Spiaggia Vs. Cafe Spiaggia
My boyfriend and I are both Chicago natives and we are debating where to dine for my birthday dinner. I was recommended to go to Spiaggia but upon my research it seems like Spiaggia might be over the top pricey. So, I made a reservation with Cafe Spiaggia. But now that my boyfriend and I have been reading about the prestige and acclaim of Spiaggia we are torn between the two. Any advice? We would prefer to stay on a budget, but our idea for dinner was that we could get dressed up in a dress and a suit, and both menus sounds delicious! Help!
Cafe Spiaggia and Spiaggia share a kitchen, a location and a website. Both are authentic, Italian slow food. You can dress up at the Cafe, eat fabulous food and stay within budget. There some people on this board who have complained that the service and the food and portions at Spiaggia don't merit the prices. I know others who rave about it. Still, you can't go wrong with the Cafe.
I ate at spiaggia almost two years ago in september of 2010 and must say, it was the best dinner I've ever had. two friends and I each had a couple cocktails and their tasting menu. the dishes that stick in my mind were rabbit wrapped in pancetta on a bed of couscous, squid ink angel hair with pesto and octopus, and prime beef tenderloin medallions with aged balsamic for my main. it was great, yes. but it's also the only restaurant I have ever spent $240-$260 per person after tip, by a long shot. I haven't been to cafe spiaggia, but am planning on it on my next visit to chicago in six weeks. a look at their menu will tell you that you'll come away with something very special. for instance, I really enjoy bouillabaisse (a french soup prepared with white seafood in tomato broth), and cafe spiaggia happens to have brodetto on their current menu, which is similar to the french classic, but with enough differences to make it distinctive and warrant my ride from wicker park with the friend I'll be staying with to check it out. and for a large bowl for two to share, it's $18. like the review above mentioned, they operate from the same kitchen so you won't have to worry about a sacrifice in technique by choosing the street level cafe over the upstair's king's table. also, consider the occasion. if you're setting the bar at spiaggia over a birthday, where's your boyfriend going to take you for an anniversary? he'll have to make a res at the girl and goat now, and roll the dice that you'll still be together when he can get you in in six months.