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Jul 28, 2009 02:36 AM

Recent Spiaggia Experiences?

Hello all,

Will be in Chicago this weekend and had been planning on Spiaggia with the family on Friday - having been to the cafe last year and being quite impressed overall I figured I owed it to myself to check out the flagship.

I'm accustomed to fine Italian (Babbo, Alto, Scarpetta NY and Valentino, La Botte, Osteria Mozza LA for instance) and generally find the price to portion ratio perfect at such places - should I expect similar from Spiaggia? How is the bread basket (always essential in a great Italian place?) Any (non-beef) musts outside of the black truffle gnocchi? Do the desserts shine as brightly as the pastas, or would dessert elsewhere be warranted?


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  1. we ate there Saturday evening. It was terrific! The ink squid pasta is a must as is the veal ravioli. Our party of four loved the breads especially the homemade breadsticks. Try the duck-delicious. As for desserts the gelato/sherbert trio was a nice way to finish the dinner. The mint gelato was outstanding! All in all a great experience. Our server, Erin, was very engaging and her recommendations were spot on.

    1 Reply
    1. re: donna4068

      Donna - what were the other breads? Did you do the olive oil or cheese tastings?

      The squid ink pasta sounds great but it'll be hard for me to skip the gnocchi, egg pasta, or risotto.

      I will certainly report back in long winded fashion. :-)

    2. wow, can't wait to read your report on your blog! are you doing a la carte or the degustation?

      6 Replies
      1. re: mountsac

        as for the bread there was a selection of foccacia, breadsticks, and a roll with basil. all were delicious. we did the cheese plate after dinner and had a parmesan, a goat cheese, and a blue cheese all recommended by our server. we did not order olive oil but there was always some on my appetizer of the crab and the olive oil was really smooth. enjoy!

        1. re: donna4068

          Will report back - Spiaggia Friday, Alinea Saturday, North Pond Sunday. :-)

          1. re: uhockey

            If you would like company for dinner, I'm available for adoption.
            Have a great time.
            Looking forward to your report..

            1. re: uhockey

              I second that sentiment! I'm so jealous, can't wait to hear about it.

              1. re: withaph

                Back and full reviews will appear slowly as I'm in clinic this month - but a quick summary.

                Spiaggia is not a place I'd ever return and, oddly, I had Erin as a server as well - she was snooty, pushy, and "upcharged" a dish without stating she would do so "Oh, I'll just make that your main, then" when my aunt ordered two pastas.

                The food is excellent, but pricewise it vastly outpaces Mozza, Babbo, and even Valentino - small portions at steep pricetags to say the least. The black truffle explosion at Alinea is nearly the size of the uova raviolo at Spiaggia......and about 10x better.

                Clearly ordering wine is the only way to get respect at Spiaggia - even if you do run up a $400 bill. Erin stopped by ONCE after our food was delivered (aside from when she returned to offer dessert) while she was at the table of four guys ordering wine after wine at least 9 times.

                Finally, to add injury to insult, the waiter at the table behind us managed to elbow me in the back of the head hard enough to cause blurry spots in my vision for ~5-6 seconds and the water boy (while reaching across my chest w/o excusing himself) spilled ~1/4 oz or so of cold water on my above-mentioned raviolo w/o a word of apology.

                I've been to Trotters, TRU, Moto, Alinea, North Pond, Cafe Spiaggia, and a number of other places in Chicago while in town and the level of undeserved pretense at Spiaggia is well beyond anything I've experienced there or anywhere else save from Chez Panisse.

                1. re: uhockey

                  I've never had anything but wonderful food at Spiaggia. I've been 4-5 times and never been seated at the reservation time; always asked to wait at the bar "have a glass of wine".

                  The service was always good - acceptable - but the pricing is incredibly high. The wine pricing is possibly the highest I have seen in Chicago. Indeed the pretense is pretty darn high.

        2. Does anyone know if they give tours, or if you can see, their cheese caves?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Reignking

            They'd likely charge you an excessive amount for it and be surly the whole time.