When you live in a very expensive city, eating out can become a complicated matter. Milan is full of restaurants, many of which are not worthy the price of the dishes. That’s why I’m always happy when I find a nice place, where I can eat something special in a warm and cozy atmosphere. As you know, I’m a passionate follower of hygge philosophy, so I go looking for places which are particularly welcoming, comfortable and cozy. This summer, I’ve found two – a lovely, Nordic coffee house for lunch and a cozy, shabby chic restaurant for dinner.
HYGGE CORNER, AND SUDDENLY YOU’RE IN SCANDINAVIA
In a quiet street near St. Ambrogio’s Church, Hygge is a small café crowded with students who come for breakfast, lunch or brunch. The wooden tables and comfortable chairs reminded me of Back To Black, one of my favorite coffee houses in Amsterdam. And I immediately loved it. A pastel-colored map on the wall celebrate wanderlust. And from the ceiling hang some cards, with pearls of wisdom such as…
FEELING HOMESICK FOR A PLACE YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN TO.
How I like this concept! I don’t know about you, but since I was a child, I’ve always felt a particular connection with places I have not been yet. One was Prince Edward’s Island, from Anne of Green Gables. Another was Australia – I could almost smell the scent of eucalyptus trees and see the red rocks of the desert, even though I was so many miles away from my dream land. Of course what we miss is a fantasy, not the real place. When I finally went to Australia, I found it very different from what I have imagined. We are homesick for something that might not exist.
FOOD AND COFFEE
At Hygge Corner, Lunch consists of taco with shrimps, avocado and miso mayo; stuffed eggplant; barely with roasted pumpkin; black rice and chickpeas; chicken with noodles; or the week’s special. All the meals are balanced and healthy. Don’t forget to order one of their homemade cakes, especially the banana bread.
Brunch (regular or vegan) is served on weekends. Bread, avocado, eggs, yogurt with granola, fresh orange juice and coffee are served with a slice of your favourite cake. The only flaw I found was the matcha latte – I definitely had better lattes in Japan. But that’s another story.
CAPRA E CAVOLI, A CREATIVE RESTAURANT IN ISOLA
If Hygge takes inspiration from Scandinavia, Capra e Cavoli recreates the atmosphere of Provence. Shabby chic style furniture, little lights and plants surround the tables, making you feel like you were eating in a garden. The creative menu is based on the idea that no dish is exactly what it seems. The carbonara (pasta with eggs and bacon) is made with “fake eggs” and vegetables; risotto does not contain rice, but celery, and sandwiches are made with chickpea flour and filled with hummus.
Octopus and tuna, on the other hand, are real octopus and tuna, cooked to perfection and served with vegetables. It’s a delicious, pescatarian cuisine that uses fresh ingredients. Desserts could be improved, but the chocolate sphere with mango is delicious. Even though Capra and Cavoli is a combination of Italy and France and has little to share with Scandinavia, it’s still definitely a hygge place. Because it’s warm, welcoming, pretty, and I feel like I could spend hours and hours sitting at the table, eating healthy and delicious food and chatting with a friend. That’s so hygge to me.
EATING OUT IN MILAN
CAPRA E CAVOLI, via Pastrengo 18, Milan (MM Isola – purple line; MM Garibaldi – green line).
HYGGE CORNER, via Giuseppe Sapeto 3 (MM Sant’Ambrogio – green line)
Read also: Where to have brunch in Milano: Café Gorille