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Italiano Nuovo

July 03, 2014

Cooking fads come and go, but the kind of food you’ll find on the plates at revered Chicago culinary institution Spiaggia – namely classic, refined Italian food – is of the calibre that simply never goes out of style. Timeless though the fare may be, years in the business often leave a restaurant’s fitout tired, dated, and in need of a jolly good revamp. And though it was with some trepidation that James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano took that revamp to the next level with a reconceptualisation of his beloved restaurant, shuttering its doors and reopening a few months later just in time for its 30th anniversary, it was a risk that has already proved well worth taking.

Inspired by his travels, and a new wave of Italian style which Mantuano admired when he last visited Venice, another layer has been added to the Spiaggia experience via the addition of a lounge and the casual trattoria Cafe Spiaggia, which is open for lunch as well as dinner. Meanwhile inside the main restaurant, Mantuano has gleefully ditched the last vestiges of stuffy fine-dining: men no longer need wear a jacket and tie (not that making an effort ever hurt anyone), and the tables have been stripped of their formal white linens. Luckily, one thing has remained true to the original restaurant – the tasting menu still impresses with flavoursome combinations like a raw dry-aged strip loin with Maine uni, pine nuts, and lemon; or veal cheek with sweetbreads, morels and spring-fresh ramps. Delizioso!

980 N Michigan Ave / +1 312 280 2750 / dinner daily /