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Dinner at Caro Mio

Dinner at Caro Mio
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  • Dinner at Caro Mio

    Post #1 - December 16th, 2006, 6:20 pm
    Post #1 - December 16th, 2006, 6:20 pm Post #1 - December 16th, 2006, 6:20 pm

    just a synopsis of our dinner here last Thursday.

    My lovely aunt-in-law takes me and my husband out for dinner about once a month. This month, she asked us to meet her at Caro Mio. She would bring a red wine, and we would bring a white.

    There are two things I am a sucker for (well, there are a lot more things I am a sucker for :oops: , but for this post, I'll talk about two): fried calamari, and tiramisu. So, we had fried calamari for an appetizer, and it was just fine, not greasy and not chewy.

    After we had finished this off, the waiter was busily trying to figure out what our favorite Italian dishes were - he remembered my Aunt's preference for mushroom ravioli with roasted chicken - it was not on the menu that night but he had the kitchen create it. He asked me if I liked gnocchi and when I replied that I loved it, he said "okay! This will be made for you!" and when he was told my husband loves anything with eggplant, he said, "trust me." He ran away without any other comment and my first dinner in a restaurant was decided for all of us.

    Complimentary cups of lentil soup were brought out. I hate lentils but the flavor of the broth was fine. Aunt and husband polished theirs off.

    Huge entrees emerged next. My gnocchi turned out to be a mix of ravioli and gnocchi - it was gnocchi dough surrounding cheese, with a tomato/cream sauce, pieces of chicken, and broccoli. Best way to describe it was...strange; when trying to think of what to call this, I would name it Gnolioli. There was too much going on, and if I were to add a vegetable to that plate it would have been spinach. At this point I was quite full and after a bite of everyone else's plate, I couldn't eat any more. Now, by no means was anything bad, it just was heavy, with the eggplant fully breaded and smothered in cheese and the mushroom ravioli cloaked in a cream/brandy sauce.

    Onto the second thing I'm a sucker for: tiramisu. We attempted to order this to share. The waiter said in a sad voice, "really? that's what you want?" I pointed out the cake was homemade and he said, "let me order again for you." We agreed and a round sorbet (passion fruit, guava, and ?pineapple) coated in white chocolate, sliced into four pieces, was brought out. I had a few spoonfuls but the fruit mixed with the white chocolate was odd, although the sorbet itself was refreshing.

    In all, I think Caro Mio is good, and it's especially nice that it's BYOB. But it is quite loud and it seems you must turn your edible wishes over to your waiter!

    1827 w wilson, chicago.
    (773) 275 - 5000
  • Post #2 - June 13th, 2009, 7:55 am
    Post #2 - June 13th, 2009, 7:55 am Post #2 - June 13th, 2009, 7:55 am
    I really enjoyed my meal at Caro Mio last night and was surprised it hasn't received more LTH love. This cute/homey double storefront features an extensive menu with a large selection of homemade pastas. Service was very friendly and accommodating to special requests.
    Pastas are in the $18 price range, Meat entrees about $20-$24 (I think the waiter-recommended zuppa di pesce--squid, salmon, shrimp, mussels over linguine--was the priciest at $24ish). That might seem high but portions are HUGE! And they are BYOB with no corkage.
    We had:
    - salad of green beans, tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette and fresh mozzarella: very good--this will get better when good summer tomatoes arrive
    - a big platter of penne with Italian sausage. I didn't try this one. Honestly, this was a MOUNTAIN of food. I mean, I can put it away, but there was so much food on this plate it almost looked unappetizing. My friend really enjoyed it--she tends to shy away from the exotic--she finished about half (which was actually quite a feat).
    -a Gnocchi special--stuffed with Asiago pesto in a tomato cream sauce. Very rich, but delicious. As mentioned above, a bit of a departure from traditional gnocchi in that they were stuffed. Not what I'm used to but I really enjoyed them. The gnocchi themselves were nice and fluffy and light. Generally, when I don't like gnocchi, it's because I find them too dense.
    --Paparadelle with porcini mushrooms in a 'light' cream sauce--I thought this was really the star (and fortunately it was the one I ordered). The pasta is made in-house. Again, the sauce was a bit rich but not too over-the-top. Just delicious. This was actually the smallest portion (it's all relative, I still took a third of it home).
    --Tiramisu: I was pretty full and I'm not a big dessert person so I didn't try this. I think consensus was that it was very good.
    --Chocolate souffle: Again, I'm not a dessert person, but I thought this was a little dry. This is the only dish I'd have to 'ding'. But, in the interest of full disclosure, it's hard to impress me with sweets that don't involve really good dark chocolate, ripe plantains or salted caramel.

