Chicago >Food & Dining > Tocco
1266 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6062241.904759 -87.668853
Tuesday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Wednesday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Thursday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Friday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Saturday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Sunday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Neighborhoods: West Side, Wicker Park
Rude and Unfair Management – I went to Tocco over the weekend and while the dining experience was pleasant initially, the manager (tall, lighter hair, middle aged) was extremely RUDE and her attitude ruined the experience. Do not attempt to use a gift certificate here on the weekend, even if it doesn't say you can't use it. While some certificates did say they couldn't be used on weekends, the certificate value we had did not have this stipulation. So, although we had a certificate that should have been valid the night we dined here, the manager refused to honor it and refused to take any blame or apologize for the mix-up when we spoke privately with her about it. Rather than handling the situation like a mature adult and at least meeting us half-way with the discount if she couldn't honor the full amount, the manager immaturely played the blame game, and had the nerve to come back to us a few minutes later and argue an already settled issue in front of the entire restaurant. I was shocked at her behavior and taken aback at her statement that it was our privilege to use the certificate another night (impossible since we were visiting during the weekend). It was extremely condescending, and not at all how diners here should be treated.
Besides the awful experience with the restaurant manager, the beginning of the dining experience was nice and uneventful. I liked the video of Italian scenes projected on the wall and service from our waitress was good.
As far as food, the lasagna was excellent, as was the butternut squash ravioli in brown butter sauce. I did not like the spaghetti carbonara. I thought it was very bland compared to other restaurants.
Very Disapointting – Wow can service kill an experience. Some of staff at Tocco are downright pretentious, arrogant, and unaccommodating. As I read through the other reviews here I can clearly see that this was not just my experience as others have echoed the same concerns. The first thing I will say is do not trust them to value any type of promotion they may run or which you may heard of for this restaurant. These people think that they are the larger than life and completely disregard customer consideration or satisfaction. The food portions are also on the small side and isn't anything which you couldn't get at another decent Italian restaurant (lasagna was decent and the pasta carbonara was pretty bad) . To top things off you had to watch the bartending staff grope the waiters every five minutes and the "manager" sit drunk at the bar. So much for class. If you're going to be pretentious, at least try to step up your game a bit Tocco.
Awful Service – I hate to say that I cannot recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for an enjoyable dining experience in Chicago. I went here last night with friends and family and was really looking forward to trying something new. While the food was decent and our waitress was nice, we had the most awful experience with the manager (tall, blonde, kind of old) of the restaurant, making me want to avoid this place like the plague. All we tried to do was a use a gift certificate we received for that night for $50 and she told us that we were not allowed to use this on Friday nights. Nowhere on the certificate did it say anything about this stipulation. When I brought this up she started yelling at me and voided herself of all responsibility saying that it was MY PRIVLEDGE that I could use that certificate any of the other days of the week, just not that night. To put the cherry on top, once I had understood that she wasn’t going to change anything and went ahead and paid the bill (our waitress apologized to us for her rudeness), she came over to our table to continue the argument in front of the entire party and restaurant! I was completely embarrassed and never had been treated so poorly at a restaurant in my life, especially one where I spent a significant sum. Even after I told her that I was done and began getting up to leave, she continued to speak down to me and degrade me there in the middle of the restaurant. Given I felt terrible for the people at my table and the surrounding ones we just got up and left since we already paid the bill but she completely ruined this restaurant and any type of good feeling that I may have had during this meal. Never was anything offered to remedy the situation. I’m still a little in shock from this despicable service experience. Please do not support restaurants that are run by jerks like this, there are so many great dining options in Chicago that you will miss out on anything by skipping a night here.
The B-E-S-T Italian restaurant ever! Period. – It is simple: this is the best Italian restaurant I have ever tried, apart from my mother's cuisine.
I am Italian and I lived in Paris, NYC, London: hands down, the best Italian restaurant I've ever tried outside of Italy.
Excellent value. Amazing pasta. – As we arrived at Tocco at 8:28 PM for our 8:30 reservation, we were told that things would take 20 minutes since they were “waiting” for a few tables. Not a good start. But before we could even take a sip of our first round, we were seated and on our way to the tastiest Italian dinner we’ve had in a while.
The chef/owner of Tocco is not new on the scene. His Folia restaurant in the market district was one of the most affordable and tasty Italian meals in the city, occupying that rare nook of the Italian spectrum between La Scarola and Spiaggia. And with Tocco, he does it again.
For some reason, Italian restaurants have, over the years, become caricatures of themselves. Giant portions, overdoses of garlic, oceans of tomato sauce, and pasta pasta pasta. Fine-dining Italian was a contradiction in terms for those unfamiliar with the potential of a Spiaggia but even mid-priced restaurants like Topo Gigio kept the caricature alive and pretended to be fancy just by increasing prices. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.
How refreshing it then is to taste some very mainstream Italian dishes and be overwhelmed by their uniqueness. Pizza, ravioli and pasta may not sound like the makings of a memorable meal but Tocco did a truly amazing job with them. The Pomodorini pizza was as good as any Folia did and at budget-busting $16, the most expensive item of the night. It was pretty big though. Enough to stuff 2 normal people, just not us. And speaking of stuffed, the ravioli had a mix of ground seafood including crab, shrimp and probably whatever else was past its prime on refrigerator shelves. But you know what? It was great. When you order a seafood ravioli, you had better expect it to taste mildly fishy and here it only added to the flavor. Despite all this delicacy, the loudest applause must be bestowed upon the Pappard Bisamzio pasta. Steaming hot, it was prepared in a tomato/cream sauce that must have been the best ratio of tomato to cream I’ve ever tasted. Here was one dish that we could have eaten 5 times over but as before mentioned, Maggiano’s was never in the building.
In closing I would like to thank the Tocco management for not gouging their customers on drinks. A Martini these days can cost anywhere from 12 which is somewhat inappropriate, to 18 dollars which is the pinnacle of greed. Points then to a restaurant that still charges $10. It will not be forgotten. Unless, of course, I have a dozen of them.
Follia gets a hip sibling, where pizzas fired in a wood burning oven and Italian classics steal the show. – This is no old-school pizzeria, though the wood-burning oven turns out crisp-crusted pizzas made with quality ingredients. One peek at the black, white and hot pink-splashed dining room with its slim, curvaceous white chairs and matching tables shows where the owner's design sensibility lie. The angular, tiled bar--offset by space-age stools--is even christened with bubble-like installations. Still, the classics are in effect; house-made pastas crowned with slow-simmered sauces, ragu-topped polenta and chicken Parm prove there's no pretension. Tables of two evidence its date potential, one where you won't walk out having spent the week's paycheck.
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