You know what the best strategy is for eating some pretty succulent meals without feeling guilty? Play sports. Movement. The best place to do that then is U Barba.
Here you can delight your palate with delicious Ligurian cuisine while taking advantage of a beautiful adjoining bocce lane out back to burn off a few calories. The place is perfect in both the summer and the winter.
The owners of U Barba (Liguran dialect for “uncle”) are Genoese-born but found themselves in Milan for work. Seven years ago they had a dream, to recreate a corner of their Liguria in Milan, settling upon a location that was once a tobacconist and a bar with an adjacent and abandoned bocce lane in Via Decembrio. We are in the corso Lodi area, in the southern outskirts of Milan, quite lively nowadays partly due to the nearby Fondazione Prada.
So, U Barba is a Ligurian pub, with indoor and outdoor seating, in both the winter and the summer. It’s traditional in dish selection to the same extent as it is original and rich in beautiful details in furnishings, which tell so much about Paul, about his passion and his work. Obsession with modernity and toys has made U Barba unique and recognizable compared to many other restaurants born in the same timeframe. Leather briefcases are scattered here and there, toys, a Vespa hanging from the ceiling: once they catch your attention, your eyes won’t stop wandering around.
The dishes on the menu are those of tradition: they range from cheese focaccia, a specialty from the Recco region, to rabbit alla ligure served with mashed potatoes. You will see a lot of homemade pasta: trofie or testaroli al pesto and pansoti with walnut sauce. Then, stuffed anchovies (a specialty of the house), crispy on the outside and amazingly rich in flavor on the inside, or chickpea flour pizza. There is a vegetable soup for the nostalgic, with a fair dose of pesto to give that extra touch of flavor, and several salted pies with vegetables. In short, vegetarians will find amazing options here to choose from. Recently they also opened a service allowing for home or office delivery of their rich menu (only during lunch hours).
And then… there are scones. The eighth capital sin, served. Small round focaccias cut in half and filled with pesto, meat, octopus and potatoes, or whatever you want! They are cut in half to allow those who order them to try other dishes on the menu. Served in a plastic container in a beautiful striped cotton cloth, the mandillo (which of course you can keep), they are a perfect solution for a delicious lunch in the office or with friends.
Marco Bruni, the kind owner of the place, who is always smiling, perfects every detail to comfort his guests: focaccia served in bread baskets, Ligurian oil on the table, bitter with ligurian herbs given to everyone at the end of their meal.
I bet you are already dialling their number to make a reservation! Take care, and see you in the bocce lane!