Piccolo Mondo is an Italian restaurant that has been on Argyle St. near Neptune Theater for over 10 years. It has doubled in size from its original incarnation and now features a space that is essentially 2 rooms. The decor is pleasant with the only jarring note being a large painted mural on the side wall of one of the rooms that is a bit cheesy. Large windows overlook Argyle which brightens the space and can make for an entertaining street scene if you're seated to be able to take advantage of it.
I have been to PM numerous times over the years and have always held it in high regard. Lunching there yesterday I saw nothing to change that, with one exception that has always been the case in virtually every visit I've made to the place.
We were a party of 7 and were seated comfortable at a trio of tables assembled together -- the tables being topped using black granite, which certainly provides an upscale look. Service was provided by a young lady with a very authentic and charming Italian accent. She did her best but her efforts were undermined by a painfully slow kitchen, which has been the one constant problem with the place. It is virtually impossible to get out of PM at lunch in under an hour if you order from their full menu as we did. I can understand that in a kitchen that is making complex dishes from scratch, but I would be helpful to note the time issue on either the menu itself of by way of advice from the server.
The food, when it arrived, was wonderful as always. One advisory: having done a little research beforehand, several reviewers noted their signature dish as being gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce. Three of us ordered that, and all three of us left more than half of it on our plates. It is very good, but just overpoweringly rich, and is probably better suited in a small portion as an appetizer. I know I wished I had tried something else in retrospect. Having invested over two hours to get to that point, we had no time to investigate desserts or even coffee unfortunately.
Piccolo Mondo is ideal if you are not in a hurry and would like to have a relaxing and/or romantic meal over a lengthy session. The atmosphere, food, and overall ambiance are great. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time.
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