In Chicago, where the streets are lined with countless Italian dining options, being the chef of the only four-star Italian restaurant is nothing to scoff about. And Tony Mantuano knows it.
Focused on serving authentic Italian cuisine and offering casual, welcoming hospitality, Mantuano puts Spiaggia in a class of its own. Mantuano did not set out to achieve culinary greatness.
Growing up Italian in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Mantuano’s family was all about food. His grandparents owned an Italian grocery, and as a result Mantuano spent a lot of time soaking up the importance and culture of food.
Realizing he needed to make ends meet after studying music in college, Mantuano took a job in a restaurant. He’s been cooking ever since.
After several years in cooking, Mantuano drew the interest of a restaurant owner in Chicago. He moved in 1982 for a job at (now extinct) Pronto restaurant.
Before rolling up his sleeves in the Spiaggia kitchen, Mantuano and his wife spent a year in Italy, courtesy of the restaurant’s owner Larry Levy. While there, Mantuano studied authentic Italian cuisine and put in time at 3-star Michelin Dal Pescatore as well as renowned Da Romano.
After the opening of Spiaggia in 1984, Mantuano quickly became one of Chicago’s most acclaimed Italian chefs. Today, the kitchen at Spiaggia churns out simple dishes that focus on three or four terrific ingredients.
Tony Mantuano for Spiaggia
980 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611