16.2.14

Me vs. Milanese restaurants

There are cosmopolitan cities, food meccas, home to hidden gems, holes-in-the-wall and 'what you see is what you get' restaurants... and then there's Milan.

While planning a trip to NYC, I had to do some restaurant research and it worked like this: 1. Find a restaurant that you're curious about on a blog, foodie community, etc. 2. Visit the restaurant's website and check their menu (with prices). 3. Read some reviews and check food photos on yelp, trip advisor, foodspotting, etc. 4. Make an educated choice.
Obviously this is not how it works in Milan. When you want to visit a new restaurant in Milan, you have to be up to any surprise, which for risk and adventure lovers with unlimited budgets might be ok, but for us old-fashioned mortals can be tricky.
In a city where restaurant websites are rare, and if they do exist, they have no menus or prices (heaven forbid!), just a poetic explanation of food which leaves you wondering if they really sell food in that place; where trip advisor's reviews are often bribed and fake and where yelp is still unknown and popular only among hipsters; how can you move wisely. Answer: you can't!  Even your most trusted blog will bring you to a 'Milanese trap' as I like to call those places: fake-fancy, expensive, with rude staff and ridiculous portions.
Last example: God Save the Food. I really wanted to like this place. Really, really.  And there's nothing wrong with it,  aestetically. It is a nice minimalistic open space in Milan's fashion district (via tortona), their brunch was described by one of my favorite Milan bloggers as real American, top quality ingredients,  bla bla bla... Too bad the service is horrible: they greet you with "we will need you to leave the table at 2pm, since we are very fast with service, you also have to be fast" (really? then why did I have to wait more than 1 hour to get my bloody mary?!?!? -after asking for it 4 times!), it's like staff is paying you to serve you instead of the opposite. I really wonder if the owners of the place ever read comments about their business because I yet have to read a positive comment about their staff, or perhaps that's fashionable nowadays: that the staff in your restaurant treat people like cr*p. Well, ok, you might say, service is bad but at least the food is good... wrong! The burgers came cold and raw in the core, kind of like when you put frozen meat in the grid and don't cook it properly, "fresh squeezed" juices came to the table looking as if they were squeezed 3 hours earlier. Even if the burgers looked good, they were cold and raw...
You might think that a place with all these flaws should have been empty, but no! It was overflowing with people (the wannabe-model type)... a Milanese mystery...
'Til the next adventure!