Spiaggia Ferragosto Event Review – An Italian Summer Holiday Celebration

On Monday, August 15th, 2016, Chicago’s favorite Italian restaurant, Spiaggia, celebrated the Italian holiday of Ferragosto. Originally scheduled at Oak Street Beach, rain that day moved the party to Spiaggia, itself. In ItalyFerragosto traditionally marks the start of summer vacation, when the country comes together at the coast to eat and imbibe. Chef Tony Mantuano and team wanted to share the excitement of this celebration by bringing it to Chicago with food, drinks and music, including whole roasted lamb, an oyster and crudo bar, charcuterie, gelato, and wine selections from sommelier Rachael Lowe. Quite the crowd showed up.


Entrance to Spiaggia with walls of wine bottles.


Yummy gelato desserts with mini cones!


Chefs preparing buffet desserts.


Hors d'oeuvres and charcuterie boards


My guest and I were excited about Ferragosto being held at Oak Street Beach, one of Chicago’s beautiful beaches located in the Gold Coast neighborhood. However, the event took on a different kind of excitement and was successful at the Spiaggia restaurant. Spiaggia is an absolutely incredible dining experience (my family and I have been there several times) well known for its beautiful interiors and lighting, marvelous food and drink, and impeccable service. The check in lobby is the most beautiful part: When you enter, Spiaggia in silver lettering and several walls of wine bottles greet you. The inside is sleek and modern with long, narrow rows of glass tables and black chaises. Tall columns line the rows and cylinder lamps shine above.


The stunning interiors of Spiaggia.



Cylntdrical lamps hang from the Spiaggia cielings.


An impressive array of food and drink was served for Ferragosto, served buffet style. There was plenty of Italian cheese such as Grana Padano, a hard, slow-ripened cheese, similar to Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh oysters, cheese-wrapped salamis, bright, green and tri-colored tomato salads with feta cheese and fresh basil, roasted fingerling potatoes, wine, Henriot champagne in extra large bottles, and mixed cocktails. Delicious gelatos with flavors such as lemoncello, blackberry basil, and Nutella chocolate, accompanied in mini cones, dazzled our taste buds as a grand finale to the amazing dinner buffet. I saw many a guest, slurping oyster after oyster! Luckily for me, there was plenty of vegetarian food and I ate heartily.


People line up for the delicious buffet.


Italian cheese Grana Padano samples.



Cheese and salami bites.


A guest helps herself to the salad bar.


Tomato and greens salads with feta.


A volunteer pours glasses of Henriot champagne.


In addition to the food buffet and drink samples, there were also freebies passed out by Aperol Spritz Break, a cocktail drink brand that advertized with t-shirts, flip flops, and bandanas in bright orange, the brand’s color. (The cocktail’s recipe included Prosecco, Aperol, and soda).



Aperol Spritz Break.


Overall, it was a wonderful, successful evening celebrating Ferragosto. I had never heard of the holiday, and this event provided me with an experience in which I learned about Italian culture and tradition, with a contemporary and Chicago flare, in the heart of downtown.



Photos: Jennifer Lunz



All-inclusive tickets were $150 per person, and a portion of proceeds will be donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities - CNI.


Tickets were purchased at this website



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