Spezia: Top Italian in the Middle of Omaha

Martha’s Pick:

Spezia
3125 S 72nd St
Fare: Italian
Cost: $115 for two drinks, one appetizer, two salads, two meals and two desserts
Reservations: Recommended

Greetings, eaters and readers!

Truth be told, Spezia has been on my radar since I moved to Omaha almost 10 years ago – for no other reason than I drove by it *all*the*time* and wondered if it was any good. Up until I researched it before our meal, I hadn’t really heard much about it in all this time, either. How long has it been open? Was it an Omaha staple and favorite? Was it worth the multiple money signs shown on review sites? My March pick felt like a good time as any to answer my own questions and see what Spezia had to offer.

Jaclyn’s pretty little drink was a Poloma Italiana. It had Milagro Reserve Tequila, Campari, grapefruit, lime and agave. Each flavor seemed to come through evenly and she casually sipped it through the appetizer.

Once my eyes saw Bellini, I didn’t give it a second thought. Spezia’s version had Moscato d’Asti, Chambord and peach purée. Let it be known – I’ve never met a Bellini I didn’t love and Spezia’s was no different. Delicious all the way to the plop of purée left at the bottom – I really enjoyed it.

Hot Artichoke Crab Dip – $10.95

Of all the appetizers offered, Jaclyn and I were instantly on the same page about trying the hot artichoke and crab dip. The bowl was overflowing with bubbly deliciousness and accompanied by plenty of toasty bread pieces and pita triangles. A fresh squeeze of lemon to top it off, we both felt like the meal and evening was off to a mouthwatering start.

Table Bread

If there’s one thing you can count on at an Italian restaurant, it’s more bread. We wasted no time dipping our warm, soft table bread into the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and parmesan concoction created by our waitress. I forget how much I love a good oil/balsamic mixture. And call me sheltered, but I’d never had it with parmesan mixed in. The parm made it slightly thicker than your normal dipping mixture – and I’m a fan.

When asked about salads, we probably should have clarified whether or not they were included with our meals. They were not. In retrospect, with the appetizer and complimentary bread perfectly satisfying, I would have gone without the salad had I realized they didn’t come with the entrées.

I got the Caesar which was a simple, yummy version of the menu staple. Jaclyn got the Spezia. Between the balsamic dressing and Kalamata olives, it was a little too tart for her taste.

Beef Burgundy – $18.95

When I originally settled on Spezia as my March pick, I was confident I was in the mood for steak. But then a menu of pasta and other deliciously creamy words ended up in front of me – and I went round and round trying to decide. Then I saw the Beef Burgundy- angus beef, cremini and portobello mushrooms in a burgundy cream sauce with fettuccine; it read like the answer to my indecisiveness.

Now, I am not a fan of mushrooms, but I knew I’d be excited for the whole plate – everything altogether. And I’m so glad I didn’t let the presence of mushrooms deter me from ordering. Everything about the flavor was a balanced delight for my taste buds. If only the portion were bigger, I would have loved to take some home for lunch the next day.

Cheese Ravioli – $17.95

The menu prices may or may not have swayed Jaclyn toward the ravioli. (Maybe next time, $38 tenderloin.) Nevertheless, she savored her cheese-filled noodle pockets doused in house marinara and – of course – more cheese.

Banana Fosters Cheesecake – $7.95

Before we even discussed dessert, I said to Jaclyn, “Screw you, I’m getting cheesecake.” As she is not a fan, we rarely order it for an end-of-the-evening shared dessert. And usually I yield to her. But this time – I was going to stand my ground in the name of Bananas Foster cheesecake – and I’m glad I did. The coolness of the cheesecake, the warm, sugary sauce and bananas … it was a near-perfect ending to my meal.

Rustic Apple Galette – $7.95

Unwilling to risk her sweet tooth, Jac feasted her eyes on the Rustic Apple Galette. Neither of us knew what a Galette was, but soon learned it’s a flat, round cake used for pastries. Now, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I liked her dessert the teeniest bit more than mine. The apples tasted freshly sliced and were lightly coated in a warm, cinnamon glaze. Perfectly nestled into its light, flaky home and accompanied by caramel-topped ice cream — this dessert was magnifico!

Final Bites

We really don’t think you can go wrong with anything on Spezia’s menu. And considering we tried and liked 9 items off their list, we’re pleased to give them two forks up. Italian restaurants are sparse in Omaha, and we absolutely suggest you meet friends and family in the middle to give Spezia a whirl.

Cheers!
Martha and Jaclyn

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