After twenty years cooking in some of the best kitchens in Europe, Ilario Vinciguerra opened his own restaurant in 2011 in the city of Gallarate, Lombardy. Awarded a Michelin star in 2014 thanks to the chef’s unique approach to haute cuisine, the dishes are famous for being perfectly balanced without relying on unnecessary garnishes.
The restaurant itself is housed in an early twentieth century Italian Art Nouveau villa, with Viennese decorations throughout. Neutral greys, wooden tables and contemporary chairs perfectly represent the style of cuisine – a combination of minimal tradition with modern flair. There are thirty-five covers, with a bar and dining room on the ground floor and a larger salon area upstairs, used for private events and meetings. In warmer weather, diners can choose to eat on the terrace, overlooking the garden.
The menu itself changes every two months and makes the most of seasonal produce, with one or two signature dishes staying on permanently. Diners can choose from the à la carte or one of the four tasting menus, including the ‘Sopresa’ ten-course menu, served in the kitchen by Ilario himself with each course coming as a surprise.
Wine lovers are well catered for; there are over 1,300 labels available to browse and Ilario’s wife Marika is able to help you pick the right one. But it’s the grappa on offer that gets talked about the most – the restaurant is home to Italy’s largest grappa ‘library’, with hundreds of bottles displayed in a glass bookshelf.