NEW, HOT AND SPICY
Byline: Alessandra Ilari
On the hunt for delicious? This season, visitors will be surprised by an eclectic mix of new offerings. From exotic to Italian to a melting pot, here are three of the hottest places in town.
Luca Guelfi has a reputation in Milan for opening fun and funky bars with the right crowd of people. His latest undertaking is That’s Amore, a bar/restaurant with a touch of Fifties New York.
“The idea is Little Italy and Brooklyn mixed with real Italian cuisine,” said Guelfi, who plans to open a That’s Amore in SoHo in the near future. Honey-colored walls, tables with glazed-glass tops and steel legs, colorful chairs and a candle-lit atmosphere are the New York elements, while the pizza and pastas are quintessentially Italian. As much as reservations are recommended, even at lunch, it’s at Happy Hour that things start to sizzle. The bar becomes a feast of appetizers, while the bartenders vigorously shake cocktails, all made strictly using fresh fruit in season and mint leaves.
A mixed crowd of young men from the financial community, fashionistas and habitues like Domenico Dolce, Stefano Gabbana, Marina Spadafora, soccer stars and Italian TV glitterati, all hang out.
Those who want to linger can stay for dinner. The menu includes fresh pasta with a creamy porcini mushroom sauce, octopus salad with potatoes, grilled steak and a slew of silhouette-friendly pizzas made with a paper-thin pastry and fresh vegetables.
Viale Monte Santo 8; tel. 060626
Zen : A Movable Feast
Zen, Milan’s newest sushi restaurant, had its grand opening Wednesday night, and by Thursday, the lunch crowds were so thick that the owners closed the doors at 1 p.m. Part of the attraction is the fact that it’s Milan’s first sushi bar with a conveyor belt. From the bar in the middle of the high-ceilinged room, Brazilian-born Japanese chef Roberto Okabe leads an international team of chefs in preparing what he calls “nouvelle sushi.”
Inspired by restaurants like Nobu, Okabe produces impossibly delicate cucumber wrapped rolls of flying fish roe, white fish, salmon and leeks in sesame sauce. He also offers his own signature, the Robi Roll, a combination of raw salmon, shrimp, salmon roe, crab and leeks, fried to form an outer tempura edge. Watching the little plates of spicy tuna sashimi, shrimp tempura and ginger ice cream spin down the conveyor belt only adds to the fun. Designed by Milan architect Franco Orsi, Zen follows the principles of feng shui: stones and pebbles are artfully arranged in corners, and tables and the bar area are studded with orchids, lotus plants and birds of paradise flowers.
Zen Sushi is at Via Maddalena 1, at the corner of Corso di Porta Romana; tel. 0039.02.89013557; open noon to 1 p.m. and 8 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Friday; 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday.
10 Corso Como
Not content with having created one of the city’s most fashionable retail complexes, 10 Corso Como, owner Franca Sozzani has added a restaurant to the art gallery, clothing, music and book stores in the Corso Como building.
Open every day, 10 Corso Como Cafe offers a fusion-Italian menu with a bit of everything, including smoked salmon and sour cream blinis; jasmine rice and vegetarian sushi; orecchiette pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and arugula, and candied figs with chocolate sauce. Reflecting the mood of the store, the restaurant mixes Asian and European influences, and the menu, written in Italian, features an Italian-English dictionary for key food words. New York artist Kris Ruhs designed the restaurant, with seating for 160, including garden tables.
The interior space features neutral hues, golden resin floor, a central steel bar flanked by black leather upholstered stools and circular and square tables covered in blue and gray resins. Ruhs also hand-painted the undulating patterns on the glass wall and ceiling panels, and added his own paper vases with fanciful resin coated paper flowers.
10 Corso Como Cafe is located at Corso Como 10; tel. 0039.02.29013581; open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday; closed Monday mornings.