A space you do not expect, an enchanted cave kept in a period building in the heart of the historic and lively San Marco district in Milan. Restaurant La Gioia amazes at first glance: at the entrance you are greeted by a long and well-stocked bar counter in retro style for those who want to drink a cocktail or a glass of wine and relax a bit more in this convivial atmosphere, before lunch or dinner. From here you enter a large room, halfway between a (spectacular) private house and a greenhouse: the ceiling recreates an exposed beams effect, on which climbs a dense vegetation that then falls scenically on the walls. The latter overflow with life, memories and everyday life: every square centimeter is occupied by mirrors, paintings, plates, shelves full of objects, flower vases, lamps, while large niches all around store dozens of vintage wine bottles. The result is a warm, intimate and reassuring environment, which immediately puts the customer at ease and at the same time delivers an elegant and worldly appeal.
The menu, based on the use of excellent raw materials, entirely processed in the restaurant’s kitchen, is based on a traditional Italian proposal, with some international influence and a contemporary touch. The menu is an ode to the unending turmoil that agitates a grandmother’s cuisine: among the appetizers, the “burrata and pappa”, a successful marriage between two traditions that give so many satisfactions to the palate, the Tuscan and Apulian, patanegra of Nebrodi or egg and truffle.
La Gioia also offers many fish proposals, for those who want to have a light meal without sacrificing taste, such as the red tuna tartare with Camone tomato and Tropea onions, the king Crab salad with Datterino tomatoes, avocado and olives or the Mazara shrimps cruditè. Among first courses stands out one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, the “Cacio e Pepe” pasta, served directly in a form of 36 months-aged black crust pecorino cheese, to which true gourmets can add some black uncinatum truffle flakes. Elseways, for those who want to continue with the taste of the sea, a dish of Monograno Felicetti linguine with lobster is available on the menu. As for the second courses, there is no shortage of regional classics such as the Milanese cutlet, evergreen dishes that provide for all tastes as the steak, with some incursion across the Alps with the Chateaubriand, the lobster with Beurre Blanc or tuna and fois gras.
The desserts settle on tradition: it is not to be missed the classic tiramisu with chocolate cream prepared by the chef and served at the moment, and the refreshing lemon sorbet, a joy for the eyes as well as for the palate because it is theatrically completed at the table in front of the diner’s eyes.