Where two of Chicago's finest shopping streets collide, Michigan Avenue and Oak Street give shelter to Prada, Gucci and four-star Italian restaurant Spiaggia. Offering an incomparable panorama of Lake Michigan and the Gold Coast's most desired residences, executive chef Tony Mantuano's elegant and palatable menu matches its setting.
Take for example, the wood-grilled Mediterranean sea bass with Umbrian white beans, rapini and a black olive sauce, a delicate and flavorful dish that quietly wows. Other praised entrees include wood-roasted filet mignon with marrow and herb crust, hen of the woods mushrooms, roasted red pearl onions and purple potato puree and homemade spaghetti with Maine lobster, house-dried cherry tomatoes and wild arugula.
In true Italian spirit, wine is paid as much attention as the food, with more than 700 bottles. Thoughtful recommendations abound for cheese as well; Spiaggia employs a full-time cheese expert who culls top selections from the restaurant's cheese cave.
Though window seating is prime, the tiered dining room provides a breathtaking view from nearly every seat. And though your sight may stray outward, the interior's white tablecloths, marble accents, oil lamps, plush fabrics and shooting-star chandeliers keep the interior just as lovely.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Janis Mabalay