Monday, April 17, 2006

Restaurant Al Matarel - Milan

A large group of people enters the restaurant. Meticulously dressed in designer suits perfectly pressed, manicured hands, and leather briefcases, this is not your typical crowd. Numerous assistants, bodyguards, and police stand about the lobby and sidewalk outside the restaurant. The individuals greet each other in a friendly manner, it is obvious they know each other very well, yet their ages differ significantly. It is somewhat odd that such a variety of individuals would be part of the same group of friends. As they are quickly ushered into the covered patio in the back the context of a few conversations reveals the characteristic that ties them all together. They are all part of the socialist party’s governing ministers.

It is the late 80s, before Mani Pulite – the crackdown on governmental corruption, and Bettino Craxi and the Socialist party are in full power. Il Matarel is Craxi’s favorite hangout and dines here at least once a week.

His choice is well warranted, and even though the Socialist party and Bettino Craxi have long disappeared from the Italian political scene, Il Matarel remains an excellent choice for an evening out. The waiters are professional but not overly friendly. The atmosphere is very casual, light colored wood, benches and wooden provincial chairs around the tables, photographs of the multitude of famous clients adorn the walls. This restaurant could easily be located in the hill of Bergamo instead of Brera, the exclusive art district of Milan.

The cuisine is traditional Milanese. Thick slices of dried meats for antipasto or nervetti (nerves cooked in a water-vinegar bath), cold soups in the Milanese tradition, and a few main courses that cannot easily be found in any other restaurant. The true treasure of Il Matarel is the “Rostin Nega’a” (drowned roast), prepared with veal cuts around the bone, covered in wine then potatoes and roasted in the oven.

A good selection of wines is available. The wine list will not represent the cellar so ask your waiter for a suggestion once you have decided on the dinner. Desserts are not prepared in house and while good probably do not merit holding back on the main course.
This restaurant is a good choice if you want to taste both the Milanese cuisine and a bit of the culture of Milan. Always make reservations.

Il Matarel
Via Solera Mantegazza 2 (angolo Corso Garibaldi 75)
tel. 02.654204


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you Italian or American? your blog is so interesting!!!

7:27 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

I have dual nationality. I went to Italy at 19 and spent about 20 years. I have 4 fantastic daughters, still in Italy with their mother, and have just recently returned to the US.

Thank you for the compliment. I hope you will stop by often.

7:36 AM

Blogger Jakob E. Søderberg said...

I was at Al Matarel last week. My wife and I had a business meeting with a local Milanese company (Aqua di Casa) and they invited us to this absolutely brilliant restaurant. This is true Milano cooking and definately an experience worth. The yellow rice are legendary and the Osso Buco was a piece of heaven.!

11:51 PM


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