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Cafe Spiaggia

Cafe Spiaggia
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  • Post #31 - February 9th, 2009, 10:20 am
    Post #31 - February 9th, 2009, 10:20 am Post #31 - February 9th, 2009, 10:20 am
    Jayz wrote:That was a wood roasted Skate wing served with celery root puree, shaved celery and a tomato almond pesto.

    Yeah, that's what I meant. :)
  • Post #32 - February 9th, 2009, 12:25 pm
    Post #32 - February 9th, 2009, 12:25 pm Post #32 - February 9th, 2009, 12:25 pm
    lnasreen wrote:Ron: As a high maintenance chick with high date-night expectations, I'd say you're on fairly safe ground with Cafe Spiaggia. In terms of overall experience, you're not getting the same fuss and fluff as in some of the four-star restaurants in the city, but other things make up for it. The Michigan Ave view (be sure to ask for that or your companion will be disappointed--the other areas are more casual, plain), the mysterious escalator ride up seems almost like you're going to a private club, and the service is really good (at least during the few times I've been there). For the small, window-side tables, you'll be sitting side-by-side--very romantic, though might seem a little cramped or squished for some people.

    Oh yeah, the food is good too, and the little Italian donuts with powdered sugar are delicious and way more fun than your creme brulees and what not. At the time I went they had this really, really tasty butternut squash pasta. WIsh I had snapped a pix.

    And people do dress up a bit, though it's slightly more on the casual side. Enjoy.


    Thanks for your comments. It's actually been a few years since I posted my inquiry, but we did go to Cafe Spiaggia and enjoyed it (haven't been back, though). I'm not sure that I would describe my wife of eight years as a "high maintenance chick with high date-night expectations", but I think I see what you're getting at. We enjoyed the food and setting. At some point, I'd like to try Spiaggia.
  • Post #33 - June 23rd, 2009, 5:14 pm
    Post #33 - June 23rd, 2009, 5:14 pm Post #33 - June 23rd, 2009, 5:14 pm
    I had a business lunch for two at Cafe Spiaggia last Thursday. The room was not busy surprisingly.

    My lunch consisted of a simple, but well prepared salad of spinach with crispy shallots and prosciutto with a white wine vinaigrette. For my entree, I opted for an excellent lunch special, a perfectly cooked medium rare roasted pork tenderloin and square of crispy, fatty, unctious pork belly served over polenta with a crunchy rapini on the side.

    The dessert panini were creative and tasty little housemade cookies filled with gelato. But, they were a bit hard to manipulate (translate: eat) with a spoon.

    Lunch, including a couple of glasses of wine, ran right around $170.00.
  • Post #34 - June 24th, 2009, 12:24 pm
    Post #34 - June 24th, 2009, 12:24 pm Post #34 - June 24th, 2009, 12:24 pm
    Had a very nice first meal at Cafe Spiaggia two weeks ago. Started the meal off with my first ever Negroni, and I can only hope every other Negroni I'll have in my life compares to this one - exemplary. Started off splitting an app. of mussels in an underseasoned tomato sauce. Primi were a delicate gnocchi with wild boar ragu and whole wheat pasta with a spicy clam sauce. Secondi were an outrageous wood-roasted soft shell crab dish over so-so fingerling potatoes and a wood-roasted steak with olive oil smashed potatoes. Dessert was underwhelming gelati. Nice wine pairings with each course. Seasoning was inconsistent, and a few of the dishes just didn't have the bolder approach that I may have expected (e.g. Babbo). I won't be in a rush to head back, but the Negroni and soft shell crabs indicated that things can go very right here.
  • Post #35 - June 24th, 2009, 2:09 pm
    Post #35 - June 24th, 2009, 2:09 pm Post #35 - June 24th, 2009, 2:09 pm
    Will,
    Was that 2 glasses of wine each or total? Also was the $170.00 including tip?
    I suggested Cafe Spiaggia to a friend for dinner-but now I am wondering if it's too pricey. $85/each for lunch is pretty steep. Thanks.
    I love animals...they're delicious!
  • Post #36 - June 24th, 2009, 2:16 pm
    Post #36 - June 24th, 2009, 2:16 pm Post #36 - June 24th, 2009, 2:16 pm
    One glass of wine each.
  • Post #37 - June 24th, 2009, 2:52 pm
    Post #37 - June 24th, 2009, 2:52 pm Post #37 - June 24th, 2009, 2:52 pm
    stewed coot wrote:Will,
    Was that 2 glasses of wine each or total? Also was the $170.00 including tip?
    I suggested Cafe Spiaggia to a friend for dinner-but now I am wondering if it's too pricey. $85/each for lunch is pretty steep. Thanks.


