Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia ★★★

Chic food, chic decor at one of Milan's top restaurants

Of all the top-flight restaurants in Milan (expect to drop around $120 per person), none is so beloved by its patrons nor so faithful to its cooking fundamentals as "Aimo and Nadia's place."

For more than 40 years, Aimo Moroni's cooking has been firmly based in his native Tuscany's recipes and traditions, but he's not afraid to borrow liberally from Italy's other regional cuisines. Above all, he is big on natural flavors.

Up at dawn to troll the markets for the freshest ingredients, Aimo cooks only with mineral water to avoid the chlorinated taste of tap water, and he avoids using oils, butter, tomato bases, or anything else that might detract from the subtle interactions of flavors emanating from the ingredients themselves.

He's also quick to pass any praise for his creations on to his suppliers: the Piemontese consortium that raises free-range chickens under strict quality controls; the Sienese butcher who carves his lardo from the region's unique "belted" pigs and uses only salt and time, not chemicals, to cure it. (Lardo is the fat that is usually trimmed from a prosciutto but can also be salt-cured to become a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy.)

Daughter Stefania Moroni runs the dining room with silver-platter, Wedgwood-china, bow-tied elegance, but it is service of an intensely friendly, not chillingly impressive, sort. The young sommelier Renato Baroni—who relishes surprising diners with unusual choices—is so adept he can even locate the perfect 26-year-old sherry to accompany Aimo's killer chocolate soufflé.

Aimo himself frequently makes the rounds of the tables in his crisp chef's hat and wagging double chins, checking that everyone is satisfied and pausing to explain some of the esoterica behind the preparation of each dish.

It's the mark of a good cook that he cares much more about the level of enjoyment of his guests than the effort or preparation put into the presentation (none of those needlessly vast plates with a leaning tower of food at the center surrounded by artfully drizzled sauces.) And it's the mark of a devoted food maven that his customers regularly make the long trek out to the 'burbs and don't mind being surrounded by the virulently colored modern art that a recent make-over introduced, not when the food itself is so picture-perfect.

Reservations are required; several days in advance is wise.

Favorite dishes

  • Fresh filet or raw Ligurian tuna topped with lemon thyme and paired with fattened goose liver soaked in a Cabernet Sauvignon sauce.
  • Thick puree of white cannellini beans from southern Tuscany flavored with wild herbs and served with sausage made from Siena's belted pigs, boiled chick peas, and broccoli rabe.
  • Homemade extra-wide noodles in a sauce made from meat crumbled off a roast haunch of yearling veal and tossed with fresh porcini mushrooms from the family's own property.
  • An "Etruscan soup" of white Tuscan cannellini beans, tiny green beans from Umbria, and farro (emmer, a barely-like grain) flavored by wild herbs and drizzled with fresh olive oil perfumed with wild fennel.

Among secondi

  • Ligurian jumbo shrimp wrapped in zucchini flowers, coated with crushed Tuscan pine nuts, and fried a golden brown along with a medley of vegetables.
  • Portuguese baccalà (salt cod) served with olives, sweet Campanian peppers, polenta, and bottarga (the salted, dried roe of gray mullet).
  • Free-range chicken drizzled with a sauce of its reduced juices studded with white truffle shavings and five-year-aged parmesan, served with guanciale (cured jowl-bacon) and testina (a gelatinous salami made from the bits you don't want to know about) sided with a pasty Sicilian olive sauce.
  • The kidneys of a sanato (a yearling calf fed on milk and egg whites) cooked in sweet Tuscan "holy wine" made from raisined grapes, flaked with black truffles, and accompanied by a slice of a savarin (sort of like bundt cake) made from chick-pea paste, green thyme, crushed nuts from Piemonte, and stuffed zucchini.

For dessert

  • A hot, gooey, sinful chocolate sformato (souffle).
 

Tips

About the restaurant star ratings (☆☆☆ to ★★★)

You will notice that all restaurants (and sights and hotels) on this site have a ReidsItaly.com star designation from ☆☆☆ to ★★★.

This merely indicates that I feel these eateries offer a little something that makes them special (or extra-special, or extra-extra special, etc.).

These star ratings are entirely based on personal opinion, and have nothing to do with any official local restaurant ratings or grades.

In general, a pricier restaurant has to impress me that it is worth the added expense.

This is why I give ★★★ to some inexpensive eateries or sandwich shops that happen provide amazing value for the money—and similarly have ranked a few fancy but notable restaurants just ★★☆.

About the restaurant price brackets (€–€€€)

Here at ReidsItaly.com we simply provide a general price range indicating the general amount you should expect to pay for a full meal in the eatery.

Each eatery is rated into a price category, which indicates—very roughly—what you could expect to pay, per person, for a standard full meal: Three courses—primo (first course), secondo (main course), and contorno (side) or dolce (dessert)—plus something to drink.

There are three price ranges, giving you a sense of which restaurants are budget, which are moderate, and which are splurges:

under €15
€€ under €40
€€€ over €40
Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for dining

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...a restaurant un ristorante oon rees toh-RAHN-tay
...a casual restaurant una trattoria
un'osteria
oo-nah trah-toar-RHEE-yah
oon ohst-air-EE-yah
I would like to reserve... Vorrei prenotare... voar-RAY pray-note-ARE-eh
a table for two una tavola per due oo-nah TAH-voal-lah pair DOO-way
...for 7pm per le sette pair lay SET-tay
...for 7:30pm per le sette e mezzo pair lay SET-tay eh MET-tzoh
...for 8pm per le otto pair lay OH-toh
     
I would like Vorrei... voar-RAY
...some (of) un pó (di) oon POH (dee)
...this questo KWAY-sto
...that quello KWEL-loh
chicken pollo POL-loh
steak bistecca bee-STEAK-ah
...rare al sangue ahl SAN-gway
...medium rosato ro-ZA-to
...well done ben cotto ben KO-to
veal vitello vee-TEL-oh
fish pesce PEH-shay
meat carne KAR-neh
I am vegetarian sono vegetariano SO-no veg-eh-tair-ee-YAH-no
side dish [veggies always come seperately] cotorno kon-TOR-no
dessert dolce DOAL-chay
and e ay
...a glass of un bicchiere di oon bee-key-YAIR-eh dee
...a bottle of una bottiglia di oo-na boh-TEEL-ya dee
...a half-liter of mezzo litro di MET-tzoh LEE-tro dee
...fizzy water acqua gassata AH-kwah gah-SAHT-tah
...still water acqua non gassata AH-kwah noan gah-SAHT-tah
...red wine vino rosso VEE-noh ROH-so
...white wine vino bianco VEE-noh bee-YAHN-koh
...beer birra BEER-a
Check, please Il conto, per favore eel COAN-toh pair fah-VOAR-eh
Is service included? É incluso il servizio? ay een-CLOU-so eel sair-VEET-zee-yo

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).

Culinary Tours