My birthday: the perfect occasion to try a place I’d had in mind for a long time, so much so that it made into onto my 2017 wishlist? Everyone and anyone had already been talking about Seta. The industry’s main newspapers and reviews, Tripadvisor users and even Michelin, which at the end of November awarded the restaurant with its second star, earned just two years after its opening.
My persistence paid off: I spoke about it so much that at the end I was lucky enough to be brought to this splendid restaurant located inside the splendid Mandarin Oriental, on via Andegari in Milan in the heart of the famed Quadrilatero della Moda. They’re insane, you’re probably thinking. And you’re absolutely right. Everything here is crazy: the luxury and elegance of the place, the kindness of the staff and especially the bill at the end. If you’re curious to find out how it all ended, here’s a review of my experience!
Pugliese chef Antonio Guida‘s cooking draws heavily from Italian tradition but is given a modern, slightly Oriental twist highlighted by his extensive use of seaweed and spices. A great start. The menu isn’t very long (which is something I approve of) and has about 5 options for every moment of the meal, that go anywhere from fresh catches, to fish and vegetables. As you would expect at a restaurant of this calibre, aside from what you order you will start off with the traditional “welcome from the chef” and a series of other mini dishes including a pre-dessert and a small pastry at the end. The bread is delicious and accompanied by two types of butter, a sweet one and a saltier one with seaweed.
Let’s begin with the two appetizers: the warm pigeon terrine with vadouvan spices and chicken giblets, great for carnivores, and a lighter cauliflower served in an almond milk and yuzu sauce with seafood. Between the two, the cauliflower is decisively the better built one, and comes together beautifully with the rest of the dish.
Let’s continue with the two first courses, the spaghetti with an Italian friselle, artichoke and red shrimp sauce and the seafood sagne with a cream of tripe and shellfish. The spaghetti was fantastic but, in all honesty, it wasn’t shrimp we were talking about but a “trail” of shrimp (I don’t believe there were any more than two). The sagne dish was a nice experiment (although the presentation left a lot to be desired, in my opinion), but I found the combination of tripe and shellfish to be slightly risky.
To top it all off, out came the bar with grapefruit-infused potatoes and clams in a seafood sauce, and the roasted turbot with lentils, caviar, mimosa and a rosemary miso sauce. Sublime taste, and even better cooking. Both dishes were well executed, and served in adequate portions.
For dessert, we shared a melting apple with a pomegranate and litchi sauce, brioche gelato and Cognac: not unforgettable.
We enjoyed our meal with a bottle of Ribolla gialla, followed by two flutes of Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque champagne with dessert. I would say that it was especially these four glasses that made a difference. The final sensation, even after a few days, is that the dishes were well prepared and served nicely, with a particular attention to the presentation, but didn’t fully hit the mark. You know those recipes you taste and that you can’t stop thinking about for days? In my case, after dinner here, it didn’t happen.
Seta is housed in the splendid Mandarin Oriental in Milan. Having been lucky enough to stay in hotels of the chain on previous occasions, I was expecting the best. And Milan’s is no exception: a super central location, attention to detail and courteous service. If you come here, you can use one of the many methods of public transportation located around the hotel, including the metro stop on the red line, Duomo, or the one on the yellow line, Montenapoleone. If you choose to come by car, parking is free, and I would almost say “I sure hope so”!
The ambiance at Seta is that of an international hotel, with an added touch of warmth. Oftentimes the risk of dining in a hotel’s restaurant is that the atmosphere can be rather cold and unwelcoming. Here, it’s quite the opposite: the elements of green velvet add a touch of warmth to the rooms of the restaurant, and all in all the atmosphere is lovely. If you go during the summer months, there’s even a beautiful outdoor area. The service is – obviously – very courteous, although the waiters were somewhat vague in describing the dishes. The final tour of the kitchen did however help us better understand the food.
I’m going to be concise on the bill: for everything described in this article, the total came to 528 euros. I’ll let you be the judge of that.
SETA @ MANDARIN HOTEL
Via Andegari 9, Milan
+39 02 87318888
Open everyday (Monday-Friday 12:30-2:30pm and Monday-Saturday 7:30pm-10:30pm)
Read the original article on Conosco un Posto. This English version translated by Kelsey Rivett.