Welcome to BE MY GUEST, a weekly newsletter featuring everything that’s worth a look, a taste, a read, a listen, a splurge or a journey. Take notes.
1 - ORSONERO, a third-wave coffee gem
Happy new year, cool kids! I hope you ended 2022 with a bang and you’re ready for some new adventures – if not, I’ve got some ideas for you. Because in between Christmas dancing (thanks for loving my playlist, btw!) and New Year’s volcanos, I crossed the border one last time for some Italian indulgence, and as usual, I’m here with the round-up of the places I loved most around town. Ready? Let’s go.
My first stop was Orsonero, a cute little coffee shop in Porta Venezia, which is a 20 minutes walk from the touristy city center. It’s a tiny place full of cool locals offering specialty coffee and pastries. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to sip your Americano outside in the sun, and if you’re even luckier, they’ll still have creamy chocolate croissant to go with it. The spot is so nice, you’ll want to visit twice.
© Orsonero Coffee
2 - ANTONIA, a Vincenzo de Cotiis-designed fashion mecca
Not that I would ever turn my back on 10 Corso Como (you haven’t been to Milan if you didn’t stop there!), but the newest location of concept store Antonia on Via Sant’Andrea 10 is an equally exciting shopping experience. Located in the monastery-turned-luxury-hotel-site Portrait Milano, the space was designed by Vincenzo de Cotiis, the Italian master for industrial, brutalist and futuristic interiors. If you care for the clothing, you’ll find plenty of pieces worth splurging on, too – they stock as many blockbuster brands (Céline, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent) as they do younger, up-and-coming ones – Nensi Dojaka, Khaite and Guest in Residence, to name a few. But good luck finding the fitting rooms in the mirror maze…
© Antonia Milano
3 - ASSOCIAZIONE SALUMI E VINI NATURALI for good vibes and good wines
When it’s late and you’ve got no reservation at hand, try Associazione Salumi e Vini Naturali in the Brera neighborhood. You won’t be the last one to arrive after 10pm, and it’s the perfect place for a plate of pasta, a bite of stuffed focaccia as well as a glass of wine carefully selected for your taste. The vibe is laid-back but buzzy, and it’s one of those places where every other guest might be a regular or a friend of the staff. With a terrace in the front and a courtyard in the back, the place must be even better in summer. As always, make sure you leave some room for dessert – the Panettone slices that come with a mascarpone cream dip are the stuff that dreams are made of.
© Associazione Salumi e Vini Naturali
4 - FOTO VENETA OTTICA, the hidden heaven for (sun)glasses
Remember Schostal, the legendary pajamas shop in Rome that I recently featured here? Well, Foto Veneta Ottica might be its equivalent in Milan – just for sunglasses and shades. You need to know the place in order to find it, and you shall never, ever, ever skip it when on a visit. The family-run Foto Veneta is located on the first floor of a 19th century building in Via Torino, and chances that you’ll walk out with a pair of shades are… well, 99%. The selection of vintage and new glasses is overwhelming (even though Giorgio, the shop owner, let us know that what we see on display is only ten percent of the total archive), and the charming Italian is so good at scanning your face, you will quickly find yourself trying on all kinds of glasses within seconds. Unsurprisingly, they will all fit perfectly, and make you look even better. Good luck choosing just one.
5 - DONGIO, where Italian families lunch
We first entered Dongiò on a Tuesday around lunchtime but were quickly denied access, as we didn't have a «prenotazione» (so much for this places’ popularity). The next day, we came prepared, and ended up being seated between Italian couples and families. Dongiò feels classic, cozy and as authentic as the plates of calabrian cuisine it serves: no fuss, pure pleasure. It’s the place that’s equally suitable for a date with your grandma or your best pal, and it’s perfect to fuel up on a homemade pasta, too. On a lifelong quest for the best Tiramisu (have I mentioned that it’s sugar and not blood running through my veins?), not trying it was not an option, and let me tell you, it was the real deal. My favorite thing about the whole experience, though? All the guests explicitly saying goodbye to everyone when leaving. Ahhh, la famiglia.
6 - PALINUROBAR for sips, bites, and tunes
On said Tuesday, time really wasn’t on our side (I might or might not have decided to run myself a bath at 8pm, but we’re in the South, right?). So by the time we left dinner and wandered the streets of the Piola district to get a night cap at a place called Palinurobar, it was almost midnight, and the only people ready to party were - well, us. So we took a seat at the bar, had the kind girls behind it talk us through their selection of open wines, and vividly imagined the place packed with people. A fundamental element of the place that offers over 500 natural wines from all over the world is music: The space features consoles and turntables and usually hosts artists and label producers. If that isn’t reason enough to return for a dance, I don’t know what is.
That’s it for this week, folks! See you soon.
Writer, consultant, content creator