MILAN — Sant Ambroeus, which has always had a cult-like following in Milan, is reopening here Monday at its original location with a new look.
The pastry shop — named after Sant Ambrogio, the patron saint of Milan — opened its doors in 1936 and last year became part of SA Hospitality Group, founded in 2003 by Gherardo Guarducci and Dimitri Pauli, which brought the Sant Ambroeus legacy to New York. Pauli’s family owned the Milan location until 1982. SA Hospitality Group owns and operates the Sant Ambroeus units in Madison Avenue, and in Manhattan’s West Village and in Southampton, New York, among others, as well as Casa Lever at the Lever House and Felice Restaurants and Wine Bars.
“The goal was always to one day reunite with the original Milan location,” said Guarducci, the group’s executive chairman.
Milan is teeming with new hospitality offers, from the Ferragamo family’s Portrait hotel to the Cipriani club. While Guarducci admitted there is “a new economic vitality in Milan and businesses want to participate,” in the case of Sant Ambroeus, timing was “a coincidence. We’ve wanted to do this for many years, it wasn’t planned to fit this particular moment. We very much believe in the U.S. market, but we wanted to be a single family.”
Guarducci said guests “will find an experience greatly informed by American consistency, Italian hospitality and Milanese history.”
He turned to architect Fabrizio Casiraghi, who focused on enhancing the space as an institution, employing classic materials such as marble, mosaics and stone that reflect Milan’s architecture and design, sophisticated yet warm and welcoming, with plush sofas and seats in a sage green velvet and toasted coconut shade. White crests from Lombardy cities stand out on mahogany planks on the walls. He worked to harmonize the interior of the restaurant with the exterior of the building, which dates back to 1930.
The project was headed by Gaetano Guarducci, vice president of business development and operations, who oversaw the renovation and construction of the restaurant. “I came to Milan to follow the construction and make sure the restaurant opens keeping the same DNA that the brand has had here since 1936,” he said.
Open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week, Sant Ambroeus still has its legendary and extensive pastry offering, but will be more focused on the restaurant proposition than in the past — “almost like a luxury brasserie,” said Gherardo Guarducci.
The menu, overseen by Iacopo Falai, includes American staples such as New England-style lobster rolls, Caesar salads and hamburgers, but also traditional local dishes such as cotoletta alla Milanese or spaghetti al pomodoro, and site-specific specialties, such as parsley linguine from Pastificio Mancini with red shrimp from Mazara del Vallo, a parsley sauce, shrimp bisque and chili pepper.
The restaurant will also serve seasonal dishes. The wine menu will consist mostly of Italian varieties, with a selection of biodynamic and natural wines.
The Sala Isabella, which accommodates around 50 guests for private events, will reopen in September.