Whoever says people don't dress for dinner anymore hasn't been to Spiaggia lately: the guests are as perfectly appointed as the room. Chef Tony Mantuano offers tasting menus, but on this visit we went full bore and ordered a la carte, starting with sea scallops paired with Italian lentils and cotechino sausage; a trio of pesce cruda; and surprisingly delicate house-marinated anchovies with buffalo mozzarella. Pasta here, as one might expect, is terrific: handmade spaghetti alla chitarra came with sweet lobster, spring garlic, dried tomatoes, and arugula; squid ink and saffron spaghettis with surprisingly meaty Dover sole and baby fennel fronds. Mantuano's risotto is not to be missed, and my grilled pork loin—served with morels, ramps, braised pork cheek, and a chunk of guanciale—was so damn good I felt abandoned when they took the plate away. Desserts, an intense chocolate semifreddo and mouth-puckering lemon panna cotta, were grand, but Spiaggia's cheese program is second to none, with superior offerings like a signature aged cow's milk cheese and a cheese made with grape must and grape seeds, which crunch under your teeth.
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