Neighborhood: Gold Coast
- Vinsobre – red wine from the Rhone Valley, France
- Spaghette Nere
- Truffle Risotto
- Zucca Invernale
- Truffle Gnocchi
Spiaggia is one of those classic, fancy Chicago restaurants that you reserve for a special night. Or maybe you never go because you hate the Gold Coast like me. I was dragged here for my birthday dinner and found everything about the experience delightful in spite of it being in the Gold Coast. I am joking, to clarify, I was not dragged here. On one hand, I do avoid fancy restaurants in the Gold Coast. On the other hand, I had been wanting to go to Spiaggia ever since I saw Joe Flamm win Top Chef. With alumni like Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde), I had to try this bourgie Italian gem in Chicago.
When you walk in EVERYONE is smiling and super nice in a genuine way. As a younger-looking woman who doesn’t have a trust fund, I don’t necessarily feel respected in spaces like this, but at Spiaggia, I felt like everyone who worked there was genuinely kind. They first presented us with an insanely expansive wine list and sommelier to help you navigate it. I did have a lovely glass of red Italian wine that paired well with my decadent Italian meal. We had seats that overlooked Michigan Avenue on a snowy night and it really was a gorgeous interior with pretty chandeliers and subtle lighting – a classic Chicago night.
The menu is not super large and they barely had vegan options, but they did have some vegetarian options. If you eat fish/seafood though, you will be fine. I do wish they had more real plant-based options here. They started us off with complimentary focaccia and olive bread, which were heavenly and served with ricotta bathing in the purest olive oil found in Chicago. I honestly could have just eaten this for dinner and would have been satisfied.
Now Spiaggia does have some small plates but they also have entrées that are decently sized. We started off with the Capesante – a delightful mélange of delicately prepared scallops, acidic blood orange and a hint of celery served on top of an aioli. It was light, refreshing, and an ideal way to start a heavier meal.
We then progressed to their Risotto Tartufato, which is essentially a truffle risotto. It honestly seemed a bit undercooked and I didn’t really taste too much truffle but it did have a comforting fonduta and still had a delightful taste. The most flavorful dish of the night was the Spaghetti Nere served with a spicy, delicious Calabrian chili sauce. The sauce was bold and perfectly flavored. I could have just had a bowl of that sauce by itself!
After the tasty smaller plates, we moved onto the larger entrées. We had the Zucca Invernale, which were these little squash, pesto, vegetable cakes. They were texturally fun to eat and I loved the walnut pesto. Of course the star of the night was the Pizzoccheri truffle gnocchi. The truffle flavor was subtle but it was still a delicious dish. Nevertheless, it was a creamy, cheesy sauce and the gnocchi was super fresh-tasting. I would come back here just for this Truffle Gnocchi dish that costs $37.
To conclude, a restaurant of this caliber will cost you an arm and a leg, but it truly is a delightful experience with excellent service and memorable food. I will always look back on this experience fondly. I don’t tend to go to places like Spiaggia but I had an incredible food night here and recommend it for special occasions.
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