Summer is over. Even if we had a warmer fall in Milan this year, I am already missing June a lot. When I want to pretend it is not raining outside I think about my lunch in the backyard of Al Fresco back at the end of September. What better way to defeat the cold and the fog?
A visit to the quite new restaurant in via Tortona is worth your time regardless the weather conditions. Besides the appearance, undeniably fascinating, that makes it one of the most pleasant places on the warm days, the kitchen is also playing a big role here. Simple dishes and lots of green.
Kokichi Takahashi, Japanese chef who has been helping the cooks Aimo and Nadia for years, delivers courses that have been prepared with first quality ingredients, served with no frills.
Exquisite raw ingredients and special attention to the vegetables make this restaurant particularly vegan-friendly. For example the wild chicory with mugnoli (a vegetable from Salento, Apulia), the roasted mountain potatoes and caramelized Tropea onions are excellent.
The same for the gazpacho with lemon scented bulgur wheat and seasonal vegetables, a touch of colour and freshness even in the gloomy days. Meat eaters can find satisfactions too, starting from spaghetti with almond pesto, sun dried tomatoes and mullet fish eggs up to meat balls, potatoes and green sauce.
For my lunch I opted for a fassone meat tartare with celery, ginger and lemon, garnished with salad.
Somebody overindulged and chose some baked pullet breast, with mashed potatoes, sweet corn on the cob and buckwheat bread.
For dessert I went for a delicious maracuja cake with ice cream on the side.
The veranda and the large internal space make Al Fresco perfect for going out in autumn and winter too, where you can enjoy the view on the outside in front of a nice glass of wine.
May it be for the paper plates, may it be for the environment, Al Fresco has managed to become “the place” in the Tortona neighbourhood, a meeting point for good food lovers in the city of Milan, thanks to a backyard garden where it feels to be anywhere but in the city.
In one year time from the opening Al Fresco has gained the approval of both critics and customers. Being something in the middle between a cottage, an Occitan venue and an Italian bistro has made it a hot place.
The guys at the restaurant room are nice, although the fact that you can’t reserve a table – and therefore have to wait in a queue – is really annoying. The place is very popular, especially between families in the area. A lot of people enjoy their table even after finishing their meal. After all the signature phrase of the restaurant is “ Meeting point with kitchen”. That is to say, you don’t only come here to eat.
Spending about thirty euros and going out with your hunger not satisfied is not an impossible mission. The managers must have understood that the format works (and that, probably, the residents of the area don’t have problems spending money) and the extra charge is justified by the nice environment and by the prime quality ingredients.
Via Savona, 50
+39 02 4953 3630
Open every day at lunch (12:30/15:30) and at dinner (19:30/00:30), closed on Monday
Read the original article on Conosco un Posto. All English versions are translated by Tamara Ilic.