Has anyone been to Prosecco or Coco Pazzo? I'm wondering if either come close to the quality of Spiaggia. From a quick glance at the menus, the preparations at Prosecco look more sophisticated. Trying to find an option close to Spiaggia that doesn't break the bank. Thanks!
The atmospher is nothing like it, but the pasta is right on par, I think. Check out Terragusto. This little BYO spot serves family style pasta and their chef/owner comes to them after a stint at Spiaggia. I love it!
You have an interesting question here. My read on your post is that you are looking for an Spiaggia experience without the prices? Spiaggia is pretty unique in Chicago, in that it is the only Frenchified-Italian (the term used in Italy for haute cuisine Italian) place in the city. Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of excellent Italian places in the city. But if you are planning to go to these other places to get a Spiaggia-esque experience, I’m not sure that it computes. Terragusto, as pointed out by Chargenda, is actually a very good place. But you need a different mindset than ‘this is the substitute for Spiaggia’.
Anyway, you asked about Prosecco and Coco Pazzo. I’ve only been to Prosecco once. Coco Pazzo, on the other hand, many times, but not since chef Tony Priolo left to open Piccolo Sogno. Between the 2, Prosecco is more refined. Overall I would consider it a good restaurant, but nothing that really wows me. The décor is pretty if you are into heavy drapes, candlelight, and transitional furniture. A free glass of Prosecco is de riguer, so that is a nice touch. The menu is pretty much best of Italy. In my opinion most things seem heavily sauced.
Coco Pazzo on the other hand is really good. It is Tuscan, so it is rustic in its core (as Tuscan cuisine is cucina povera), but upscale rustic if there is such a term. It is also in a wonderful loft space. Those 2 things right there are opposites of Spiaggia. That said, the food is always excellent, and for my money, I would definitely pick Coco Pazzo over Prosecco.
re: ms. chow
I totally hear you. And these are some of the concerns I have that make me think I would be disappointed. Maybe I need to be more specific. I think the pasta dishes are outstanding at Spiaggia and I'm wondering do any of the other Italian restaurants come close to that kind of as you put it haute cuisine in terms of pasta. I'm not expecting the same experience because you're right that's why Spiaggia is one of the best restaurants in Chicago. Actually I'm looking at the pasta dishes at Coco Pazzo and that seems more like what I would find at Spiaggia, compared to Prosecco. The Prosecco dishes do look heavy.
I would definitely choose Coco Pazzo. Have you tried Cafe Spiaggia? My other personal favorites for pasta:
Merlo on Maple. They focus on Emilia-Romagna cuisine.
A Tavola. Best gnocchi IMHO.
Riccardo Trattoria & Anteprima. When i need the 'back to Italy' fix.
Merlo On Maple
16 W Maple, Chicago, IL 60610
5316 N Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640
2119 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614
Spiggia would be 2x the price! I hit the cafe for v-day. It was hands down the best italian I've ever hand. I think I dropped $250 there for a an appatizer, 2 bowls of soup, 3 entrees, wine, and 2 deserts. My gf and I aren't big eaters. we usually only order entrees and leave half the meal in front of us. WE ATE EVERY BITE of our meal and ordered an extra entree. The worst part about the cafe IMO is the weird space and folks can't seem to treat the meal as a casual or upscale/event meal.
I don't think Coco Pazzo has the innovative, ultra-luxury appeal of Spiaggia, but we were very much impressed by the quality of the dishes, reminding us rather of a medium to- high-end Roman restaurant, rather than Spiaggia. I recommmend it to people looking for a high-quality Italian meal, and altho it's not cheap you won't drop a huge bundle there.