Trattoria Arlati (MI)

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
Trattoria Arlati (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

The oldest food family license in Milan, since 1936 it has been a reference point for the city's gastronomy and wine tradition, the art of cabaret and live music.

Now in its third generation, the restaurant owns, in fact, the food license n. 27 (all the previous ones no longer exist). Opened in 1936 by Modesta and Luigi, a Pirelli employee who decided to set up his own business, it initially offers a typical cuisine designed for the workers of its former employer, the nearby rubber processing factory in Bicocca. After the war, the couple moved to via Alberto Nota where the restaurant is still located today.


Trattoria Arlati (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

Arlati is a bulwark of the Milanese tradition, from cuisine to wines, up to stand-up comedy. We are proudly just a few businesses to carry on these values today.

(Leopoldo Arlati, owner)

In the 1960s, the management of the restaurant passed to Luigi’s son Mario and it was he, animated by a great love for visual arts and music, who transformed it into that wonderful “stage of the arts” for which it is known today.
In 1973, the turning point: Lucio Battisti is a regular customer and, after having seen the large cellar by chance, asks to be able to use it as a rehearsal room. This is how “Il Sotto” (“the floor below” in English) opens, as it is still called today, and Arlati becomes the first venue in Milan where live music is played. Battisti and Mogol, Renato Zero, Loredana Bertè and many other musicians begin to perform regularly and the restaurant literally “makes” the history of the city’s music.
It is here, for example, that Bertè meets Mario Lavezzi who will write wonderful songs for her such as E La Luna Bussò and In Altomare.

It was also in those years that Mario began to transform the historic furnishings of the restaurant, enriching them with objects he found in antique shops, bric-à-brac stores or often given by artists and friends, such as the Mona Lisa with the Sphere, the work of Roman artist Filippo Panseca, that started a collection of other works of art on the “Mona Lisa” theme, or the many pigs, symbol of the Cassoeula Brotherhood and lucky charm of the restaurant.

Trattoria Arlati (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

In 1994, it is the turn of Mario’s son, Leopoldo, at the helm of the restaurant together with his sister Giorgia. Between one party and another, Leo, as his loyal clientele calls him, continues to innovate.

He consolidates the relationship with his chefs and friends, Maurizio Beraboni and Stefano Pirovano, who revisit the Lombard cuisine, keeping the cult recipes of the local tradition firmly on the menu. Like Risotto al Salto alla Milanese, to be ordered also as a main course with beef stew and mushrooms or Luganega sausage and Chiodini mushrooms, fettuccine pasta with sausage ragù, or, among the main courses, cut of beef with rosemary, rocket and parmesan cheese or Ossobuco alla Milanese.

Even the restaurant’s trusted suppliers have “grown” over time together with Leo, so much so that the entrepreneur creates Wine o’ Clock, a company that distributes wines, precisely with the aim of having a direct relationship with producers of excellence.

Trattoria Arlati (MI) — Lombardia Secrets
Trattoria Arlati (MI) — Lombardia Secrets

Leo also continues to enrich the place with works of art and memories of evenings with friends, as evidenced by the many photos hanging on the walls. He is also credited with the arrival of what today has become the venue’s icon: the 2-meter-high ostrich made with playing cards by the Turin artist Nicola Bolla. Leo saw it in 2003 at an art fair and asked to be able to have it on display in case it was not sold. A month later it was delivered to him and, following a party that the designer Calvin Klein organized in the restaurant, the ostrich was immortalized in glossy magazines overseas, making it a highly sought-after artwork. The episode contributed to increasing the artist’s fame to the point of launching his professional career and, of course, it meant that the ostrich would never leave the lucky location, becoming its symbol.

In 2006 Trattoria Arlati was awarded the Ambrogino D’Oro, the highest honor of the Municipality of Milan, which enshrines its great history and popularity, never interrupted since the post-war period.

The Trattoria has always continued its cabaret tradition by organizing the Giovedì dell’Arlati (Arlati’s Thursdays), with the artistic direction of Carlo Casalini, which sees the alternation on stage of famous and emerging artists such as Germano Lanzoni, Flavio Pirini and Orazio Atanasio with their hilarious show focused on the figure of the Milanese Imbruttito.

The Secret

The sculpture dogs you see in the restaurant are a curious tradition of the Arlati: strictly in Bassano ceramics, they represent, in fact, all the 4-legged friends who have been part of their family over the years.

Useful Info

Trattoria Arlati
Via Alberto Nota 47
20126 Milano
Tel. +39 02 6433327

Starters: 8 — 16 euro
First courses: 10 — 12 euro
Second courses: 16 — 25 euro

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