Design Unusual

Saigon (MI)

by Alessia Ceccherini
Saigon (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

In Milan, the first charming restaurant, signed by Luca Guelfi, which combines Vietnamese cuisine with a refined décor inspired by a sleeky Indochinese style from the 1930s.

Also known as “little Paris”, Saigon, one of the most romantic destinations in Southeast Asia, brings us back to the cultural splendor that the city, now Ho Chi Minh City the capital of Vietnam, experienced in the early 1900s when it was part, along with Cambodia and Laos, of French Indochina.

Precisely this style, which combines, in the furnishings, the rigor of geometric deco in vogue among the cultural elites of the “roaring” 30s with the exotic elegance of millenary artisan techniques, and, in the flavors, the cuisine of Southeast Asia to the French one, he inspired Luca Guelfi, deus ex machina of some of the most beautiful places in Milan (and beyond), for his new restaurant.

Saigon (MI) — Lombardia Secrets
Saigon (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

In Saigon and Dal Milanese I put together 30 years of experience in order to create the perfect formula for a venue which is given by the right interiors, candlelight, music and above all an excellent cocktail bar.

(Luca Guelfi)

Saigon was born, in fact, in via Archimede, near two other of his highly successful restaurants, Canteen, inspired by Mexican cuisine, and Dal Milanese, a hymn to Milan from the 1980s, in an old disused warehouse. Outside, a red neon sign with the words “restaurant vietnamien” is an irresistible invitation to enter.

The cocktail bar welcomes us, with green walls, exotic plants and, on the walls, paintings inspired by the École des beaux-arts de Indochine, founded in 1925, which formed the most important Vietnamese artists.
A red-lit staircase leads us to the lower floor where there is a room with great aesthetic suggestions, the result of two years of study and research of the right craftsmen able to recreate the interior of an Indochinese colonial residence.

Saigon (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

Every detail of the interior design has been carefully chosen: such as the inlaid oak floor, inspired by the palaces of the Parisian nobility, the chairs in original Vienna straw, a material derived from rush, a plant commonly used in Indochina, with customized red velvet, or the vintage fans of Indian origin. The lights are also wonderful, the models Triedri, Anni Trenta and Belboi by Venini of Murano, which reflect the company’s original lines from the Thirties and Forties.

The cuisine, headed by executive chef Emanuele Gasperini, offers great traditional Vietnamese dishes with international influences. Among the appetizers, delicious and unmissable are the fresh or fried rolls in rice paper, the steamed ravioli or the fish skewers, while among the main we find the Black cod marinated in miso on a bed of Bok Choi and the Chicken Curry served in the coconut.

Saigon (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

And as in all Luca Guelfi’s ventures, the “devil is in the detail”s: from the thousand lit candles to the beautiful female DJs who sign the soundtrack every night, up to the service perfectly coordinated by Yelco Rojas Medina. What more could we say? You can find the other wonderful restaurants signed by Luca Guelfi here.

The Secret

Saigon had initially opened in 2017 at no. 53 of via Archimede. In 2020, due to the loss of that international clientele so important to create the right atmosphere in his premises, Luca Guelfi decides to close it, despite being his favorite. In October 2021, after the Covid emergency passed, the reopening: new location, the same formula, another great success.

Useful Info

Via Archimede 14
20129 Milano
Tel. +39 02 55185947

Starters: 12 — 26 euro
Main courses: 22 — 38 euro
Desserts: 6 — 8 euro
Cocktails: from 15 euro

Discover the Secret Places closest to you