    I've always thought of Cafe Spiaggia as the type of place one could make a lunch into a dinner-style larger meal by ordering appetizers, entrees, and desserts, or keep it simple and split three things for two people. In any case, the menu is on-line, with prices: http://www.spiaggiarestaurant.com/printable/1127
  • Post #38 - June 25th, 2009, 7:48 am
    Post #38 - June 25th, 2009, 7:48 am Post #38 - June 25th, 2009, 7:48 am
    I had dinner at Cafe Spiaggia Tuesday night as part of Kids Restaurant Week. There was a specific menu for the promotion, but it was just a subset of items from the regular menu. Everything was good. Not mindblowing, but solidly good. (We had the primavera soup, trout and porchetta.) But my favorite thing was a side of roasted olives and fennel. The olives were very large and had been roasted until the skins just started to blister. They were served covered with raw sliced fennel. Very tasty.
  • Post #39 - April 17th, 2010, 11:01 pm
    Post #39 - April 17th, 2010, 11:01 pm Post #39 - April 17th, 2010, 11:01 pm
    Curious if anyone's been more recently and can comment. :)
  • Post #40 - April 18th, 2010, 9:24 am
    Post #40 - April 18th, 2010, 9:24 am Post #40 - April 18th, 2010, 9:24 am
    I enjoyed a truly delightful lunch there this week. A pasta special with fiddlehead ferns, orange zest, ricotta salata, and duck sausage was supremely fragrant, with multiple herbaceous and savory notes and just the perfect kiss of hot red pepper - one of the best dishes I have had lately. Tiramisu was totally excellent - rich and vanilla-y without too much sweetness. The regular menu's olive oil poached tuna with tomato and mint was also luscious and complex.
    Service was perfectly friendly, competent, and unobtrusive; sitting near a window and enjoying the Michigan Ave action below was also nice.
  • Post #41 - April 19th, 2010, 1:08 pm
    Post #41 - April 19th, 2010, 1:08 pm Post #41 - April 19th, 2010, 1:08 pm
    Cafe Spiaggia is one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago. Service and food are both consistently good.
    My usual starter is a negroni sbagliata, and the sardines.
    The wild boar ragu / gnocchi is a lovely winter warmer, and recently I've become addicted to the ravioli, with braised duck and a poached egg. Wonderfully creamy and rich.
  • Post #42 - April 20th, 2010, 11:36 am
    Post #42 - April 20th, 2010, 11:36 am Post #42 - April 20th, 2010, 11:36 am
    We go every 3-4 weeks for Saturday Lunch. Always a wonderful meal/experience.
    "Your custard pie, yeah, sweet and nice
    When you cut it, mama, save me a slice"
  • Post #43 - July 26th, 2010, 11:51 pm
    Post #43 - July 26th, 2010, 11:51 pm Post #43 - July 26th, 2010, 11:51 pm
    Anybody else catch this?

    TonyMantuano - The unveiled refreshed Cafe Spiaggia next week. New look, new menu, and this shocker: jeans on the servers!
    8:15 AM Jul 24th via TweetCaster

    I'm trying to drop by next week when I'm in town to check it all out.
    GOOD TIMES!
  • Post #44 - July 27th, 2010, 4:45 am
    Post #44 - July 27th, 2010, 4:45 am Post #44 - July 27th, 2010, 4:45 am
    Jayz wrote:Anybody else catch this?

    TonyMantuano - The unveiled refreshed Cafe Spiaggia next week. New look, new menu, and this shocker: jeans on the servers!
    8:15 AM Jul 24th via TweetCaster


    Yeah, there's some kind of by-invitation-only preview tonight, perhaps press-only, so there should be more details floating about soon. The preview invitation also said something about new Spiaggia-branded artisan balsamic vinegar--don't know if it's already on the market or will debut with the cafe makeover.
  • Post #45 - July 27th, 2010, 7:50 am
    Post #45 - July 27th, 2010, 7:50 am Post #45 - July 27th, 2010, 7:50 am
    happy_stomach wrote:
    Jayz wrote:Anybody else catch this?

    TonyMantuano - The unveiled refreshed Cafe Spiaggia next week. New look, new menu, and this shocker: jeans on the servers!
    8:15 AM Jul 24th via TweetCaster


    Yeah, there's some kind of by-invitation-only preview tonight, perhaps press-only, so there should be more details floating about soon. The preview invitation also said something about new Spiaggia-branded artisan balsamic vinegar--don't know if it's already on the market or will debut with the cafe makeover.


