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Rugantino

The outdoor tables, overlooking Colonne di San Lorenzo, in a blink take you to a dimension reminiscent of the capital

That desire to get away with your mind and taste buds, without really going too far, that desire for the easygoing, happy-go-lucky roman style that gets you to go for a stroll in the center of Milan and look around a few times because it’s a Milan that really reminds you of Rome. So here we are at the Rugantino.

The talk is more of a drawl. The outdoor tables overlook the Piazza delle Colonne di San Lorenzo surrounded by vases and plants that in a blink take you to a dimension reminiscent of the capitol. Venditti’s music is playing in the background, most of the time, but Eros or Baglioni are played, too. Songs that really bring Rome to life in this little corner of Milan.

Roman fried mix or Jewish-style artichokes (Carciofi alla giudia)? Today artichokes with chicory and artichokes with a veil of crunchy potatoes (in other words, the chips you’ll find in the package but made by hand, fried on the moment, simply perfect). The chicory, with a hint of red pepper that teases and doesn’t overdo it, it’s excellent.

First plate? Obviously! Tonnarelli with cheese and pepper. Superb. Not a drizzle of oil, just pecorino, perfectly amalgamated with a little pasta water and black pepper all the way. Served in a bowl. The eyes play their part, and the ceramic bowl hits the nail on the head. The portions are like “oh wow, that’s a lot, I’ll never eat all that” and then their so yummy that there’s never any left over. Bucatini alla Matriciana? Why not, I mean, you know just to check if the guanciale is the real thing, if the little fat that’s visible is transparent, perfectly cooked… the sauce is heavenly. The bowl is stripped before you even realize it.

If you’re in for it, there are second dishes too, meat, purely roman, like the abbacchio or the saltimbocca… dessert? That too, that too: chocolate cake, apple cake, creme brûlée, ice cream… but most of all the desire to come back. It’s not Rome, of course… but maybe it’s even better!

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