The name means "game" in Italian, and the restaurant fulfills the promise not with venison, but in the spirit of having fun. The decor is distressed-urban, with brick walls and well-worn hardwood floors—the space is said to have been used by the Chicago gangsters of early 1900s as a gambling house—but the menu is comfort-Italian, with rustic fare like homemade linguine with Manila clams, grilled lamb chops, and roasted sea bass with puttanesca sauce. It's a cozy, neighborhoody
spot that keeps the regulars coming back.
Jan 24, 2003
While Gioco has good food, there are too many restaurants in Chicago to dine at a place with poor service. Our waiter was negligent at his best and when alerting the manager to this situation, the manager became very defensive. The tables are also too close for comfort when paying the prices for Gioco's food.
May 25, 2002
Although some tables are too dimly lit for me, I like the overall feel of Gioco. It was busy & bustling, but not intolerably noisy and the decor is urbane yet comfortable. As always, the complimentary garlic olives were scrumptious, as was the great crusty Italian bread. We were fond of a rabbit confit appetizer; the meat was fresh and nicely cooked and the accompanying white bean & sage puree accented it nicely. A sausage & rapini pizzette was satisfactory,
but not top-notch. Wines by the glass were well-chosen & tasty. To me, prices are a bit higher than they ought to be for the food and setting. Still a south Loop favorite for me...