In Milan, it is quite possible to have an incredibly expensive meal and not get the slightest pleasure out of the whole thing. And then there are places that provide an unforgettable experience: the fare savoured there will continue to tickle your taste buds long after the actual meal is over. Latteria San Marco - a cafe rather than a restaurant - is definitely one of these places. The pocket-size seven-table place features a decor reminiscent of a kitschy family sitting room: walls covered with photographs and paintings, all of them rose-themed. You cannot help feeling that Latteria San Marco has been there since beginning of time, perhaps adding a new rose picture to its collection now and then. Guests are met by the owner Maria, always impeccably turned out, a string of pearls around her neck. Maria knows her regulars by face. Her husband Arturo runs the kitchen; he is known to come out and greet the guests towards the end of the meal. The owners don't speak any English, so your only help communication-wise will be the Asian bartender who is usually busy behind the counter. The crowd looks as resplendent as the roses on the wall: crème de la crème of Milan's artistic elite, people from the design, fashion, show business and media circles. During the "eating hours" of the day, there is almost always a queue at the door, which is hardly surprising: at Latteria, they don't accept reservations, so everyone has to line up: the blue-blooded and posh ones and regular mortals alike. To be on the safe side, it is best to come either before the opening or try for a free place at around half past eight in the evening when the 'first shift' of diners are beginning to leave and some tables are vacated. The menu is changed almost daily, always offering food prepared from the best of the seasonal produce. Make sure to try their artichoke carpaccio during the artichoke season - freshly sliced heads with lemon juice and Parmesan. The prices are friendly enough and certainly commensurate with the quality of the food. Be advised that credit cards are not accepted at Latteria San Marco.
24 Via San Marco
Keywords: restaurant, Italy, Milan