Whenever I’m in the mood for Italian Food, Leona’s is where I go. I grew up eating Leona’s because there was a location a few blocks from our home, so I’ve been going to there for years. Recently, I learned that after 50 years the restaurant is under new ownership and with new ownership sometimes comes a new menu. I was a bit skeptical because I’ve grown so attached to the old menu. So last week, I headed to the Rogers Park location to see what was new with one of my favorite Italian Restaurants.
As soon as we arrived at the tasting we sampled the Antipasto salad. It contained Romaine lettuce, Genoa Salami, cucumber, red pepper, artichokes, pasta, red cabbage, giardiniera and mozzarella cheese tossed with our spicy Italian dressing. The traditional salad was very tasty and I’m happy to report nothing much had changed there.
After the salad we were served an Italian Beef sandwich, this is a new item for Leona’s and it was a major hit at my table. I loved how they paired the roast beef with Kick Ass Garlic Bread, the dish was so full of flavor. It was simply delicious!
Next on the menu was the Romano Chicken Breast sandwich, which was probably my favorite of the night. This chicken breast was once again placed on top of their infamous Kick Ass Garlic Bread, it was amazing! I usually don’t head to Leona’s for a sandwich but this one has definitely changed my mind.
Next up we got a chance to sample the Asparagus & Grana Padano Cheese Ravioli, Veal & Portobello Mushroom Ravioli as well as the Shrimp and Basil Ravioli. While these dishes weren’t bad they aren’t synonymous with the Leona’s that I’m used to so maybe it will take time to get used to change. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great to me or the people at my table.
I don’t want to say the dishes were too Fancy for Leona’s but it’s very different from the pizza, burgers and pasta dishes that one usually gets at Leona’s. Even with the change, I’m glad to see that they kept fan favorites such as the Five Cheese Lasagna and Fettucini Alfredo.I was surprised to find out that Leona’s got rid of the wedge fries, shrimp dishes and cheese sticks that they are known for. While I’m loving the addition of the sandwiches options, I think Leona’s need to get back to the basics that made them popular in the first place. Since I realize Leona’s is under new ownership it will take them a while to figure out what works and what doesn’t, I will be glad when they bring back some of my favorites that they got rid. In the meantime I will stop in to try the new sandwiches that I’ve fallen in love with.