Friday, October 17, 2014


You know that moment when you're stuck in a mall, and can't find anything other than fast food? Yeah, I hate that and avoid it at all costs. So what I end up doing is organising any essential mall trips (and by essential, I mean there's stuff I need, but don't know where to get it from) around meal times. 

As was the case last Sunday, I organised to meet up with a few friends for lunch, then tackle the shopping list. For convenience sake, we ended up at a mall restaurant that was relatively well reviewed on Yelp, Villagio, that's tucked into a corner of the upper level of Fashion Outlets of Chicago. 

It's fairly obvious that the restaurant is part of the mall, but if you choose an inner table, it definitely doesn't feel quite so much like a food court.

The best thing by far at the restaurant was the bread baskets.

Not satisfied with just giving out slices of crusty, warm bread, they're also generous enough to provide flat bread with a delightful, vinegar and tomato-centric bruschetta topping. If you do happen to devour the basket and plate like we did, then they're happy to provide you with more. 

The menu is extensive and focuses on Italian cuisine. There are cold platters, warm appetizers, salads and soups kick the meal off, followed by the usual pasta, pizza and Italian-style meat mains like Parmigiana and Scaloppini, and paninis.

Seeing as I'd gorged  myself on the bread, I ended up ordering a seafood soup.

Zuppa Mare e Monti
With mixed fish, rice, calamari, shrimp, clam broth, tomato and zucchini, it really is a throw-whatever-you-can-find-into-the-pot kind of soup. While warming and flavoursome (the seafood and tomato combination just works), I was hoping that it would both be thicker in texture and larger in size. 

The dishes enjoyed by my companions were much more substantial:

Pizza Pepperoni
Linguine Nettuno
I  tried neither of the pizza or pasta dishes but what struck me most as they came out where how big the servings are. This is America after all, so I shouldn't be surprised. 

The pizza base was unfortunately soggy, but apart from that, both companions seemed to enjoy their meal enough. Both ended up with take-home boxes of food.

Dessert was somewhat disappointing.

While pretty enough to look at, the tiramisu was heavy on both liquor and cream, and lacking in substance and interesting flavours. What a shame in my eyes, because tiramisu isn't really that hard to get right.

Villagio does decent food for a decent price. Given its location in a food court, it certainly stands a class above the other options. The service was friendly, although somewhat haphazard (requests were frequently forgotten) and that seemed to be due to the inexperience of some of the servers. Regardless, we came out with our bellies full and happier than if we had eaten at the food court so I'd definitely recommend Villagio if you're in the mall. I'd skip dessert though. 

Fashion Outlets of Chicago
5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont, IL
Mon-Sun 1130am-11pm

Villagio on Urbanspoon