Salutos is an Italian restaurant located in Gurnee, Illinois. Gurnee is a northern suburb of Chicago, Illinois, located about 30 miles north of the City of Chicago. Gurnee is best known as the location of the popular amusement park, Six Flags Great America.
Salutos is a restaurant that I have dined at many times over a period of years. While I still eat there occasionally, it is not a enjoyable as it used to be, for reasons that are difficult to put into words. One of the things that keeps me coming back is the pesto salad dressing, which is the house specialty.
The Italian Restaurant is surrounded by a parking lot, so finding parking is not usually a problem, unless it is a busy Saturday night. There are a few parking spaces, next to the entrance. reserved for carryout customers. Handicapped parking spaces are located in the corner of he parking lot, so they are somewhat removed from the entrance. There is a slight incline to the door, which people with physical disabilities might find challenging, but it is not a major. barrier to entry.
The building is divided into two main sections, the restaurant and the bar. The bar area is a pleasant room with a fireplace and a loft. Televisions are turned on, so patrons can watch television while eating and/or drinking at the bar. There are a few tables in the bar, so people can eat in the casual atmosphere. The restaurant section offers seating in booths and at tables. The lighting tends to be dim in the restaurant.
In a recent visit, we sat at a table in the restaurant.. The server greeted us and asked for our drink order. Normally, I would order the drink special of the day, which is served in a plastic tumbler, but on this occasion I ordered the house Chianti. My companion ordered the White Zinfandel.
We looked at the menus while waiting for our wines. The prices have gone up in recent years, which is not surprising, but they seem to be a couple of dollars over the area average for a meal. The sandwiches, such as the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich ($7.99), are fairly good values. A house salad can be added for $1.99. Salutos also makes pizza, thin crust and Chicago Style thick crust.
Salutos specializes in fresh, home made pasta dishes. There are a variety of sauces available, including tomato sauces, marinara sauce, Alfredo sauce, creamy vodka sauce, mushroom sauce, Olive oil with garlic and more.
Steak Saluto and Rotolo are two of the House Specialties. Steak Saluto is a beef filet, stuffed with cheese and ham, and covered with a rich tomato wine sauce. Rotolo ($16.95) is made of a sheet of pasta, filled with spinach, cheese and prosciutto, and rolled into a round shape and sliced like a pinwheel. The pasta is covered with the rich Alfredo sauce. The two dishes are available in a combination for $20.25. I ordered the combination, along with a House Salad and a side of Mostocolli with Marinara Sauce. My companion ordered the Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce ($16.25), with a side of Mushroom Soup.
After we placed our orders, the server brought the salad, soup and a basket of garlicky house rolls. The salad, soup and rolls are refillable. The salad of greens, tomatoes, peppers and onions is topped with croutons and covered with pesto dressing. The delicious pesto dressing,made from a secret recipe, is slightly sweet and tangy, The refillable salad comes in a relatively small bowl, with a set of tongs, so diners can take as much salad as they want and put it on their plates. The server will bring another bowl upon request. My companion had the creamy mushroom soup, which she said was excellent. The meal also comes with delicious garlicky white rolls.
The main courses arrived and we knew immediately that we would be taking at least half of the meals home. My dish was a contrast of colors, with the rich tomato sauce on the Steak Saluto next to the cream white Alfredo sauce on the Rotolo. My companion had large pillow of Cheese Ravioli, covered with Marinara sauce.
The slice of Rotolo was covered with creamy Alfredo sauce. While it was delicious, it was not the most heart healthy dish on the menu. The Steak Saluto was a piece of tenderloin, stuffed with cheese and ham and covered with a tomato-wine sauce. I enjoyed the dish, but my companion tasted it and said that she did not like the heavy sauce.
My companion said she enjoyed the Cheese Ravioli, but said it was almost was too cheesy. The large pieces of ravioli were covered with a red tomato sauce.
We did not order appetizers, but Salutos does have a wonderful Artichoke Heart Fondue, which is a cheesy, garlicky appetizer served with slices of toasted rolls. This is not a diet friendly appetizer and beware of the resulting garlic breath.
Salutos also serves dessert, including tiramisu and carrot cake.
Overall, the dinner at Salutos was pleasant and we enjoyed the food.
Salutos is also open for lunch, when the portions are smaller and the proces are lower.
Salutors is located at 7680 Grand Avenue in Gurnee, Illinois 60031. Their phone number is (847) 356-6900.
Popular Chicago area Italian chain restaurants are also located in Gurnee, inlcuding Giordano’s, Uno’s and Lou Malnati’s. For Japanese and sushi, Hayashi is also in Gurnee.