Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ristorante Milano

Last night I hit the town (read: walked a few blocks) to meet up with some pals at a place I've gone past many times but never tried: Ristorante Milano.

I love Italian food, and I especially love that it is one of the cuisines in which a vegan is pretty likely to find something safe and delicious to eat. Luckily, Ristorante Milano proved me right on that point. But before we get to dinner, let me just tell you how cute this place is. It's an authentic and cozy little spot that is almost always packed with people who just so obviously love it there. The waitress last night was downright adorable, not to mention knowledgeable and possibly made of pure goodness. As she rattled off the long list of specials, her Italian accent (shared by everyone working there, btw) made me want to hop the next flight to Italy in hopes that maybe 30 years from now I could sound half as dreamy as she does. But I digress. Let's talk food!

I'll admit it, there's not a whole lot for vegans at this place, and with all of the pasta being made in house (generally means there's egg in it, though admittedly, I did not ask) even that is off the list. However, the foccacia and olive oil that comes to the table (above) is safe - and divinely warm and rosemarylicious - and they have quite a few salads and veggie dishes that are inherently vegan or could easily be made so. Speaking of which, I started with the arugula and fennel salad:

I love arugula and I love fennel. Simply dressed and topped off with some orange segments and black olives, it is a beautiful - and mighty tasty - start.

For my main course, I went with the soup of the day. They always have a vegetarian soup, and I was lucky enough to arrive on a day when it was also vegan. Even luckier was that it was potato and asparagus and smooth and savory and came topped with basil and croutons and was just super yummy.

Based on the happiness of my table mates, and the looks of glee on the faces of the other diners, this restaurant knows what's up. For my money, if I'm going to go for vegan Italian and stay within walking distance of my house, I'd still head to delarosa. However, there is such a nice atmosphere at Milano. I should also mention that the power was out for the majority of our meal, so we all dined by candlelight which was very, very nice. Even without that novelty, Milano is a warm, inviting, neighborhood spot - something hard to replicate in a big city such as ours. I would definitely go back.

Moving forward, I have some good eating to look forward to over the next few weeks, including some of the best SF has to offer, as well as a trip to Austin, TX at the end of the month, so stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

We were sitting behind you (on the raised landing) and heard you mention "vegan." Having dined there many many times in an "unenlightened" way (I love occasional red meat, and that night I had the fish with a great salsa verde), I love Rist. Milano.

The food is always first-rate, the service is always great (Susana, our waitress, who's from Torino, is always smiling), and the atmosphere is just like you described - with or without candlelight!

I'm glad you enjoyed the experience.

Sky said...

It really was a great experience, lights or not! Thanks for writing and giving love to a restaurant with a lot of loyal followers. :)