Tasteful suggestions for discovering a greener side of Milan this summer. Here’s the latest news.
Until a few years ago, spending the summer in Milan would have been unthinkable (unless you are prepared to be mocked). The numbing heat at this time of year, and at least until the end of August, is a fixed appointment that leaves no escape. But the face of the city is constantly evolving, and the hallmark nightlife attitude of Milanese is now moving in a new direction, more focused on the concept of civic awareness. Milan has never greener than now, communal spaces are multiplying in the shadow of avant-garde urban projects, and the energy stimulates the desire to go out and discover how the city changes, enjoying it. During summer, we need oases for a little respite from the heat, eat and drink well, spend a nice evening outdoors or a pleasant lunch break, albeit quick. Here is a review of the most interesting and curious new places, for eating outdoors in Milan: suggestions for all budgets and for all palates.
Caffè in Giardino at Triennale: For some time the art centre of viale Alemagna has embraced the cause of fine dining, rethinking its spaces also as a dining venue at the height of the historical museum space. So aside from the classic aperitif or a dinner in Terrazza, with a view of Parco Sempione (and the cuisine of Stefano Cerveni), Caffè in Giardino also recently opened, overlooking the Bagni Misteriosi di Giorgio De Chirico. Additionally, enhanced by the recent team addition of Cristian Marasco, experienced pizza chef currently at the helm of Triennale Social Pizza. In the garden the menu will include different variations on focaccia, cooked at low temperature in a pan, then blast frozen and regenerated at high temperature, before being completed with varied toppings. 7 seasonal proposals, from vegan Napoli Parma, to delicious focaccia with purple potatoes, stracciatella and red prawns. The trendy Italian Cirasci by Stefano Cerveni is sticky rice served in a bowl, seasoned with traditional Mediterranean ingredients. Cocktails, wine, bubbles and accompanying snacks are served under the pergola or at the social table, also for the aperitif.
Viale Alemagna, 6 – open noon to 9.30pm
Social Market Fish&Chips: At Darsena we discover another idea of the same group, born as a take away rib of Vista Darsena, but within the Piazza XXIV Maggio marketplace. In fact, a fish and chips fryer (also with shrimp and aubergines, or chicken with yogurt sauce), are served with a particular batter devised by Cerveni: rice flour and beer. Plus homemade sauces. The packaging is ideal for take-out, but stopping for a drink munching the weekly fried special on the outdoor patio or on one of the big pillows with views of the Darsena is an equally pleasant experience.
Piazza XXVI maggio – open 9am to 2am
Il dehors di Giuseppe Zen at Mercato della Darsena: Again in the food hub of Darsena is the latest brainchild of the master of Zen, the true matador of the market, now with 4 projects (Macelleria Popolare, Resistenza Casearia, Panificio Italiano, and Tagliatella), one different from the other, but all founded on the same, indomitable defense of genuine products and authentic ingredients. Now, available to customers is also a beautiful terrace (with vegetable garden) overlooking the water. A must for the summer? Milk (Salvaderi) and mint (from the vegetable garden) to be sipped on the terrace.
Piazza XXVI Maggio
Pandenus in Gae Aulenti: The latest (and very recent) opening for the Filippo Lecardane group, which at the end of 2017 crossed paths with Enrico Bartolini. So, after the Locanda with bistro in via Mercato, a second large space opened inside the Coima building, in view of the Vertical Forest on the other side of the square. The restaurant lives all day: it’s open for coffee breaks (with Gianni Frasi’s coffee), for breakfast and lunch, cocktail bar, bistro and even pizzeria (pies baked in an electric oven), a true debut in the pizza world for the Mudec chef. Here we are particularly interested in highlighting the beautiful architecture modulating the modern interior with the outdoor space, whose tables are arranged under the umbrellas playing with the space out front.
Piazza Gae Aulenti, 12
Nicol: On Corso Italia, in the shadow of the Torre Velasca, this place has been in business for some time, but nowadays it’s what we call an evolved neighbourhood bar. The merit goes all to Luca Mortillaro, who has invested in repurposing his family local, and redeveloping the sidewalk in front, with regular City permits. It’s now possible therefore to relax in the patio/terrace on the street, amid lush plants, sofas and in the shade of umbrellas. The offer includes specialty coffee, breakfast desserts, cocktails and a cold table focusing on quality products.
Piazza Bertarelli, 4
Mio Lab at Hotel Park Hyatt Milano: Oscar Quagliarini arrived at the cocktail bar of the elegant hotel in Galleria (which also boasts Andrea Aprea’s cuisine, also for the new bistro Cupola). So the bar counter turns into a lab, playing on Tarot imagery, with a cocktail list that becomes a deck of cards (with drawings by the graphic novel artist Sergio Gerasi). Answers to questions are provided by native Roman bartender, whose experiences in Italy and abroad (among his latest projects Herbarium in Paris, for the National Hotel des arts et metiers), who is famous for his inexhaustible creative vein. Guests have fun discovering the Matto and La Papessa, La Temperanza and L’Eremita inspired by Italian Tarot cards. Or consult the bouquet of fragrances that inspire Quagliarini’s research and his signature cocktails. Obviously, here is also an outdoor space: an evocative green area directly overlooking the Galleria.
Via Silvio Pellico, 3 – dalle 17 all’1
Paper Moon Giardino: Certainly nothing new for those acquainted with the Milanese dining scene, Paper Moon has been serving traditional cuisine in the city since 1977, in a classic context without particular peaks, and in the meantime becoming an export franchise (in places like Beirut, Hong Kong and Manila). Now the historical restaurant in Via Bagutta joins adds to its proposal an outdoor restaurant in the secret garden of Palazzo Reina, also in Via Bagutta. The project was supervised by AB Concept, and also includes an indoor space and a cocktail bar serving food at the counter. But the real gem is the garden redesigned with wrought iron tables, a truly unexpected space in the city centre. On the menu are many raw meat and fish dishes, and classic seafood cuisine.
Via Bagutta, 12
Photo Marco Scarano
Tranvai: A few months ago, the historic 1928 tram number 1522 housed inside the Parco della Martesana has been transformed into a bar with terrace open morning to evening. In the past, this was a popular meeting place for grabbing beers and ice cream, and many habitual park-goers were broken hearted when it closed. The recovery of the space is owed to 4 Milan natives who restored life back to Tranvai at the beginning of spring. Open from breakfast (at 10am), it’s great for a quick lunch or an aperitif, to work on one’s laptop or take a breater after a run. The menu alternates hamburgers and Apulian charcuterie and cheese boards, cocktails and soft drinks. But it’s the actual place that makes the difference, including the live music.
Via Gianfranco Zuretti – open 10 am to 2 am
Ristorante Torre in Fondazione Prada: It’s impossible not to mention the terrace overlooking the sixth floor of the Rem Koolhaas Tower, which hosts the Italian-style restaurant of the Fondazione Prada, among the exquisite terraces of the Milanese summer.
Largo Isarco, 2
Exit: The team format has already been tested, with the patronage of Matias Perdomo and Thomas Piras (Contraste) re-thinking an old kiosk as a modern evolution of the urban chiringuito. Kudos have not been long in coming, and the kiosk-bistrot of piazza Erculea enjoys many loyal and curious patrons who come to try out the kitchen’s daily specials. From the outset, the goal was to revive a forgotten corner of the city: now the outdoor tables and umbrellas make this mission even more solid.
by Livia Montagnoli
translated by Eleonora Baldwin