we are pretty sure most Chicagoans have a long list of their “must try” food places in the city. it is so satisfying to check one off of that list, and that’s just what we got to do this week! Cafe Spiaggia has been hailed as one of the finest Italian dining experiences in the city; we all know that a warm, filling Italian meal always hits the spot in the winter. and what more perfect a day to cozy up in one of their windows overlooking The Magnificent Mile than a blustery, slushy afternoon in January. we went for their prezzo fiso lunch- it seems to us that restaurants tend to put their most pride-worthy dishes on their fixed price menu, plus it takes the guesswork out of an overwhelming first time at a new place, so why not?
between two of us diners, we were able to try most of the dish options offered on the menu, which is great for sharers like us! both of the appetizers were absolutely delectable: the fresh and rich Mozzarella (apple mostarda, Sicilian sea salt, Spiaggia extra virgin olive oil) and our favorite of the two: the refreshing and sweet Rucola (arugula, pears, Capriole goat cheese, almonds, balsamico). the entrees were hearty, warm, and filling. we went for one of the pizzas: the cheesy, crusty and delicious Formaggi (some delicious white cheeses that we can’t quite recall, Treviso, balsamico), and one of the pastas, which turned out to be our favorite: the sweet, rich Cappellacci (butternut squash, brown butter, sage, chestnut honey).
everyone knows that dessert is easily the best part of the meal, and even though we were getting full (did we also mention the oh-so-tasty bread basket that they serve?) so we were so excited to try the Gelatis, which came in a variety of flavors; we went for classic chocolate (it was so rich and cocoa-y), the pumpkin (unique and subtle, and tasted great with the second of our two desserts- see below!), and our favorite, the caramel (rich, buttery, heavenly). their Zeppole was like nothing we had heard of before (to us, similar to a beignet: gingerbread mousse, orange marmalade, cinnamon) so we were intrigued by it. it did not disappoint. warm, soft little cinnamon sugar covered donuts, perched atop a smooth, subtle orange swirl, filled with a rich, delicious something that was out of this world. as we mentioned before, the pumpkin gelati complemented it perfectly.
it was one of the best meals had in some time. not to mention the atmosphere- lovely, warm, yet clean and fresh. and the service was great, too. all this while looking out over bustling Michigan Avenue and beautiful (albiet frozen) Lake Michigan- it doesn’t get much better than that!