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“Dinner at Piccolo Sogno” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Piccolo Sogno

Piccolo Sogno
Ranked #73 of 9,467 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $40
Cuisines: Italian, Mediterranean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Business meetings, Families with children, Special occasions, Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Valet Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: West Loop
Cross street: Grand
Transit: CTA Blue Line & Grand Bus
boston, ma
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Dinner at Piccolo Sogno”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 28, 2013

My family and I have been many times over the years, often in the summer, when we can sit outside and enjoy Piccolo Sogno’s fabulous patio. It is one of the few outdoor dining places that allows you to make reservations, so that is a big plus for a family that really likes to sit outside. We are guilty of forgetting about Piccolo Sogno in the winter mainly because the restaurant isn’t really that close to anything else and we don’t have the patio drawing us in. However, I am happy that we were able to enjoy a great meal there during a cold January night. We enjoyed: 1) Insalata Di Pere 2) Griglia Mista and 3) Prosciutto di Parma for appetizers and loved them all. Then we got: 1) a special mushroom and black truffle risotto 2) Spaghetti Neri “Fruitti Di Mare.” 3) Pappardelle con Cinghiale 4) Anatra Arrosto and thought these were all delicious.

For my full write-up, please visit my blog: http://youngfoodies.com/dinner-at-piccolo-sogno/

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank ncigirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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419 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    276
    102
    21
    12
    8
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
50 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Alright, But Below Expectations”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 9, 2013

My wife and I finally made it to Piccolo Sogno (Italian for little dream) for our first time; I had heard a lot about this venue from peers and had really looked forward to our meal. While the food and overall experience were decent, I am afraid it fell short of expectations and for me was just not a special or upscale experience. Certainly not bad by any means, but I have enjoyed other Italian venues in the city at equal or even a lower price point (Balena would be my top pick in this range).

Piccolo Sogno has a nice space with exposed brick walls, white linen table clothes and dark lighting to set the mood (though makes reading the menu - especially the wine list - a bit of a challenge). For warmer months there is a nice outdoor space. There is a small parking lot ($6 fee) and the Halsted bus will drop you within a stone's throw. The biggest negative ambiance wise is the tables (especially the two tops) are "fun sized" and spaced very close together; this definitely detracts from an otherwise upscale, romantic ambiance and at times it was hard to maneuver because table space was at more of a premium than land in Manhattan.

Service was generally positive; not the most attentive and friendly service I have experienced by any means, but no complaints. We were not pushed to over order when we asked for advice on how much to order, pacing was adequate, and silverware was replaced after each course. Perhaps the only knock on service was it seemed as though the busboy would start hovering as we would be nearing the end of each course and would swoop in like a vulture the split second we scooped up the last full bite.

Piccolo Sogno has a full bar and a vast wine list with most wines falling in the $8 to $12 range (per glass) or $30 to $70 range (for the bottle). As I am not very familiar with Italian wines I opted for one of the lesser priced Pinot Nero (Italian for Pinot Noir) - our choice of wines when dining out and ordering by-the-bottle as it tends to pair well with most foods. While it was nice so many wines were inexpensive, unfortunately the wine tasted just that - inexpensive with a coppery aftertaste. If you are not familiar with wines it may be best to order by the glass so you do not put all your eggs in one basket.

The food was the biggest disappointment of the night. Based on feedback I had received I was expecting my meal to rival the best Italian venues I have frequented and it was no better (perhaps even a step below) chain venues such as Mia Francescas and Maggianos. For my appetizer I had the Griglia Mista (grilled calamari, shrimp and octopus with arugula and caper & lemon infused olive oil). This was not a good start; the octopus was overcooked (it had a bit of a rubbery texture and was not at all tender as properly cooked octopus should be) and surprisingly had a fishy aftertaste (I had not previously experienced that with octopus); the calamari was bland with the shrimp being the only tasty portion of the first course. There was a bread basket with breadsticks and two different breads and olive oil already tableside; the bread was decent, but nothing to write home about. We were rather starving and the basket was automatically replenished when it was low.

Next my wife and I split a pasta (one of the specials of the day); the pasta featured mushrooms, shaved black truffle, parmesan and ricotta cheeses. The pasta was well cooked and this dish was the star of the night; great balance of flavors with nothing overpowering the other components. My entree was the half roasted duck with fennel sausage and faro polenta. While the polenta was pleasing, the duck unfortunately was edible, but fair at best - dry, overcooked and lacking in flavor.

Portions were on the generous side and as we were pleasantly full we opted to skip dessert as nothing was jumping out at us and we were at this point a bit underwhelmed with the overall meal. Our total bill (including tax and gratuity) came to $140 for the aforementioned food, a pizza (consumed by my wife as her entree) and the $36 bottle of wine.

Had I not been looking so forward to this dinner I likely would have left feeling better than I did, but since I had such lofty expectations that were not met I sadly left Piccolo Sogno let down. This is by no means a bad venue, but in my opinion it is a fair venue that has been unreasonably hyped up as being among Chicago's best Italian cuisine - I do not recommend avoiding Piccolo Sogno, but would advise tempering one's expectations.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank fabcomdr2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“sogno italiano”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 11, 2012 via mobile

picollo is a gem in the heart of Chicago, friendship from the staff, food, vino, amazing, brought to perfection for you to feel with family at home in Italy, patio is by far the best restaurant spot in Chicago, Tony a top Chef, Ciro great character, you can't get better than that in the US.

    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank mauricio1971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
19 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Loved this place!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 7, 2012 via mobile

Being from Texas is crazy in Chicago! We looked for a pasta that was unique to Chicago and this is where we found it! My husband and I split a special for the day and it was great for the two of us!

    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank SamandMiranda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
texas
Level Contributor
171 reviews
100 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Interesting menu”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2012

After looking online at the menus of several Italian restuarants in Chicago, my wife and I chose Picollo Sogno and we were not disappointed in the varied menu selections. Her ribollita was pudding-like and tasty but not the typical soup we are accustomed to and her stracci di farro was delicious. I doubled up on braised oxtail soup and braised short ribs, both of which were good, but a bit too much richness at one time. The wine list had several affordable and unique choices.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank scott46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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