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“Penny wise and pound foolish at Giocco” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Gioco

Gioco
1312 S Wabash Ave, Lbby 1, Chicago, IL 60605-2576 (South Loop)
312-939-3870
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Ranked #284 of 8,489 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $31 - $40
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: South Loop
Cross street: E 13th St.
Transit: Red line train
Description: Gioco pioneered the retail development of the South Loop when it opened in September of 1999. The restaurant has been a mainstay in the neighborhood as other restaurants and stores have opened up over the years. Gioco is located in an historic building built in 1890 and is one of the few remaining buildings in Chicago from that era. The Gioco space features the original old brick and plaster walls, an old wooden walk-in cooler and a walk-in safe built into the wall, used by the Chicago gangsters (Al Capone, Frank Nitti, George "Bugs" Moran and Earl "Hymie" Weiss ) for one of the gambling and/or brothel houses that dominated the area in the early 1900s. Designer Jerry Kleiner designed Gioco restaurant to retain these old world elements and to feature them in his modernization of the space.
Boston MA
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“Penny wise and pound foolish at Giocco”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2014

To be fair, Chicago is a tough, tough town for Italian restaurants to compete -- there's so many truly great Italian restaurants, what might be great in another city is just so-so in Chicago. Gioco had a number of problems, many of which revolved around inconsistent pricing and failing to inform us of prices of items not on the menu.
1) Some of the food was very good. Desserts were disappointing and the pricing was uneven - some food a bargain, and then a very, very small side of vegetables was $8.
2) Our waiter was a little less than fluent in English, which may have compounded the problem. He recommended an appetizer, saying it was similar to a caprese salad. He did not mention the price and we went with it. The appetizer was very good, similar to a caprese salad, but not in price - the salad cost $12, the appetizer was a stunning $27. We certainly believe that the waiter should inform customers if a special is priced well outside the rest of the menu. Few entrees were in that price range.
3) My wife ended up sending back her soup - it was still on the bill, but eventually was taken off.
4) I don't care for potatoes and had them held back from my veal dish. At most restaurants, they would have substituted some vegetable. Instead, I just received a fairly small portion.
5) The wine recommended by the waiter was good and a reasonable value ($42). I ordered a grappa recommended by this same waiter -- $17, not such good value, and no drink menu that would have informed me of the price.
6) This is a pet peeve, not directly under the restaurant's control. When the valet returned the car, they had not removed snow from the rear window, and unbeknown to us, they had turned the headlights off -- definitely annoying, and somewhat dangerous.
7) The chef did come out over the soup and was more defensive than anything.
I wanted to like Gioco, but with so many great Italian restaurant alternatives, I can't see going back.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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105 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    50
    36
    10
    5
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Taylor Ridge, Illinois
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Gioco's Italian Restaurant”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2014

Gioco Italian Restaurant on Wabash, is wonderful. Not only is the food and the wait staff superior, but you get the ambiance of the place. Which by the way was a favorite hangout of Al Capone. If your in Chicago and want a great meal out, try it.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
“Disappointing”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2013

On a recent visit to Chicago I ate at Gioco, which came highly recommended. I was looking forward to a nice meal after a hard day's work but was greatly disappointed. I ordered the Veal Picatta, which was to be served with mashed potatoes. This seemed odd and I asked if I could have a little pasta with it instead. I was informed emphatically that the Chef did not serve veal with pasta. Since I don't dislike mashed potatoes I thought it would be fine. Wrong. My veal came stacked on top of the mashed potatoes, as if it was a piece of fish. The mashed potatoes were cold and the veal mediocre. I should add, upon complaining, they brought tiramisu, which was also disapointing. At least they tried, a little.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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Seattle, WA
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“That was tasty!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013 via mobile

I was staying at the downtown Hilton and walked about 6 blocks to meet business acquaintances. I had the cheese and tomato appetizer, and then the Chilean sea bass with grilled red and orange peppers for the entree. The bass was perfectly cooked. My friend had the grilled chicken brest with musrooms and lightlt garlic mashed potatoes. Great place to eat with excellent service. Nice atmosphere.

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Southern California
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Loved, Loved This Place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

Not only is the food absolutely delicious at this restaurant, but the staff was so friendly and attentive as well. We went here for lunch after my husband graduated from boot camp. He wanted good Italian food, and this place definitely hit the spot. If you are looking for authentic Italian with a welcoming setting, go here!

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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