    Uh oh, hopefully Chicago Magazine thought long and hard about who they're sending to the dog and pony show.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #46 - July 27th, 2010, 8:13 pm
    Post #46 - July 27th, 2010, 8:13 pm Post #46 - July 27th, 2010, 8:13 pm
    happy_stomach wrote:
    Jayz wrote:Anybody else catch this?

    TonyMantuano - The unveiled refreshed Cafe Spiaggia next week. New look, new menu, and this shocker: jeans on the servers!
    8:15 AM Jul 24th via TweetCaster


    Yeah, there's some kind of by-invitation-only preview tonight, perhaps press-only, so there should be more details floating about soon. The preview invitation also said something about new Spiaggia-branded artisan balsamic vinegar--don't know if it's already on the market or will debut with the cafe makeover.


    Interesting...I'll keep an eye out for more details.
    GOOD TIMES!
  • Post #47 - July 29th, 2010, 10:40 am
    Post #47 - July 29th, 2010, 10:40 am Post #47 - July 29th, 2010, 10:40 am
    I talked to someone who works there and they were quite hostile to the decor choices, but didn't seem to have any menu info at the time.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #48 - July 29th, 2010, 10:46 am
    Post #48 - July 29th, 2010, 10:46 am Post #48 - July 29th, 2010, 10:46 am
    A few menu details from my colleague at Gapers Block
  • Post #49 - July 29th, 2010, 5:05 pm
    Post #49 - July 29th, 2010, 5:05 pm Post #49 - July 29th, 2010, 5:05 pm
    What, exactly, is all that different about this menu?
  • Post #50 - July 29th, 2010, 7:41 pm
    Post #50 - July 29th, 2010, 7:41 pm Post #50 - July 29th, 2010, 7:41 pm
    I'm going tomorrow evening and should be able to give a more detailed report.
  • Post #51 - August 16th, 2010, 12:22 pm
    Post #51 - August 16th, 2010, 12:22 pm Post #51 - August 16th, 2010, 12:22 pm
    I'm planning to surprise my wife with dinner at Spiggia, but I sort of have half premature buyer's remorse. I mean, I've been to Spiaggia before, and so has she, but it must have been 13 years ago and all either of us can remember is that it was good. And I'm sure it is good. But can anyone out there who's been to both Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia in recent months/years explain to me the big differences between the two, prices aside? Is it simply a matter of formality/service, or is the food at Spiaggia-proper significantly better than the food at the Cafe?
  • Post #52 - August 16th, 2010, 9:28 pm
    Post #52 - August 16th, 2010, 9:28 pm Post #52 - August 16th, 2010, 9:28 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:I'm planning to surprise my wife with dinner at Spiggia, but I sort of have half premature buyer's remorse. I mean, I've been to Spiaggia before, and so has she, but it must have been 13 years ago and all either of us can remember is that it was good. And I'm sure it is good. But can anyone out there who's been to both Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia in recent months/years explain to me the big differences between the two, prices aside? Is it simply a matter of formality/service, or is the food at Spiaggia-proper significantly better than the food at the Cafe?


    Short story - it's more than just the service

    It's the difference between good and great. Spiaggia is a multi-course formal dinner. Cafe Spiaggia is the typical 3-course casual dinning with authentic Italian food. Cafe is suitable for 95% of outings. When you're looking to impress, celebrate a large event or simply want to eat the finest Italian ingredients you check in at Spiaggia. If you truly enjoy quality food Spiaggia takes it to the next level.

    *The decor and menu haven't changed drastically as I had imagined they would. The switch from black pants to jeans was actually comforting. It made the room feel even warmer than it had felt prior to the change. No, they didn't switch to just any pair of blue Lee's. The waiters all match in cleanly pressed dark jeans that really ties together with the restaurant. Lastly the menu is laid out differently, but hasn't changed all too much. Fortunately that's a good thing as the previous menu was always great as it stood. Overall I enjoyed the subtle changes.
    GOOD TIMES!
  • Post #53 - August 17th, 2010, 7:19 am
    Post #53 - August 17th, 2010, 7:19 am Post #53 - August 17th, 2010, 7:19 am
    Thanks for that. I'm wimping out. I remember Spiaggia being expensive, but not that expensive. I know my wife would appreciate "splurging" at the Cafe more than she would me dropping that much cash on dinner, esp. given I'm supposed to be saving up for our maiden voyage to Alinea.
  • Post #54 - September 10th, 2010, 10:31 pm
    Post #54 - September 10th, 2010, 10:31 pm Post #54 - September 10th, 2010, 10:31 pm
    Image

    Cafe Spiaggia proves yet again to be an excellent choice for lunch. We split a Mercato pizza with burrata, summer squash and corno di capra peppers and the Polipo (octopus) entree with artichokes, tomatoes and olives and both were exquisite. The pizza was a much bigger portion than the octopus, so it was smart to split the dishes. Our waitress brought us sharing plates without us even having to ask. Our pizza did arrive with a few less squash blossoms than the pizza on Spiaggia's website, however, we are not complaining.

