Where Tradition Meets Innovation
TEXT: KIKI DEERE | PHOTOS © ANDREA DI LORENZO
“With its 151 years of history, Savini Milano 1867 is a Milanese institution like the Duomo and La Scala Opera House,” says Sebastian Luca Gatto, CEO of Savini Group.
In the heart of Italy’s oldest shopping centre – the opulent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele – the restaurant has long been a favourite with the world-famous singers, performers and composers at the nearby La Scala Opera House. Legendary Italian soprano Maria Callas was a regular, along with composers Verdi, Puccini and Toscanini.
In the early 20th century, Savini Milano 1867 was also a favourite meeting place for Milan’s intellectuals, writers and artists, including Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti – leader and founder of the group known as ‘the Futurists’. Inspired by the huge innovations happening at the time, from motor cars to aviation, the Futurists celebrated modernity, speed and technology and their historic Futurist Manifesto, signed at the restaurant, was published in French newspaper Le Figaro in 1909.
Many of the restaurant’s famous patrons are referenced in the names of the various dining rooms. The first-floor Sala Toscanini, with its four arched windows offering unparalleled views over the Galleria, houses the restaurant’s most intimate table. Tucked away in a secluded corner, Table Number 7 was a favourite of Callas, who would spend hours here after performing at nearby La Scala Opera House.
In the evenings, live piano entertainment creates a refined sophisticated atmosphere, where guests can experience the elegance of a bygone era.
“Savini Milano 1867 is part of the Locali Storici d’Italia, an association comprising the country’s oldest and most prestigious restaurants, hotels and cafés. Original Belle Époque features have been preserved, while many furnishings are original and date back to the 19th century,” explains Sebastian.
The ground-floor bistro has a more laidback feel, offering customers the chance to enjoy an informal bite, an afternoon tea or an aperitivo in graceful surrounds. Milanese businessmen pop in to sip on a mid-morning cappuccino or for a quick lunch, while visitors passing through the Galleria stop by for a regenerating bite as they explore the city.
Creativity in the Kitchen
The cuisine at Savini Milano 1867 reflects the restaurant’s long heritage. Young Chef Giovanni Bon skilfully blends innovation and tradition while using modern techniques to prepare great Italian classics. He uses both low-temperature vacuum cooking and braising, a combination-cooking method that uses wet and dry heat. “Chef Bon uses a splash of creativity in his dishes with a clear nod to Milanese culinary traditions. He combines classic recipes with new techniques and ideas, enhancing and bringing out the true flavours of each ingredient,” says Sebastian.
Chef Bon carefully selects high-quality ingredients from Italy and beyond, such as lobster and shrimp from Mazara del Vallo in Sicily, and juicy ‘camone’ from Sardinia, reddish-brown tomatoes with a sweet crunchy flavour that are exclusively picked by hand. The menu offers international dishes such as lamb and foie gras, alongside Milanese classics that are strictly prepared following traditional recipes. The city’s much-loved ‘costoletta alla milanese’ is made from the loin of milk-fed veal, coated in breadcrumbs and pan-fried in clarified butter for 11 minutes. Tradition dictates that costoletta must be ‘bone-in’, as it is served at Savini Milano 1867.
Food & Design
Food, creativity and design are inextricably linked at Savini Milano 1867. “Our lamb thigh terrine with pears in Barolo Chinato wine, Greek yoghurt sauce and coriander, perfectly epitomises our participation in the +Gusto al Design project that is part of this year’s Fuorisalone, a series of events and exhibitions that take place during the weeklong Salone del Mobile, Milan’s most important trade fair showcasing the latest in furniture and design.
The idea behind the project is to promote the close relationship between food and design,” explains Sebastian. Beautifully presented with a thin pear wafer, the marinated lamb is served alongside two spoon-shaped candle holders made by young designers Jessica Russo and Kasia Nasilowska. “Savini Milano 1867 has stayed true to its Belle Époque roots, offering traditional Milanese classics alongside more imaginative dishes that bring out the city’s famous creative and innovative spirit.”
+ Gusto al Design offers young designers the opportunity to showcase their creativity by exhibiting design objects in the food and beverage world. The team behind the project comprises renowned iarchitects from interior design studios from around the country, including Massimo Bertani, Professor of Economics at ISIA Florence, Claudia Paoluzzi, Marketing and Digital Communication Expert, Giuseppe Riccardi, CEO of Fondi & Sicav, and Tuorlo Design Studio, a graphic communication and product design studio.