The landmark restaurant
Ristorante Savini, like La Scala, the Duomo or the Galleria ‘is’ Milan: this historic venue has never ceased to be ‘in vogue’
Someone once remarked that Savini, like La Scala, the Duomo or the Galleria, ‘is' Milan. For the past 150 years, the world's elite have come to Savini to eat well, and engage with the city. This historic venue has never ceased to be ‘in vogue'. By Elena Binda
One of the best ways to experience Milan, is to dine at Savini. Sitting at the tables of this restaurant means being in the heart of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of the city’s best-known landmarks. The Galleria, which overlooks the Duomo, connects the Cathedral to the ‘temple of opera’, the worldrenowned Teatro alla Scala. Traversed daily by thousands of locals and tourists, the Galleria is home to the most elegant boutiques and the most historic bookshops. For 150 years, the Galleria has been used to hold meetings, launch trends, and seal business deals. And, it was here, in 1884, that Savini first opened its doors. In those days it was undoubtedly a unique and innovative locale. Savini was the brainchild of a young entrepreneur, Virgilio Savini, who took over an old beer hall and transformed it into a stylish café-restaurant. People could meet here throughout the day, and thanks to its proximity to the opera house and theatres, Savini soon became the favourite haunt of some of the world’s most illustrious names, including Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, Arturo Toscanini, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Eleonora Duse, Giovanni Verga and Tommaso Marinetti, who expounded upon Futurism here. Over the decades, its reputation as an elite locale continued to grow and, during the second half of the 20th century, it was patronized by luminaries like Maria Callas, Luchino Visconti, Charlie Chaplin, Grace Kelly, Erich Maria Remarque, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Carla Fracci, Henry Ford and Totò. Eugenio Montale, recipient of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Literature, said that he had discovered “the poetry of cuisine” at Savini. And today? Although many things have changed, Savini’s poetry has remained intact. In 2008, the Gatto family took over the restaurant, and Giovanni Bon (see photo), a talented young chef who trained under several of Italy’s most renowned maestros, has enthusiastically taken on the challenge of bringing Savini into the new millennium, preserving it uniquely innovative spirit, and skillfully blending the old with the new. As in the past, its mission is to offer diners the finest gastronomic experience in a luxurious and comfortable setting. Inspired by Milanese tradition, Savini’s gourmet cuisine offers diners a fresh take on classic dishes.