Milan is a sleepless, tireless, fast city. Its frenzied nature is key to understanding tastes, trends and novelties: in fashion, art and catering. The underlying theme of the most successful new food openings in recent months seems to be Neapolitanity. Locanda Carmelina arrives in via Cadore, a modern Neapolitan trattoria where you can taste the dishes of the Campania tradition.
Locanda Carmelina is welcoming, colorful, homely but not overly so. The name is a tribute to Nanni Arbellini’s mother, the creative mind behind the project. The inn is the last “creature” (for now) of the Arbellini-Puddu-Saturnino triptych, the subjects and faces behind the most profitable new openings in recent years: from Panini Durini, passing through Marghe, Gelsomina, Pizzium, Giolina and the latest arrival, Carmelina.
At the entrance you will be greeted by a very young staff and a bright open kitchen, before entering the main hall, where each tile is a tribute to the most photographed Amalfi Coast in the world. The dominant colors in the room are yellow and blue, the paintings on the walls tell the landscapes of Amalfi and Positano and the ceramics – rigorously hand-painted – bear the signature of Vietri sul Mare. The front wall houses the grandmother’s classic wooden sideboard, full of decorated ceramics, bottles of wine and the inevitable Sorrento lemons.
The journey through the Neapolitan flavors begins with the delicacies: stuffed courgette flowers, pasta omelette, potato croquettes with smoked provola from Agerola, small samples sold by the piece and ideal to share, before diving into the appetizers. Fried anchovies, burrata, cuoppo di mare, eggplant parmigiana, up to the first and second courses. On the menu of the restaurant there are dishes of land and sea: spaghetti alla Nerano, pasta and potatoes, crispy octopus, beef meatballs and the inevitable Sorrento-style gnocchi, perhaps Carmelina’s most successful tribute to Campania cuisine, thanks to the amazing tomato sauce.
But the dishes don’t end there! Could a tribute to the symbol par excellence of the Neapolitan city be missing from the menu? Absolutely not. The pizza makes its appearance just after the restaurant menu: there are 7 of them and all strictly Margherita. What changes? Small differences in the ingredients used – fior di latte or mozzarella – or type of cooking, in a pan or fried. And to top it off, treat yourself to a dessert or a bitter taste, obviously from the house. In short, everything you need to be satisfied is there. Now you just have to collect yourself … it will take a while to try everything!