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[Photograph: Kate Bernot]

To really understand the simple allure of the biscotti ($8) at Piccolo Sogno, you have to be there. Really. So for a moment, close your eyes—maybe wait until your boss is out of the room—and put yourself on the restaurant's lush back patio (one of our favorites in the city, obviously). Then imagine that you've just polished off a delightfully crunchy arugula and olive oil pizza, followed by a whole plate of soft, comforting spinach and mushroom gnocchi. Still with me?

Between the warm sunshine and two glasses of Nero D'Avola, you're beginning to see why Piccolo Sogno translates to "little dream." As you order a cappuccino to snap you out of this blissful haze, ask for a plate of the light, flavorful biscotti to cap the meal. These biscotti avoid all the pitfalls of store-bought brands. They have the perfect Goldilocks texture: not too crunchy so as to taste stale, and not to soft as to fall apart like a soft-baked cookie. The contrast between the hazelnut-studded chocolate cookies and the almond and raisin version amplifies the flavors of both, and pretty much ensures that you'll eat the entire plate while trying to decipher your favorite.

As you dunk the last finger-sized piece into your coffee, these unassuming cookies inspire ruminations of just what is so wonderful about well-done Italian food. Some of the best rustic Italian dishes are the ones that seem easy on paper, but rely completely on texture and flavor rather than novelty. Filled with such heady thoughts, you wipe the last crumbs from your fingers and push back your chair. Oh, and by the way, readers, you can open your eyes now.

Piccolo Sogno‎

464 North Halsted St # 1, Chicago, IL 60642 (map)
312-421-0077
piccolosognorestaurant.com‎

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