Say Ciao to Ciao

I get so excited when a new restaurant opens up and the menu looks tantalizing, the venue looks appealing and welcoming. But I don’t get excited when I get let down by the place due primarily to poor hiring choice in their staff. Off I ventured to Ciao Restaurant and Wine Bar on Saturday night to experience what seemed like chic, classy Italian dining in the heart of Yorkville. My bad for not making a reservation. The place was packed and there wasn’t even an option for waiting for a table to free up since they were booked up until 10. The actual venue was very trendy with lounge music playing, a dark dim lighting and dark hard wood furniture and décor. Very romantic setting and the potential for a lounge like atmosphere in the later hours of the night.

Luckily there was spot available on their somewhat narrow but cozy outdoor terrace/patio. We sat down and started to look over the wine options and menu. The waitress arrived at our table and we asked her for suggestions on wine selection. Could she have BEEN more uninterested? She couldn’t have even bothered to look us in the eye when speaking to us. We decided on the bottle of our choice and then proceeded to place our dinner menu. Then came the look. The look that said “that’s it?”. I could have smacked her. Being that we were outside and it was only about 15 degrees and windy, we politely asked if we could have the high standing heater turned on. After a failed attempt to work the heater the waitress said she would get someone else. No one came. We asked another waitress. She did nothing. Our bottle of wine came out upon which we asked our waitress “so is this a popular bottle of wine?” which she replied “no not really” as she continued to open the bottle. Why suggest it to us, begin opening it and then say it’s not popular? Seriously? Seriously.

Our food started to arrive. The appetizer (which was probably the best part of the meal) was the Pomodori (Mozarella di bufala, seasonal tomatoes, basil, EVOO and balsamic vinegar. Very light and refreshing made with fresh ingredients. Back to the heat issue. The manager eventually came out and as he put the heater on looked at us and said “are you serious?” As if HE has any say as to how hot or cold I’m feeling. You’re in a god dam suit jacket and jeans and I’m in a summer dress. Just do your job and do what your customers are asking of you. Our main meals arrived – Fusilli with chicken and mushrooms in a light cream sauce and Orecchiette with rapini, spicy Italian sausage, fontina, parmigiano, garlic and EVOO. Sheer disappointment. The fusilli was bland and tasteless and the sauce seemed like it came out of a can. Worst of all I have been officially let down by Italian sausage. There was NOTHING spicy about that sausage. Just a mixture of ingredients blended together with no taste of garlic anywhere. For dessert we shared a Dark Chocolate Baci Bomb which mildly made up for the disappointment of dinner.
Needless to say having the Liberty Group backing up your venue doesn’t necessarily garner success. They should bring back Flo.

Address: 133 Yorkville Ave
Parking: Street Parking/Underground parking
Dress: not your jeans/flips flops kinda place
Price: $$-$$$
Ambience – 7/10 – besides the heat fiasco the place is actually really nice
Service – 5/10
Food – 6/10


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