people say the special at restaurants are things the chef wants to get rid of, but that this was definitely not the case with her dish.
I am always glad for a place that accommodates for gluten-free (and seems to be mindful of it). I liked that Agio had a lot of dishes that were more elaborate Italian dishes (beyond spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine, etc.) and that most can be made gluten-free (even though I went for something a little bit more standard). It’s a little on the expensive end in terms of Italian, but a great option nonetheless in the northwest suburbs.
Agio Bistro- 64 South Northwest Highway Palatine, IL