The setting for Spiaggia couldn’t be more dramatic. Tables in the two tiered dining room face huge windows looking out on Michigan Avenue and the lake. The dark, intimate room with flickering candles and fresh flowers is the perfect place for a special occasion.

Spiaggia has been a Chicago institution for nearly 30 years. It is considered by many to be one of the premier Italian restaurants in the country. Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano has been at the helm the entire time and has won virtually every culinary award imaginable including James Beard Foundation nominations for Outstanding Restaurant in America in 2006, 2007, 2010.

Here’s some menu highlights: appetizers: wood roasted diver scallop with crispy dewlap, abalone mushrooms and Parmigiano Reggiano and finely diced raw Wisconsin lamb loin with white truffle essence, fava beans, truffle pecorino frico, Il Traturello Extra Virgin Olive Oil and rosemary sea salt; pasta: organic Acquerello risotto with nettles, crispy veal sweetbreads, fried quail egg, and mascarpone and potato gnocchi with ricotta sauce and Savini black truffles; entrees: wood roasted Alaskan halibut, cuttlefish and king prawns in lobster saffron broth with fresh chickpeas and whipped house cured baccala and wood roasted Broken Arrow Ranch sika venison loin and sausage with wild spring onions, shaved artichokes and roasted polenta. The desserts all looked delicious, but you cannot come to Spiaggia without having their signature cheese course. Paired with a wonderful port, it is the perfect ending to a memorable meal.

Make no mistake this is a wonderful experience, but it will cost you dearly.

The wine list is very extensive, very well assembled and very expensive. We chose to have the sommelier select a glass for each course which perfectly complimented the meal and lessened the financial blow. In the tradition of many fine Italian restaurants, full bottles are brought to the table and decanted.

ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: Very high. Sitting in the tiered dining room with the twinkling lights of the city and the lake beyond is spellbinding.

AAA Four Diamond Award
Wine Spectator Award

It may be cheaper to fly to Rome than to dine at Tony Mantuano’s Gold Coast destination, but surveyors succumb to the breathtaking cheese selection, delicate, handmade pastas, velvety sauces and entrees that sing your name matched by a superb, extensive Italian wine list; the quiet, elegant, multilevel dining room offering exquisite views of the lake alone an experience has attentive yet unobtrusive service, but as astounding as it is, some favor the less formal cafe next door; N.B. jackets are required. ZAGAT