While I was selecting these pics I started being more and more torn about what this post should look like. At first i wasn’t sure if any text was actually needed in order to understand this amazing culinary experience we’ve had in Milan or not. The more I think about it, the more I realise that this was definitely the best gourmet experience we’ve ever had.
After much pondering, I decided to write a bit of text about the place… JOIA… First of all I’d like to mention the fact that neither of us is a vegetarian. I consider myself more of a rebel vegetarian, meaning that in any given situation I prefer veggies and cheese, but from time to time I do enjoy a high quality piece of duck breast or a Black Angus low-fat piece of beef fillet. To be honest, I never really enjoyed meat, but (and this is the point where all the declared vegetarians/vegans will stop reading this blog) I do understand and respect the human body’s need for a varied and balanced diet, be that with animal protein in it. D however is right at the other end of the spectrum and can’t really imagine a good meal without meat in it. I mean he simply can’t understand any type of dish that doesn’t contain meat. Basically, the way he puts it sound a bit like this: if it doesn’t have any meat in it, it’s either a side or a salad, none of which is enough for an actual decent meal.
So, despite the fact that neither of us is a declared vegetarian, we decided to splurge on our first dinner at a Michelin recognised vegetarian restaurant. Obviously, D was convinced going in that he will stop on the way back to the hotel and eat a burger or something. I, on the other hand was very excited and curious to actually see what gourmet (I mean real gourmet) vegetarian cuisine meant and was sure that we both will leave the place with our bellies full. I have to admit though that I was a bit nervous about spending half a pair of Loubs on a dinner that might actually not be as good as expected. Make no mistake, we are by no means experts in gourmet cuisine and I personally have quite a long list of ingredients that I can’t stand. The 15 course tasting menu (Zenith) gives you basically no details about the ingredients and if you actually want to know some details (not all) about each dish, you have to look them up in the menu. Obviously none of us were in the mood to look for 15 partly explained dishes, so we just took the plunge.
From the first step we took inside the restaurant we realised that our first evening in Milan will be one to remember. The decor is not overwhelming nor too elegant and this restaurant actually make you feel very comfortable despite any casual attire you might be wearing. This, to me is very important because I never carry any formalwear while on vacation, mainly out of principle, I mean, I am on vacation! The nice thing that actually surprised us first thing is the fact that the chef actually comes out to take your order and answer any questions you might have about the menu or any allergy concerns. This is very important, as most of the time, chefs do tend to keep their ingredients a secret and the waiters tend to be useless when it comes to this.
The two First Courses
As stated, We both chose the Zenith menu, that contains 15 different courses, mainly to make sure that D will leave the place full and satisfied. Aside from those 15 courses, we both receives one amouse-bouche course that we both found amazing, and an extra-dessert, that brought the total meal count to 17. Now I’m not going to start detailing each and every course because, to be honest, I can’t remember the explanation we got to any of them, but I can tell you that as they came, each and every one of them became our new favourite and by the end, we had no idea which one was the best. Obviously, after 17 courses, not even D could complain about being hungry, quite the contrary, we both could barely move because of how full we were. To my surprise, D loved the entire experience and is actually considering trying some other vegetarian restaurants as now he knows that vegetarians can have their bellies full and satisfied. The Zenith menu consists of 4 appetisers, 1 soup, 2 first courses, all the 4 main courses, a dessert that is not on the menu (Italian Summer) and 3 different desserts that you can actually find on the menu.
The four Main Courses
The four Desserts
The extra Dessert
At the end of our dinner, the entire check came at about 250 Euros, which, yes, is very expensive, but you do have to take into consideration that this is a Michelin recognised restaurant that offers amazing quality dishes and one of the best services we’ve ever experienced in a restaurant. All in all, at least once in a lifetime, it really makes sense to spurge on a dinner like this one. And definitely, if you ever find yourself in Milan this is the place to dine, vegetarian or not!