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Baldinelli serves some of the best Italian food in the Chicago suburbs
The Chicago area is renowned for many things, including a huge number of fine Italian eateries. One of my favorites, and perhaps unknown to many Chicagoans, is Hindsale’s oldest pizzeria – Baldinelli Italian Eatery. For over 25 years, this family-owned restaurant has been serving up some of the finest and freshest Italian food in the Chicago area.
Comfortable, relaxed, and friendly – that is what you can expect when you venture into Baldinelli located in downtown Hinsdale at 114 S. Washington Street. The ambiance is casual and designed to make you feel as though you are have found your “neighborhood spot” for food, conversation, and fun. Tom and Lori Distasio have created a place that truly welcomes anyone as though you have been invited into their kitchen and they are both on hand, along with their kids, to treat you like a welcome guest.
The true star of the restaurant, besides the friendly staff, is the extensive menu. Tom and Lori have a clear and unwavering focus on freshness. As much as possible, everything is sourced locally and they pride themselves on making as many things as possible in-house. I was recently invited to bring a friend to sample some of Baldinelli’s many superb offerings. We both left wishing that we lived in Hinsdale because we would both be back as often as possible. Take my advice, make a special trip to try this one out.
Baldinelli has a large and eclectic menu of soup and salad, pasta dinners, broasted chicken, and homemade sandwiches (dogs, burgers, subs, wraps). Our focus for the visit, however, was on appetizers, pizza, and dessert. As a transplant from the Deep South, I had never heard of a Bosco Stick, so I decided to order them just to find out what they were. Wow! If you are a fan of bread and cheese, be sure to try this one out. They sprinkle them with freshly grated parmesan and provide fresh dipping sauce. The Fried Zucchini was another surprise. These are not the traditional mushy zucchini sticks. Rather, they slice fresh zucchini into rounds, breaded, and then deep fry them lightly enough so that the freshness still comes through. I know it’s odd to praise such a “standard” menu item, but these were truly excellent.
The pizza. Aah. The pizza! Cucinato alla perfezione e molto delizioso!
Both my guest and I agreed that Baldinelli serves up some of the best pizza either of us has tasted in a long, long time – and they seem to have “something for everyone” including thin crust, deep dish, stuffed crust and brick oven along with whole wheat and gluten-free options.
The Specialty Pizzas offer some intriguing combinations including the following:
- Baldinelli Favorite – meatball, spinach, garlic, mushroom
- Chicken Blast – chicken, onion, choice of sauce
- Dirti Kirti – onion, spinach, black olive, basil, oregano, extra sauce
- The Uncle Nicky – garlic, sausage, pepperoni – this was the one we tried, and we loved it. The fresh garlic certainly shines through.
The 12” brick oven pizzas offer the most flexibility. We crafted one with spinach, artichoke, and garlic with a sauce of Alta Cucina tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Excuse my overuse of the word “fresh” but there’s no other way to describe this one! I love pizza when all the flavors blend yet still retain their individual character. Baldinelli excels at crafting superb pizzas with layered flavors. Take a look at some of your options if you craft your own:
- Ingredients: spinach, prosciutto, chicken, green pepper, red onion, basil, black olive, artichoke, tomato, garlic, mushroom, pepperoni, sausage
- Cheese Choice: provolone, mozzarella, fresh mozzarella
- Sauce Choice: Alta Cucina tomatoes, pizza sauce, olive oil, pesto
Save room for dessert! Like everything else on the menu, the desserts are freshly-prepared including Tiramisu, Cannoli, and Homemade Chocolate Cake. While I am sure those are superb, for my money you cannot pass up the Homemade Gelato and the Homemade Italian Ice. Take a moment to browse the cases and ask for samples. It will be difficult to decide what you want since all of them are stellar. My guest opted for a Mixed Berry Gelato while I stayed traditional and had the Lemon Italian Ice. Deliziosa!
Baldinelli is located at 114 S. Washington Street in Hinsdale, IL. They are open Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Visit their website or call (630) 654-4600 for more information. You can also follow their social media conversations on Facebook and Twitter.