Tucked away on the industrial side of Arlington Heights is Joe & Giuseppe's, an Italian fine dining restaurant that transcends its rough surroundings. Run by a husband-and-wife team, the small space puts a focus on personal attention – one of the pair will often walk around during dinners, chatting and asking about your meal.
The specialty of the house is seafood, and the menu has it in spades. The grigliata appetizer ($12) is heavy on calamari, octopus and shrimp, baked in a balsamic vinegar and served over zucchini and eggplant. Elsewhere on the menu, one can practically close their eyes and point and land on a seafood offering, such as the lobster ravioli ($12) or the tilapia alla siciliana, with garlic, sun-dried tomato and capers.
The open, handsome space doesn't win any style awards, but it is comfortable and friendly here. The proprietors are quite proud of their wine list. Ask your server, or the owners, for a recommendation on a bottle, and they'll gladly make one.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman