Cafe Ciao's dim lighting and warm earth tones evoke a European cafe ambiance, while the culinary focus is on small plates, pastas and wines. We'll have all of the above.Café Ciao is a small, intimate restaurant on one of the new development blocks in the West Loop. Inside, dim lighting and warm earth tones evoke a European café ambiance, while the culinary focus is on small plates, pastas and wines. Owner Julie Chung, an attorney, took over the space in 2005 keeping the mix of Italian and South American style. Food highlights include the house specialty Rigatoni Alla Riga (with spicy sausage and cream sauce) and appetizers like Bacon Wrapped Dates and Spicy Chevre crostini. On the wine side of things, there’s a healthy dose from Europe, as well as some choice Argentine Malbecs and Chilean Carménères.
Julie says she envisioned the restaurant as “a creative neighborhood forum.” She hosts live music on the weekends, as well as monthly wine tastings and occasional movie nights. (We also spotted a karaoke machine in the corner, you know, should you feel the need to take a crack at Dino’s “Volare.”) Before opening Café Ciao, Julie traveled a lot through Europe including Italy and Spain. Now she and other Chicagoans have a cozy café to relax and network in—or to summon the muse.
Rigatoni Alla Rigo, $12
Bacon Wrapped Dates, $6
Spicy Chevre, $7
Monday - Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Saturday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Closed Sunday