Among the “big 4” fashion capitals in the world … Milan rather lacks in terms of top fine dining restaurants; there were no 3-star Michelin dining places and in the past several years, no new restaurant there that could catch the attention of ‘hard core’ foodies. However, things changed about 2 years ago when Seta, located inside the new and fashionable Mandarin Oriental hotel, opened and led by the talented Antonio Guida. Within 2 years, Seta was among the most talked about (new) restaurants in Italy and Europe. More importantly, it received 2-star Michelin and this was a good excuse for me to visit this place when I was in the area this Spring.
Seta’s cooking is undeniably Italian but don’t really expect to see the traditional preparations. Chef Guida loves to re-work and re-fine the classic dishes; also whenever possible he would use local ingredients from nearby areas. As someone who used to work under Pierre Gagnaire, he applied some unusual produce / combination at his dishes – a few of them worked well. I opted for a la carte this time and my favorite dishes happened to be served at the beginning and at the end:
-Roasted blue lobster with mushroom zabaglione, cardoon and trompette powder. This was most delicious thing I ate during this dinner. The perfectly cooked lobster was tender and delicious; it was enhanced by light / airy but flavorful mushroom sabayon and cardoon (having artichoke-like flavor). An excellent appetizer
-Liquorice parfait with crystallised Kentucky tobacco leaves, spiced pear and coffee cream. All elements worked together in harmony; well-balanced of sweet and bitter flavors. It was also fragrant, velvety and smooth. Seta has a very solid pastry team under the guidance of Nicola di Lena. A big fan of sweets should probably sample 2 desserts or more here
As this is in Italy, ordering pasta is a “must”. I had 2 half portions of ‘risotto’ and sagne (Puglia pasta) – inventive but not as good as I expected. My main course was suckling pig – well executed & flavorful but the side dishes did not work too well with the pork. You could see them from the pictures at the link below
The service was arguably the best one I’ve ever experienced in Italy. Staffs were attentive, friendly and knowledgeable. My maître d’ patiently helped and explained the menu - it took me sometimes to decide what to order. He used to work in London (Gordon Ramsay and Le Gavroche) and hence spoke fluent English. I think Seta’s 2-star was somewhat justified; the 3rd one may not come very soon but it should become the most probable candidate in Milan to receive the red guide’s highest honor (IMHO better than Cracco and Aimo Nadia)
Pictures of the meal: https://www.flickr.com/photos/7124357...