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“excellent Italian; great meatballs special”
Review of Francesca's North

Francesca's North
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Ranked #18 of 118 Restaurants in Northbrook
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Families with children, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Shermer
Transit: Just two blocks from Metra's Northbrook station
USA
Level Contributor
120 reviews
104 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“excellent Italian; great meatballs special”
Reviewed February 18, 2012

We enjoyed a very nice family dinner here while passing through town, in line with the many Francesca locations through the Illinois area. The meal was $86 including tip for four persons, much of which we recapped in bread and olive oil.

  • Visited December 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Sweetsourtravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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69 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    24
    28
    10
    5
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Skokie, Illinois
Level Contributor
153 reviews
141 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Perfect V-Day Dinner”
Reviewed February 15, 2012

On Valentine's Day, one of the busiest dining-out occasions of the year, what restaurant doesn't try to put its best foot forward? Sometimes they trip and end up sticking their proverbial foot in the diner's mouth. Happily, this did not happen to us at Francesca's North!

The missus and I enjoyed a fabulous evening, which began on a high note when the hostess seated us 5 minutes ahead of our reservation time. The food and service exceeded our expectations. Unlike the fancy, fussy dishes in vogue at high-end Italian eateries, Francesca's keeps things simple, using ultra-fresh and high-quality ingredients. Our entrees arrived piping-hot and the portions were generous. The Rigatoni del Pastore could have used a smidgeon more garlic. Accompanying our entrees was a mound of freshly-grated Parmesan on the side.

Profiteroles were prepared to order and filled with vanilla gelato only at the last minute so that the pastry shells remained crisp and warm. We love such attention to detail.

  • Visited February 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank FoodFight101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
87 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Excellent Food and Service”
Reviewed January 5, 2012

This was our second trip to Francescas North in Northbrook. The food was outstanding and the service top notch. I had the Salmon with spinach, tomato and capers. Perfection ! Mine was so good, I don't remember what my table mates had. Maybe it was the bottle of Malbec that clouds my memory. The place is a little noisy, but not cause for distraction. We will definitely be back many times.

  • Visited December 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Jacole1946
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
26 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“A Mediocre Experience, Won't Return”
Reviewed November 6, 2011

Overall, the food at Francesca's North was average, if not a bit below average. Every time we try a new Italian restaurant, we like to order apps, mains, dessert, a glass of wine, and a cup of coffee, just to get a well-rounded impression of their food. So, that's what we did.

Right off the bat, we were excited to see that they change their menu, as we were handed photocopies of a hand-written menu. We thought that might be a good sign that the food would be fresh and flavorful.

We started with a bowl of minestrone soup and the caprese salad. The soup lacked flavor, and reminded me of canned minestrone, I hate to say. The basil on the caprese salad was fresh, but the mozzarella was chewy and tasted as if it had been left out of liquid for a long while. The tomatoes weren't quite ripe, so they worked together to make a disappointing combination.

For our mains, I had a rigatoni with chicken and porcini mushrooms. My husband ordered off menu because all of the current dishes on the menu were made with cream-based sauces and only two had a protein in them. The waitress suggested linguine with sausage and marinara sauce. He confirmed that it would be a basic marinara, she said yes, so he went for it. The chicken in my rigatoni was so overcooked I was shocked they let it out of the kitchen. The rigatoni was well-cooked, and the mushroom sauce had a decent flavor, but the tough chicken really ruined the dish. My husband's dish came out with a cream-based tomato sauce, and the sausage was only okay. It tasted overwhelmingly of pepper, so the flavor was just a bit off. The portions were enormous, and it did seem shameful to waste so much food.

We ordered the flourless molten chocolate cake for dessert, and that was the best food item we had of the entire meal. It came with fresh strawberries, which were not good enough to finish. The cake itself was good, as was the raspberry sauce that adorned it.

I ordered a late after dinner, and it tasted as if the coffee had been sitting around in the pot for an hour too long.

The high point of the experience was the service. Our waitress was wonderful, as was everyone else with whom we came into contact. It's a shame that great service can't make up for blah food.

The atmosphere was really upbeat and fun. From the outside, Francesca's is located in a strip mall, and it looked deserted as we approached it. We were pleasantly surprised to see it was very crowded at the bar and in the dining room. The interior is nice, and almost makes you forget you're in a strip mall restaurant.

Overall, we won't be going back. With Rosebud's new location in Deerfield, there's really no reason to settle for a mediocre meal at Francesca's North.

  • Visited November 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Haven17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
Level Contributor
274 reviews
131 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
“Still nailing it”
Reviewed October 31, 2011

We used to be regulars here from the time it 1st opened as we live nearby. Over the years more places have finally opened up in the area so we go there less often now. But when we do go, it is terrific nearly all of the time. We went there last Sat night with another couple and we all thought the food & service were top-notch, plus the crowd and the energy is perfect for date night. We need to go here more often like the old days!

  • Visited October 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank kgems1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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