I tried Cafe Spiaggia for lunch during my recent trip to Chicago. It was a great experience; both the food and atmosphere were spectacular. Trying to sample as many things as possible and eat reasonably healthy, we decided to share several of the appetizers and small plates.
We started with salmon tartare, which ended up being my favorite course. This seemed like an Italian take on lox; it came on toasted crostini with creamy house made ricotta, cucumbers, and large chunks of diced raw salmon.
We also tried the tuna tartare, which was delicious. The tuna came with fresh chickpeas, olives, shallots, capers, and basil. It was also served with crispy crackers to scoop up everything, but I liked the tuna so much I just ate it plain.
Next was the rucola salad with arugula, shiro plums, goat cheese, and a balsamic dressing. Everything was incredibly fresh, and the plums were unlike any I’ve had with a consistency and flavor more similar to a peach.
The final course was the brodetto. This was the largest of the dishes we ordered, and although it was an appetizer it could have easily been a light entrée. This was similar to a bouillabaisse, with a tomato broth full of baby clams, halibut, and ruby trout. This also came with grilled crostini for dipping.
On our way out, we wandered into the main dining room which is only open for dinner. The view there was even more impressive, and the menu looked amazing. Spiaggia is definitely the top of my list for dinner spots my next trip to Chicago!