Chicago >Food & Dining > Gioco
1312 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6060541.865265 -87.625953
Neighborhoods: Central, Near South Side
Excellent Experience – 2nd time here in two years. Both times were fantastic. Food, service and setting are outstanding. We have decided to make this a regular stop when we're in Chicago.
BEWARE – I was here recently with family and the food was fine. I might be giving Gioco a better review if this post was prompted by food alone (see other posts for rave reviews of the Italian cuisine). My experience was ruined when my purse was stolen right out from under my feet (literally). I was sitting in the back room at one of the large round tables with my purse at my feet. I avoided hanging it on the back of my chair to prevent this very thing from happening. The meal was nice, as stated above, and I checked my purse after dessert to check the time on my phone. Within a matter of seconds my purse, with my wallet, phone, etc., was gone. I was seated at my chair the entire time (as were the five other people I was dining with) and didn't notice any suspicious activity around me. I alerted the staff to the fact that my purse was missing and their response was rather passive and disappointing. They had an attitude of disbelief and aside from a very cursory check around the premises, and use of the house phone to call the police, they really didn't do anything to mitigate the situation. Meanwhile my credit cards were being used at area gas stations (as later revealed on my fraud report).
THIS POST IS A WARNING to all future patrons. If you choose to dine at Gioco, watch your purses/wallets! The theft was so swift it was seemingly the work of a pro who will probably strike again. Be safe!
I think we're done w/ Gioco – We've been to Gioco numerous times, and last night was our last. I've had better pasta from Trader Joes. The chefs antipasto choice plate was a joke-who puts two piles of speck and prosciutto on a plate with piles of whatever with it and calls it an appetizer? The other meals were average. I had a hard time deciding on what to get-just wanted a simple nice tasty meal. the veal has prosciutto and provolone cheese w/ other stuff on it-how about just a nice veal lemon? The menu is too "heavy" for us. Dessert-we had the three gelato's-boooring. could've had that at home and save my paycheck. Would've been nice with some wafer-thin dark chocolate cookies with it, but thanks for the mint sprig. Sorry Gioco-that's the last....
Nice Ambiance, great food – Was visiting from out of town back in 2007 and was taken here by some good friends. The ambiance was nice, and the historic aspect of being a former speak-easy for the Al Capone crew created interest. Our guests ordered for us. We started with a plate of the bolognese. Outstanding, likely the best bolognese my wife and I have ever had. No joke. The secondi platter was a porter house steak, sliced up for the table. Veggies and such on the side. Again, the steak was unreal. One of the better meals I've ever had. A five star visit for sure. We visited again in 2008... however the restaurant didn't come close to delivering. Still, a 3-star, but the bolognese just didn't have the same flavor and the porter house was fatty. None-the-less, we're dropping the 4-star bomb on this place due to the great great experience from the first time around.
Very tasteful food, very friendly service and alot of smoke from the kitchen – Last night, 7pm, we went to get pizzas, with no reservation and a convention in town, they were able to seat the two of us, very quickly I might add. No hassels from the hostess, just a friendly smile and the way to our table. Water, bread w/ super mellow olive oil and parmesan cheese quickly adored the table. Our waitstaffer told us about the specials of the day and was very nice. Watching her at other tables showed us she was very nice to everybody. Our carpacio salad was served to us very soon after we ordered. The salad was super!! The super thinly sliced rare beef was so soft it melted in your mouth. Crisp fresh 'rouggala' greens were nice and sweet. With the cheese,greens and sauce the salad came so nicely together. Well, the cappers were on the very salty side. But that was so minor because there probably were only 4 cappers on the plate. So far so good. Thin crust pizzas were next! Gee, what a bargin!! They had to be 12 inches across and the ingredients, the pizzas were created w/, fanatastic! One mushroom and one prosciutto, fresh everything, oh so good. They were very good. We each took 1/2 of our pies home. OK....the smoke from the kitchen. What's that about? Well we were seated on the level that the bar was and the kitchen was down one level, it is an open kitchen. The smoke from the cook staff, when they "flamed up" something in the pans overywhelmed the vent fans (I'm guessing) above the stoves which then rose up to the ceiling and then through the arched openings in the wall between the two levels to our level and filled the room. At times my eyes were watering from the smoke. You could see the smoke billowing from the kitchen it was that thick. The smoke did not have a bad smell to it, quite the contrary, a pleasent flavor of your backyard/deck grill. But still alot of smoke. Waitstaff was very attentive and nice. We'd definitely go back again. No we don't work there, we just live in the cily of Chicago. Enjoy as we did.
