I always enjoy trying new restaurants wherever I go, but there is one restaurant that is always on my list every time I come back to Milan, Da Giacomo on Via Pasquale, Sotto Como 16. It is an old Milanese trattoria that is tried and true with a kitchen that is well-executed. It looks like it has been around forever, but actually, it only dates back to 1990 at this charming location. It still delights a loyal international clientele, that is both local as well as well as tourists. There are fashionistas, people from the publishing world, bankers, celebrities and business people who favour this Tuscan/Ligurian restaurant. The place transports you back in time, with its ornate green wooden panelling, embossed wallpaper, stucco details, lovely arches and flooring. The restaurant was designed by famed architect, Renzo Mongiardino.
Fish and seafood are king here – from tuna to scampi to sea bass. They specialize in fish, such as seafood carpaccio and crudos, and a seafood salad that is outstanding. There is also a wide range of pastas and some meat dishes, as well.
Every diner receives a piece of their famous pizza to start off the evening. The traditional waiters are a little arrogant, but the service is as efficient as can be in such a busy place.
The king crab, prawn and avocado tartare are a delightful choice although expensive at 35 Euros for a starter. I enjoyed a linguini with shrimp and pumpkin flower. The pasta is really cooked al dente and was a bit on the fishy side. The pasta with lobster is a standout. Not as impressive was the sea urchin linguini, which was indescribably bad. There is a beautiful selection of fresh fish to choose from, and you can see them displayed on ice when you enter. They are known for their vast wine list, which is predominantly Italian.
There is a lovely pastry cart, but I am not a huge fan of Italian desserts. It is always a safe bet to go with fruit or gelato when in Italy. The freshly sliced peach was a no brainer. We also ordered the fragoline tart – the miniature strawberries, which grow here and are a real delicacy for me.
I know when I book this restaurant, I will always get a consistently good meal, and Da Giacomo still continues to generate a buzz after all these years.