    All in all, I will definitely return. This place is a 5 minute drive from my house. I'm not sure I'd put it in the range of destination dining, but it definitely belongs on the LTH radar. A couple other pluses include: not much area traffic and easy street parking with (City of Chicago employees, please stop reading here) NO meters!
  • Post #3 - June 13th, 2009, 8:05 am
    Post #3 - June 13th, 2009, 8:05 am Post #3 - June 13th, 2009, 8:05 am
    When we used to live in Ravenswood Caro Mio was within walking distance, we used to go every once in a while. I always enjoyed it, reasonable prices, BYOB and more than decent food. Since we moved, it's been a while but this thread has piqued my interest again, we'll have to swing by.
  • Post #4 - June 13th, 2009, 9:46 am
    Post #4 - June 13th, 2009, 9:46 am Post #4 - June 13th, 2009, 9:46 am
    I had dinner there last year and enjoyed it quite a bit. My brother was in town and requested an Italian dinner. I am not over-fond of Italian (I can hear the pearls being clutched now) being that where I'm from, floppy noodles and canned sauce were de rigeur. Even as I know intellectually that I will not likely be served something that resembles Chef Boy-Ar-Dee, I can't get past the noodly traumas of my youth.

    Anyway, the point of this being that I would never in a million years voluntarily gone into Caro Mio, but I did, and found it worthwhile. It was long ago enough - and BYOB, too, that contributed to the memory loss - that I can't recall details, though I do remember that my gnocchi was pillowy, my brother's risotto melted in the mouth, and the waiters (this may or may not be of interest to the reader) were uniformly handsome and clad in tight shirts.
    As a mattra-fact, Pie Face, you are beginning to look almost human. - Barbara Bennett
  • Post #5 - September 7th, 2010, 10:46 am
    Post #5 - September 7th, 2010, 10:46 am Post #5 - September 7th, 2010, 10:46 am
    We went to Caro Mio with another couple on Friday for a birthday celebration. I'd never been, despite rave reviews from coworkers. We arrived early and were quickly seated. The place filled up shortly after we arrived, but I didn't ever notice people waiting for any length of time. We began with the polenta al sugo (fresh polenta grilled on a flat grill then topped with a rich ragu sauce and finished with parmesan cheese) and the funghi provinciale (domestic mushrooms sauteed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, white wine and marinara). The polenta seemed more microwaved than griddled to me, but it was okay. Our table really enjoyed the mushrooms. I wished the bread was better for sopping up the plates.

    For entrees, I had the chicken parpadelle special (handmade parpadelle, sun-dried tomotoes, spinach, and chicken topped with cheese) and Mr. X had the ziti special (ziti in marinara with meatballs and italian sausage.) I really enjoyed my dish - simple flavors that worked together. Mr. X didn't seem to have any complaints about his either. The sausage on his dish was particularly good. Our dining companions cleaned their plates, which is a sign they liked their food. (Veal vesuvio for him, lobster ravioli for her. No tastes were shared.) We finished the night with a tiramisu and chocolate tartufo. I thought the tiramisu was some of the best I've had lately. The espresso flavor really popped.

    Service was efficient and the BYO certainly was a benefit. Entree portions were huge. My leftovers were enough for 3 more (lighter) meals. I'd return, especially on a weekday night when it's a little less crazy.
  • Post #6 - March 13th, 2014, 7:45 am
    Post #6 - March 13th, 2014, 7:45 am Post #6 - March 13th, 2014, 7:45 am
    My wife and I dined at Caro Mio last night for the first time. Overall we really enjoyed it and will definitely be back.

    We started with the pizza bread and the polenta as appetizers. The pizza bread was somewhat pedestrian, a combination of their marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. The polenta was excellent however, four nice sized blocks that had been seared a little crispy and then covered (not too much) with the marinara sauce.

    I had the gnocchi gratinato entry. It was really good, a large portion of gnocchi in a really tasty meat sauce, covered with cheese and baked. Gnocchi is a go-to test for me whenever I visit an Italian restaurant for the first time, and Caro Mio's passed with flying colors. I prefer gnocchi that is dense and chewy, and theirs was excellent in that regard. Next time I would probably order it without the baked cheese as I don't think it lends anything to the dish.

    I also ordered a side of meat balls, as this is my other go-to test for a new (to me) Italian restaurant. For $4.50 I received two meatballs about the size of golf balls. They were somewhat plain tasting and covered in marinara sauce. I would say take a pass on these, especially for the price.

    My wife ordered the pappardelle all arrabiatta con gamberi, which contained a number of good-sized shrimp in a large portion of pasta. While I didn't try it, she really liked it a lot and it looked good.

    The room was about half full on a Wednesday night at 7:30, so everything was comfortable and quiet. I can see how it could get pretty loud on a busy weekend. The staff was very nice and attentive without being a pain. One thing I really liked was that they leave a carafe of water on the table. I drink a lot of water during a meal and hate it when I have to chase people down for refills.

    As I said, overall a really nice spot that we'll definitely return to. The BYOB component is excellent, when combined with the overall excellent food.
  • Post #7 - February 5th, 2021, 5:18 pm
    Post #7 - February 5th, 2021, 5:18 pm Post #7 - February 5th, 2021, 5:18 pm
    Has moved from Wilson Avenue to Lincoln in a much smaller space.

    Caro Mio
    4613 N. Lincoln Ave.
    Chicago 60625
    New website (old site links to this):