A Quick Word:
For the past couple of years, Piccolo Sogno has steadily built its reputation as one of the most popular Italian restaurants in the city. Reservations are hard to come by, but if you get lucky, this restaurant, located at the corner of Halsted and Grand (not in Little Italy), focuses on both the details of the dining experience and the quality of the food itself. During the late spring and summer months, an outdoor patio is available for customers to both dine and grab a few rays of sunlight. The area is magnificent... full of flowering trees and a huge wooden fence that makes you forget you are still in the city. It has to be one of the BEST date spots in the city. After admiring the scenery, waiters and waitresses bring out artistically plated dishes that are almost too beautiful to eat. And after tasting a few bites, you realize the food is too tasty to just look at. Despite only trying a limited variety of their dishes, the overall experience was memorable enough to warrant a 5 mile rating. I will be back and I will update soon!
What We Ate:
Burrata con Culatello
For an appetizer, we decided on the burrata and prosciutto. Burrata cheese is a type of mozzarella that is solid mozzarella ball on the outside and a mozzarella and cream center. It is a lot richer in my opinion and definitely a lot creamier than typical mozzarella. This appetizer also came with an artisan style prosciutto sliced paper thin. The saltiness from the prosciutto was addicting. I personally wrapped a little of the cheese inside the prosciutto and enjoyed.
As most people know, the Margherita Pizza is based on simplicity... crust, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and a few leafs of basil... that is it. The pizza at Piccolo Sogno is the most authentic Italian style pizza I have tasted in Chicago. It reminded me of the pizzas in Naples, Italy. The crust was thin, crispy, and cooked unevenly (which is a good quality). Some areas are a little more burnt than others giving contrasting flavors. The tomato sauce was light and acidic, while the mozzarella added just enough cheesiness without being overwhelming. I did wish the added more basil. Three small leafs is definitely not enough.
Gnocchi di Spinaci
At Italian restaurants, I have become a sucker for gnocchi. The consistency of gnocchi is the most important part and Piccolo Sogno was on point. The spinach and potato gnocchi didn't have much flavor, but the consistency was firm, yet mushy. All of the flavors were developed from the combination of mushrooms, oven dried tomatoes, garlic, and plenty of Italian herbs. The tomatoes were cooked down until as soft as can be and the mushrooms just lightly sautéed to give more of a firm texture with an earthy flavor. A few slivers of parmesan cheese topped off the dish! Incredible.
Focaccia Bread and Balsamic Vinegar
This complementary bread basket is incredible. With several slices of focaccia, a few slices of a baguette, and numerous dry bread sticks, you will definitely be tempted to fill up on the bread. The focaccia is soft with several herbs flavoring the bread. You can use either their house balsamic vinegar which is UNBELIEVABLE or an olive oil (which I chose not to try). The balsamic has the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. It is thicker than most balsamics that people are used to because of its age and quality. You can purchase the balsamic for $20/bottle... its definitely worth it.
- Valet parking is available.
- Definitely sit outside! They have one of the NICEST patios in Chicago.
- The restaurant is expensive... especially when you think Italian food. Just don't expect to walk out for less than $30 per person for lunch and twice that for dinner.
How far would I walk for this food?