Milan- your favorite old world places for dinners please
Hi looking for your favorite old world/old school in Milano for 3 dinners, money no object- thanks in advance
Well if you want old school and price is no object you should probably hit Savini in the Galleria.
This place rested on its history and laurels for quite some time and then it was totally renovated about two years ago. I haven't eaten there because price is an object for me but it has received positive reviews for trying to both renew its traditions and bring its kitchen into the 21st century. I've heard there is a more modern menu but the classics are always available.
Bagutta is old school and does a mix of Tuscan and Milanese cuisine. It's pretty touristy and not the best meal you'll ever have but it has a neat atmosphere. I think you can probably steer clear but you can see photos here and see if their old school vibe is what you are looking for .
For old school dishes, it doesn't get more old school than Al Matarel. I couldn't find a website for you but here is the phone. 02.654204. It's not much to look at inside but their dishes are very traditional--think sweetbreads and frog legs--and good. The service here is really kind of snooty and if you don't have passable restaurant Italian I would steer clear because it's the kind of place that will conveniently add a euro here or there. They also don't take credit cards.
I saved the best for last. I think Trattoria della Pesa is not going to let you down. I'll let the NYT say it better than me.
The food here is old school. It is prepared well but these dishes are not rocket science. They are not innovative takes on old classics but rather the classics themselves. They made it the same way 50 or 100 years ago. I can't be in the mind of the people who posted those negative reviews but they weren't exactly substantial critiques.
It's laughable to say that restaurant is in a bad neighborhood. Milan and Italy in general is filled with graffiti so compared to most places in the States (if that's where your from) it looks dodgy. There's also a bunch of construction going on near there. Della Pesa is about five minutes walking away from Corso Como which is one of the see and be seen hangouts in Milan. It is about 10 minutes walking or less from Corso Garibaldi and the Moscova metro stop where on any given weekend night you'll be treated to your own personal front row seat at fashion week as well as lots of dudes who will sell you roses or fake bags. Bottom line is that for a 100mq apartment in this neighborhood you can easily pay 500k euro.
If you head for any of these restaurants searching for the food to be synonymous with words like, 'light,' 'inspired,' or 'creative' you may very well find yourself writing a negative review on NYT or Chowhound for that matter. You probably shouldn't go in the summer because you can't eat ossobuco when it's 85 degrees and humid. It is expensive, but you said money is no object.
If you want similar food in a place that's a little more down to earth and not as expensive go to Trattoria degli Orti--Via Monviso 13. I've written about it on Chowhound before and personally prefer it over Della Pesa. It's a little out of the way but still centrally located. You could take a cab there but they might have to call for one when you are ready to leave. I didn't mention it here because it's not the kind of place you send someone who says "money is no object." Sometimes the house wine is plonk, it can get really hot and often the service is slow. But for some reason, its character trumps all these shortcomings.
My last disclaimer is I listed only old school Milanese places. There are a plenty of classic places in Milan but not all of them do Lombard cooking.
I recently read a good review - and several concurring opinions from Milanesi - on an Italian food blog of L'Altra Isola for classic Milanese dishes. A gruff host/owner who has had, so the story goes, the same Chinese cook for 30 years.