We didn’t come at the best time for eating out. We arrived on Sunday, and Tuesday was a holiday (May Day). As a result, many restaurants were closed the entire time we were there. However that did not stop us from eating very well. We came armed with several Chowhound printouts, Mimi Sheraton’s NY Times article, and several guidebooks.
Bebel’s was our favorite place overall for food, service and value. All were very good to excellent. We had dinner there Sunday evening. We arrived at 7:45, opened up the place, and were feeling rather lonely. However, people started to arrive at 8:00 and by 8:30 it was quite lively.
We started out with Risotto Milanese for two. It was wonderful!, perfectly al dente, flavorful, and bright yellow in color. The best risotto I’ve ever had. For secondi we had Veal Milanese and Mixed Grill. The veal was perfect, traditional Milanese with the bone and a light tasty breading. The Mixed Grill was very good overall. It contained a chicken liver, veal liver, lamb, veal and beef. All had a very good charred grill flavor and most were cooked just right. The beef was medium rare. My only complaint was that the chicken liver was overdone. We had a very interesting Artichoke Salad with it. The artichokes were very thinly sliced raw, peeled baby globe artichokes with small chunks of a tangy cheese and olive oil drizzled over them. It was very unusual, but we loved it.
Some of the things we didn’t try, but looked good were the Antipasto Buffet and the Pizza which was also served plain as focaccia. The pizza was very thin crust. The prosciutto looked especially good with a large amount of prosciutto crudo added after the pizza had been cooked.
The house wine was a 2005 Montellori Chianti for 12 euros which was nothing special, but went well with the meal.
The service was excellent. We had a waitress who really made us feel like guests. My Italian was better than her English, but we had no real problems communicating.
The whole meal came to 80 euros.
Our second favorite was Antique Restaurant Boeucc. We had dinner there on May Day, after finding several restaurants on our list closed for the holiday. It was the most elegant of the three places and the food was very, very good, but the price was high and the service pretentious. For value and service it definitely did not beat Bebel’s. The restaurant is in the former stable of the 300 year old Palazzo Belgioioso. They have fixed it up very well in the last 300 years.
They started us out with an Amuse Bouche of deep fried breaded meat balls that were light and delicious. For pasta course we split an order of Taglliolini with peas and ham. The pasta once again was perfectly cooked and was delicious, but I was shocked that they used canned peas. My feeling about Italian cuisine is that if it isn’t available fresh and local, it shouldn’t be on the menu. This dish would have been so much better with fresh or even frozen peas.
For secondi we had Vitello Tonnatto and Goat Cutlets. The Vitello was fantastic. It was just the way you dream it should be. The goat was pounded thin and cooked exactly like veal Milanese. There were 4 chops. The dish was not at all gamey and was quite tasty. We had Cannelli Beans with sage, fresh peper, and olive oil with it. The beans were excellent.
For dessert they came with a cart with a multitude of fresh fruit on the top level and a variet of pastries on the lower level. We opted for Marron Glace with cream and chocolate bits and Marron Glace Gelato with Warm Zabaglione . The zabaglione was made with a good quality marsala and combined with the gelato was very satisfying. The other was too sweet for my taste.
Finally they brought a very large assortment of cookies and hazelnut brittle.
We accompanied all this with a Lombardy Pinot Noir, 2001 Mirraggii that was pretty good. The wine list was was very good and was divided by regions of Italy.
The bill came to 127 euros.
The third meal we had was at Antica Trattoria della Pesa, Via Pasubio 10. This was a perfectly fine trattoria, but not worth going out of your way for. The service was good, but indifferent. The prices were moderate.
We started off with an Amuse Bouche of Deep fried breaded Veal Ball and Fish Balls that were good.
For primo we had an order of Risotto al Salto. Despite Mimi Sheraton’s passion for this dish, I’d rather have my risotto the traditional way.
For secondi we had Roast Veal sliced thin and seved cold topped with sliced tomato, parmigian and oil. It was a very tasty light entrée. We also has a Veal Milanese which was good, but third out of three IMHO.
For dessert we split a warm Zabaglione, and a plate of cookies, both of which were very good.
We had a half liter of their house wine a slightly sparkling Lombardy red.
The bill came to 76 euros.