ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Langosteria is aiming high — literally.
The Italian premium seafood restaurant in January opened its first high altitude location in St. Moritz with a spacious terrace offering a stunning view of the Alps.
In a typical chalet, Chesa Chantarella, the restaurant has direct access to the ski slopes of the Corviglia complex and visitors can reach it by cableway, by car or by horse-drawn carriage — swathed in furry blankets.
This is also the ideal setting for Langosteria’s first collaboration with Moncler, whose signature duck character MonDuck stands out in a supersized version wearing a red co-branded puffer on the terrace, while smaller models appear as table decorations.
“We are becoming a global brand, with strategic locations around the world,” proudly says founder and chief executive officer of Gruppo Langosteria Enrico Buonocore, as this is the seventh Langosteria location and the second outside Italy, after Paris on the seventh floor of the Hotel Cheval Blanc that opened in 2021. “And it’s the perfect counterpart to the seaside establishment in the bay of Paraggi, in Portofino.”
“It caters to the same kind of audience,” concurs Pietro Ruffini, executive board member of Archive, which in 2018 took a 40 percent stake in Gruppo Langosteria. The choice of the location was a natural one, he explains, and the collaboration with Moncler was also seamless because of the brand’s heritage.
“In our family we all ski and we knew this place very well, as there was another restaurant here that was a point of reference in gastronomy,” says Ruffini, who is the son of Moncler chairman and CEO Remo Ruffini.
To be sure, Ruffini senior was soon seen arriving at Langosteria with a group of friends in time for lunch, beaming after a morning of exercise on the slopes. Archive is a family holding company that has also invested in fashion brand The Attico.
Ruffini and Buonocore opted for a venue that isn’t in the center of St. Moritz because of the “many beautiful chalets” nearby — the residences of the target Langosteria patron — and because they believe the restaurants in town rarely are busy at lunch. “We wanted the double exposure,” says Buonocore. To support evening diners, Langosteria offers the additional service of dedicated shuttles.
The décor has been meticulously planned — Buonocore embodies the friendly and cheerful host, but he leaves nothing to chance, just like Pietro Ruffini, who clearly has an active role in the business.
The flooring, for example, is beautiful but sturdy, as it needs to be highly resistant to guests wearing ski boots.
“It was key for us to preserve the mountain spirit,” says Ruffini.
Accordingly, a beautiful fireplace stands in one of the rooms, and sofas, armchairs and seats are upholstered in tartan fabrics. An elegant dark boiserie is a strong element and the overall atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, heightened by the low ceilings.
The interiors were designed by architect Andy Küchel, who has studios in St. Moritz and Zurich — which was important for Buonocore and Ruffini, to be embedded in the Swiss culture.
Niches in the walls ensconce mosaics of some of Langosteria’s main ingredients, such as crab, for example. Carefully planned lighting creates intimate and elegant settings.
Typical Langosteria leitmotifs — such as the multicolored hot-air balloon decorations in different sizes and the metallic pendulum balance toys — pepper the rooms.
Moncler has made 2,000 co-branded uniforms, and white floor-length capes are available for extra warmth for those who decide to eat outside.
Every detail is thought out as the weight of the clothes, the colors and the footwear depend on the role of the employees, whether they serve tables inside or outside. In the latter case, a belted, gunmetal gray padded knee-length dress looks chic yet practical.
Buonocore has been steadily building the Langosteria brand and he explains this progression by “looking at the venture with the eyes of the consumer.” This drives him “to keep raising the bar higher and higher, to bring new, stimulating content. And it’s not dissimilar to what happens in fashion.”
Ruffini recalls how Langosteria had been one of his family’s favorite hangouts for a long time. And they liked what they saw. “We could see that there was a constant evolution and we believe this is necessary. Sameness won’t do it, success comes not only through the preparation of the best dishes, but through a more rounded approach that allows to offer the best experience.”
“You may not remember what you ate, but you remember the experience,” agrees Buonocore.
The St. Moritz location offers the group’s signature dishes, such as the paccheri with sea bass or langoustines and fois gras tartare, with new entries created for the mountains, including the “polenta bianca [maize porridge] with seafood,” or “scallops in paradise” with thin layers of mashed potatoes, and pizza with truffle.
In addition, the collaboration with Caviar Kaspia, introduced in December at Milan’s Langosteria Cucina, has been extended to St. Moritz, where the signature baked potato and the tagliolini Langosteria with caviar can’t be missed. There are also around 700 premium wines and exclusive labels overseen by Valentina Bertini, the group’s corporate wine manager.
The restaurant is led by executive chef Antonio D’Ambrosio and restaurant manager Gianluca Penna, supported by the group’s longtime culinary ambassador, Domenico Soranno.
The Langosteria Group reached sales of 40 million euros in 2022, and Buonocore admits they have received many offers to open restaurants in different locations. “There is an incredible potential but we don’t want to dilute the brand,” he says.
“We don’t want to compromise, we want to go where the brand can benefit from the location, and we always ask ourselves, what would our customers think? This is almost like a club,” concludes Ruffini.