Didn't live up to its hype – We read the reviews here, so we went in with high expectations. I get the feeling some of these may be false reviews. Friendly valet out front. Very unfriendly hostesses, though. They were too busy chatting to pay attention to us. Ugh! We requested a romantic table. When we got there, the joint was about a fourth full. They sat us in front of the open kitchen, next to a party of eight and a party of twenty. NOT ROMANTIC! Why did they seat us there when so many other tables were open, especially when we requested something quiet? We decided to make the most of it. The waitress was good, but wearing her purse over her shoulder. That was unprofessional. It made us feel like she would walk out the door at any moment, like we were holding her up from leaving. We had to ask for bread. Had to ask for more bread. They were good about keeping our glasses full, though. His dish looked, smelled, and tasted like hamburger helper. My filet was very rare, but I ordered medium. They insisted on taking it back. They had it so long he finished his dinner by the time they returned. I cut into it and they hadn't cooked it more at all. It was still rare. We gave up, had them pack my food, so I could nuke it later, and headed off to the ballet. This place is very average. For the money, I can think of about 100 other places with much better service and a lot better food. Don't bother!
We eat here often, always have a good experience – Despite our favorite chef Fred Ramos leaving Gioco, we still enjoy our experiences here and the food is always excellent. Sunday we dined there for Easter Brunch and had a wonderful meal for an amazing price. If you are looking for a nice Italian dining experience for a great price, give Gioco a try.
Quite nice... service was good – When I 1st arrived, I waited for 2 minutes since the hostess was busy "yacking" on the phone. i had a reservation and there was a couple waiting impatiently before me. Finally another waitress (Indian looking) came and asked if I had been helped and I said no. She quickly sat the 1st couple and then seated me. She never smiled and she looked as if she wanted to go home. The ambiance was nice, a little bit noisy but not overbearing. Warm tasty bread was delivered immediately with rosemary scented olive oil. It was finished quickly and then Steven the waiter came over and it was a treat from then on. He made a few suggestions which were right on the money. 1st the wine, he recommended the riesling from Washington State and it was delicious. It was not overly dry, and had a snall sweetness to it. I normally drink reds (merlot, pinot noir and cabs) but this was a different and delicious wine. Appetizer was fried baby eggplant with some riccotta...delicous. Also had oven baked tomatoes with mozzarella, again very fresh and delicious. The entree was a suggestion; seared ahi tuna with a risotto spinach and mushroom.. oh my.. Desert was cheesecake and crume brulee. I had a terrific experience and would return. Never felt rushed and everything seemed timed perfectly. One of the managers helped out a couple of times and was quite funny! As i left, the restaurant was crowded and there were people even eating at the bar. Nice place....
Hipster Italian – This is my favorite Italian restaurant in the South Loop area, and I am a tough judge when it comes to Italian food because I am Italian and nothing compares to Grandpa's Sicilian cooking! However, Gioco always excites my taste buds and over loads my stomach! This place is always packed so make sure you make reservations or dine early if not. The menu is always changing which sometimes is disappointing because I want to the same dish as last time, but it forces you to try something new and you'll never be unsatisfied with the dishes. The pasta is handmade, the salads are exceptional with presentation and fresh cheeses. The mussels appetizer is in a spicy lite tomato based sauce and the fried calamari is cooked just right with just enough breading so you don't get full. The wine list is amazing, and the staff always suggests the right wine. The atmosphere is relaxing, the staff is young vibrant and friendly, they allow you to take your time and enjoy your dinning experience. The seating can accommodate any group, large or small. I prefer to sit by the kitchen so you can see the chefs cooking and take a seek peek at dishes to help you decide. The back of the restaurant does get hot and so does it by the hot kitchen, however do not sit by the front of the restaurant in the winter, because the door never stays closed for too long with people constantly coming in to dine or drink at the bar. This is a great place to dine with a large group of people, I would suggest using Gioco for any type of celebration ranging from birthday to anniversaries, or graduations to wedding proposals!
Romantic – This is a lovely place to have a quality meal . Expose brick and merlot colors through out the restaurant create a perfect setting for a romantic night out . The food is very fresh and flavorful. They also offer a decent wine list . Dessert is not to be missed.
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