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“Ahhhhuthentic”

Francesco's Hole In The Wall
Ranked #3 of 119 Restaurants in Northbrook
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$0 - US$30
Cuisines: French, Italian
Dining options: Lunch
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Ahhhhuthentic”
Reviewed 3 February 2014

When I stopped for lunch, I had no idea what a lovely lunch it was to be. Great food, friendly ambiance. It is an Italian lover's dream. I will make this a regular stop.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Road_rookie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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168 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    114
    35
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    5
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
52 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Far Below Expectations in Area With Great Italian Options”
Reviewed 28 December 2013

Perhaps the expectations that we came in with were too high, but we were disappointed by our first (and quite possibly ONLY) visit to Francesco's this evening. The visit got off to a bad start when we were forced to wait 25 minutes for a table which we had already "reserved" in advance and had even called to confirm about 20 minutes prior to our arrival. During this wait, we were crowded into a tiny space with many other people similarly waiting, and we watched as multiple couples that arrived after us were seated before us (though that may be because we had three in our group).

Finally, arriving in the dining space, we found the restaurant to be entirely overcrowded and uncomfortable. The eating area itself is very small with almost no space for patrons and waiters to pass between the tables. The result is constantly feeling like you have to tuck in your shoulders and being unable to hear the other people in your own group seated directly around you. The ONE menu in the entire restaurant is written on a wall at the back of the room and is very difficult to read unless you're directly in front of it due both to the small size of the print and the slanted angle at which it is written. I found myself craning my neck around to read it (I was positioned in the opposite direction and there was literally no space to turn the chair itself) and squinting.

The service was unsatisfactory. Although we have no complaints about the waitress, there is a general feeling that this is an "insider" establishment, and if you're not a regular here, you are unwelcome. This is partially due to the fact that the owner makes his way around the restaurant and literally only stops to inquire about the experience of those patrons who he clearly knows. He even serves some himself. I can only imagine that those are the people who have written all the positive reviews here on TripAdvisor. If you have not been here before, however, than you should expect to feel like an "outsider."

Finally, the food was good but not exceptional. We ordered a salad to start off, which was standard. I would not recommend ordering the meats that are optional on the salad, however. They tasted like packaged slices you would buy at the supermarket. The veal osso buco was very tender and delicious but also INCREDIBLY fatty. The grilled octopus was also tasty and very tender as well but FAR over-salted. The spinach ravioli was awful. When I first tried it, the first thing I thought was, "this tastes like frozen food." The wine list was standard, and we were pleased with our selections. Finally, the buttered garlic bread served with the dinner is truly out of this world.

The fact that the bread was the best part of our entire experience should say something about this restaurant. We waited 25 min when we had a reservation, were made to feel like outsiders in a far over-crowded and uncomfortable room, and the food was only "good." The North Shore of Chicago has many outstanding Italian restaurants. This one is only average.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank globe-trotter_2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Northfield, Illinois
Level Contributor
30 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fantastic Food!”
Reviewed 21 December 2013 via mobile

What an amazing evening my wife and I had! From the baked mozzarella to the delightful tomatoes, cucumber and blue cheese salad; it was fantastic. Our waitress Ellen was so helpful and non rushing. She let us enjoy our time together. When it came time to order, our questions were answered and well received. The entrees were superb! As a matter of fact, this may become our new weekly favorite. We have lived less then two miles from this place for all our lives, and tried it for the first time a week ago. Boy have we missed out!!! We will be back. Cheers to all who get to enjoy this fantastic place!!!

Helpful?
Thank Cheerstogood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michigan
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“This Hole in the Wall is for Foodies!”
Reviewed 24 November 2013

We selected this restaurant based on comments found on TripAdvisor, and were very pleased with the results. We arrived early, and were greeted by the owner as we entered. The wait staff was very attentive, as was the owner. The food was excellent! The wine selection was sufficient. Dessert, though hardly needed, was too good to pass up. The place is small, so getting there early is important, but don't let the small size mislead you--this is an excellent place to eat. The food is as good as I've encountered anywhere.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank drsm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mundelein, Illinois
Level Contributor
37 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“An Elegant "hole in the wall"!”
Reviewed 14 November 2013

Wanting excellent food, service and atmosphere for my world traveled out-of-town-friends, I chose Francesco's. White table cloths and the warm glow add to its lovely, enchanting ambiance. A place to romance, to chat, to sip red wine and linger. Francesco's is comfortable and inviting. How wonderful each guest is paid a visit by the owner and kindly attended to by waitstaff and bus crew. It's teamwork, and they show it well. What about the food? Oh so mmmmmmm. :) Find the changing-daily-menu on a tall white board that hangs on the wall offering variety to satisfy all.
Be prepared to wait though. Francesco's is popular with locals and they don't take reservations. Wait it out with a glass of wine or a martini! It's worth it!

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Jenn B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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