    Image

    The bread to start off our meal is great – homemade and a little heartier than typical Italian white bread, and the accompanying olive oil is excellent, with a fruity flavor. The cheesy cracker bread is yummy as well. I ended up dipping the cheese cracker like a chip in the leftover tomato-olive sauce from the grilled ocotopus.

    For dessert, we asked for a recommendation, since the sorbetti, gelati and tiramisu all looked great. Our waitress suggested the gelati and recommended pistachio & espresso. We ordered those two along with orange blossom honey. The honey and espresso both had distinct flavors, but the pistachio could have been nuttier.

    Image

    Our one complaint is the view from the window overlooking Michigan Ave is obscured by a dirty ledge. I know there is not much that can be done about the architecture of the building, but perhaps some flowers would do the trick? Really anything would be nicer than the smudgy overhang.
  • Post #55 - February 6th, 2013, 5:30 pm
    Post #55 - February 6th, 2013, 5:30 pm Post #55 - February 6th, 2013, 5:30 pm
    CS was one of our choices for restaurant week, and it turned out to be a good one.

    The $22 lunch menu was very close to the more expensive dinner menu and the ribollita, gnocchi with wild boar sauce, and the 3 gelati were all excellent examples of what the kitchen can produce. Prices of the accompanying drinks were a little high, but the offer of a $25 bottle of wine (a perfectly serviceable red or pinot grigio) brought the final tally back down to earth. Highly recommended (especially if you can handle a bottle of vino at midday).
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #56 - February 6th, 2013, 5:52 pm
    Post #56 - February 6th, 2013, 5:52 pm Post #56 - February 6th, 2013, 5:52 pm
    jbw wrote:CS was one of our choices for restaurant week, and it turned out to be a good one.

    The $22 lunch menu was very close to the more expensive dinner menu and the ribollita, gnocchi with wild boar sauce, and the 3 gelati were all excellent examples of what the kitchen can produce. Prices of the accompanying drinks were a little high, but the offer of a $25 bottle of wine (a perfectly serviceable red or pinot grigio) brought the final tally back down to earth. Highly recommended (especially if you can handle a bottle of vino at midday).


    We were there recently (non-restaurant week) and had an outstanding meal, too (albeit for a much higher price). I agree that the ribollita was outstanding and it was an inspiration for the soup that I recently made for Soup & Bread night. When we were there, they didn't have a pinot grigio on offer. The Chow Poodle ordered a glass and she was steered in another direction instead.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #57 - June 14th, 2013, 10:58 am
    Post #57 - June 14th, 2013, 10:58 am Post #57 - June 14th, 2013, 10:58 am
    We took my future mother-in-law to Cafe Spiaggia for her birthday while she was in town visiting last night and had a very good meal. We ordered the olives, burrata and meatballs for the table and the ladies ordered the rucola salad and I started with the gnocchi 8) . For mains I had the porchetta and the ladies had the bucatini and the tagliatelle. The standouts were the gnocchi (excellent), burrata and meatballs. Everything else was good, but not mind-blowing or anything. The pastas themselves were very good, but the dishes seemed to lack any real oomph (other than the gnocchi - pillowy and light and the sauce was very good and fresh). The porchetta was good, but a bit salty.

    Overall, we very much enjoyed our meal, but I still prefer Piccolo Sogno (in my limited experiences so far with Italian in Chicago). Service was top notch.
    www.justnoms.com
    Rate the Food, Not the Restaurant
    @justnoms_com
  • Post #58 - July 9th, 2021, 9:40 am
    Post #58 - July 9th, 2021, 9:40 am Post #58 - July 9th, 2021, 9:40 am
    Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia are closing.
    https://twitter.com/spiaggiachicago/sta ... 94152?s=21
  • Post #59 - July 11th, 2021, 6:15 am
    Post #59 - July 11th, 2021, 6:15 am Post #59 - July 11th, 2021, 6:15 am
    Jim-Bob wrote:Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia are closing.
    https://twitter.com/spiaggiachicago/sta ... 94152?s=21


    Sometimes, FOMO and YOLO make sense.

    This is too bad.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening

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