Spiaggia has always been on my list of places to try in the city (and even more so after Sarah G had a great run on Top Chef) but we were not in the mood to drop serious coin for that experience (we just went to Trotter's in feb after all). Cafe Spiaggia is the little sibling situated across the hall and is more affordable and approachable than the flagship. Unfortunately it appears you do get what you pay for because our experience at the Cafe was far from stellar and would make a return trip to try the full monty a lot less likely (probably an unfair judgement). Everything was a bit off for our meal - we sat in the first table right by the door and no privacy, service was attentive but almost too fast, food was mediocre and the pricing is not "value oriented." I don't mean to rag too severely but that sentence sums it up quite well. We were in and out in a blink of an eye with a decent whole in our wallet (and not that satisfied).
We started with a house salad, mozzarella plate (mozzarella di bufala, ramps, pistachios, orange zest, Controne pepper, Spiaggia extra virgin olive oil ) and one of the house specialties (something pork wrapped?). Didn't love the special and the salad was fine. The mozzarella was nice and didn't seem over the top awesome for $11. We also had an order of the meatballs which was also bland and surprising since I always think of hearty meatballs being an Italian staple.
The main course was pasta - my choice was Tagliatelle (black pepper tagliatelle, ramps, spring onions, toasted almonds, lemon zest, Pecorino Romano) and Erica made the smarter move of Gnocchi with
wild boar ragu and Parmigiano Reggiano. By far the best dish of the night was the gnocchi with a tasty ragu sauce. My tagliatelle sounded much better than it tasted - pasta too al dente for my liking and not enough cheese and/or oil and/or salt.
In the end we didn't love our meal (rushed, expensive and surprisingly bland food) and likely won't return though I might be tempted to see what Spiaggia can do.