Milan (this weekend!)
I am flying to Milan on Thursday night for a long, decadent weekend of food, art, and shopping. I have received many suggestions and, naturally, searched this site in full. Still, I have some questions for those "in the know"...
1) Seafood: Moon Fish, Il Consolare, Ostena da Fiore, Il Sambuco, or Ristorante Mediterranea?
2) What else has the "mom & pop" charm of Aimo e Nadia?
3) Anyone heard of Da Cesare? Ciovassino?
4) Gelato: Umberto; Marghera; any other musts?
Generally speaking, I am seeking homecooking that is off the beaten path and unlikely to be found in the average guidebook. Rustic, small, fun, hearty, simple and robust are adjectives that come to mind.
I am staying in the Navigli district. Although I will most likely pass my evenings in Navigli and Brera, I am not opposed to going out of my way for an exceptional experience, Also, I will be all over the city by day and have every intention to check out Brek, Peck, and anything else that anyone can come up with to help me make my days complete!
Also, while I am not particularly interested in "the scene" as much as I am passionate cooking, I would like to have at least one dinner that captures the cosmopolitan/fashion-forward climate of the city.
I know this a lot to ask and do not expect too many responses but any suggestions are welcome with very appreciative arms!
Jimmy-Aimo e Nadia is a great place. I had a fantastic
Capone (Capon) in a broth that was flavored with white truffles there. I can still taste it. A place in Milan that I love is Alfredo Gran San Bernardo. It's the most upscale of the Milanese trattorias, yet still casual and homey. It's in the area they call Monumentale which is the name of the cemetary with the crazy looking Mausoleum that is about 10 blocks West of Piazza della Republica. They serve all of the typical Milanese dishes there. My favorite meal is Riso al Salto, a pancake made from Saffron Risotto and Cassouella which is a stew of pig parts and cabbage served with a cloud of polenta on the side. Sort of like choucroute without brined cabbage. Gigantic Osso Buco too, replete with spoon for the marrow. And in truffle season (you might still be in under the wire) it isn't unusual to see Alfredo himself working the room with a truffle the size of a tennis ball in his hand. Great wine list at reasonable prices. In my opinion it's the real Milanese experience.
A place with a similar menu but way downscale (yet still chic) is Antica Tratorria dela Pesa. It's been there for over a hundred years. Classic Milanese dishes with a slant towards a more Northern Italian cuisine showing influences from Austria. And it's cheap.
Don't waste a dinner on the fashion/city scene. Lunch in the Golden Triangle is a better. The obvious ones are Bice, Bagutta (my favorite) and Paper Moon.
Intersting e-mail address; a nod to the Weir/Barlow tune perhaps? Anyway, I hope the following helps:
Ripa di Porta Ticinese 61
Al Pont de Ferr
Ripa di Porta Ticinese 55
Wonderful little spot. Rustic rough-hewn tables, equally rustic food: pastas, polenta, salumi, etc. Really excellent wine list for a small, unprepossessing place like this. In your neighborhood.
Via Speronari 4
Osteria dei Binari
Via Tortona 1
Highly atmospheric place right on the edge of the Navigli district, near the Porta Genovese station. Assuming chilly weather, you'll walk in and find a roaring fire in the huge, open-hearth fireplace. Really more like a Lombard inn than anything. The menu has no prices; it's a fixed-price deal (about $30-35, as I recall), and for each course there are several items for you to choose from. Very intelligent wine list, fairly priced. One of my favorite places in the city.
I hit another place this past April that I rather liked, as well, but I'll have to go home to look up the name and address and post it tomorrow.
re: David Russell
Yes, David, you spotted my GD roots!
Anyway, thanks for the great tips. If you can recall the name/address of the other restaurant you were referring to, great!
Binari and Al Pont de Ferr sound like perfect examples of what I am after.
And to everybody else, all your tips were quickly incorporated into my walking notes, too! Thanks so much.
I *THINK* this is the place I was trying to think of:
Grand Hôtel Pub
Via Ascanio Sforza, 75
Milano (Navigli district)
Tel. 02/89511586 and 02/89516153
I've been wanting to try Alfredo Gran San Bernardo for a long time, and now Steve P's description has really got me salivating. Any chance you could check it out for us and report back?
"If the thunder don't getcha, then the lightnin' will."
Can't speak to food altho I recall having a good meal at a CIGA hotel there, but as I remember within in close proximity you'll find La Scala (the opera house), a very nice galleria (called I believe, The Galleria), and a cathedral upon which roof you can walk (good photo opp). There's also a pretty chic lobby bar in the Four Seasons.
My wife and I were in Milan a little over 1 year ago.
1) For seafood, try "al Porto" (Piazza Cantore), not far at all from the Navigli.
2) For traditional Milanese cooking, try "Trattoria Milanese" (via Santa Marta), which is somewhere near the Last Supper painting.
3) The only "da Ceasare" I know of is in the village of Albaretto de la Torre, in the Langhe region. It is one of the great restaurants in Italy but is a 2 hour drive from Milan. It is worth the trip!
4) "Bice", near the Via Montenapoleone, is a bit of a scene, with models, politicians, etc. Try the gorgonzola risotto!
Finally, consult Fred Plotkin's "Italy for the Gourmet Traveler." Have a great trip!
Al Porto is considered by most to be the best seafood restaurant in Milan. Fresh sardines and frito misto are both extraordinary.
My wife and I had a very bad experience at Bice where they grouped ourselves (Americans) in a room with several other American and Asian couples while all of the Italians ate in the other rooms. The food was OK but the experience was an insult that I have never found anywhere else in twenty years of dining in Europe.
Scarlotta has the second highest food rating in Milan in the Gault-Millau guide from several years ago (17 out of 20). The highest rated restaurant in that guide is a two star that moved out of the city but Scarlotta is still there. It is superb. Expensive but one of the better meals in the entire country.
da Fiore is in Venice, 150 miles east.