Cucina Bella: The Go-to Place for Italian Food


By Mady Borst

I admired the red and yellow hues from the stained-glass windows as they shined onto the brick walls. I cherished every bite I took of my authentic, savory meal, and enjoyed the Italian music playing in the background of each family and friend’s conversation. It’s no wonder why Cucina Bella was voted Best Italian Restaurant in McHenry County for this year’s Best of the Fox. The restaurant brings people together with their unforgettable Italian cuisine and cozy environment.


Cucina Bella is located on South Main St. in downtown Algonquin, so it is a convenient distance for going on a date or having a special night out with friends. South Main St. is under heavy construction, so I had some difficulty getting to the restaurant, but my dining experience made the drive worth it.


My friend and I arrived minutes after 4 p.m., which is when Cucina Bella opens. We received warm greetings the moment we walked in, and were sat at a spacious table near the mesmerizing stained glass windows. The waitress immediately served us a loaf of bread, complimented by an olive oil dip. Refills on bread were free, so I was in for a wonderful carb overload.


As I stuffed my mouth with bread, I looked over the menu, which has numerous options. I had to choose between soups, salads, pasta with ten sauce options, chicken, fish, and other Italian classics, like lasagna. Cucina Bella is very flexible, providing a separate gluten-free menu for customers.


I decided to personalize my own pasta, and chose penne noodles with vodka sauce. My friend ordered chicken Parmigiana, better known as chicken Parmesan. A soup or salad comes with each entree, so we both ordered pasta e fagioli, which is a soup composed of vegetables, beans, and pasta.


The soup was out just a few minutes after ordering, and it was hot, but absolutely delicious. In around half an hour, our entrees were served to us, and I was pleasantly shocked by what I saw. My pasta dish looked like enough to satisfy me for three meals, and it was the prettiest pasta that I have seen in my entire life.


The flavors of the vodka sauce immediately sprung around in my mouth after I took a bite. The creamy and cheesy taste of the sauce was delightful, and the noodles were cooked perfectly. I was overjoyed knowing that Cucina Bella sold their selection of sauces, so I could bring the wonderful Italian taste back home to my family.

I tasted the chicken Parmesan, and it surely did not disappoint. I am not a big fan of chicken, but the flavor combination in the breading of the dish made it near impossible to stop eating, but I had to stop after realizing I was eating most of my friend’s food.

I got through a little less than half of my dish before I attained a level of fullness that I had not reached in a while. Of course, after the bread, soup, and pasta, there was no way I could have dessert. I did take a look at the dessert menu, and there are many tempting options, including lava cake and cheesecake. By the way, I would not advise ordering an appetizer, because there will not be room in your stomach for a main dish.


The check was on the pricier side for two people, but I think that unlimited bread, large entrees with soup, and memorable experiences with loved ones in a warm and comfortable environment- for under $40- is money well spent. If Italian food lovers have not dined at Cucina Bella, they have not truly experienced the ultimate Italian cuisine.