In the square of one of the oldest Lombard towns, famous for its historic trades and noble residences, we find a charming 15th century villa that houses a restaurant with a secret garden surrounded by ancient trees, clouds of hydrangeas and many candles.
Vico Mercati can be read on the entrance wall of this restaurant, which already in the name carries suggestions of past eras. In fact, the name refers to the ancient village, today Vimercate, which, being at the crossroads of the roads coming from the main Lombard towns, became the site of an important city market which, still today, takes place also in the square in front of the restaurant.
It it here, inside the Villa dei Conti Corio, where the restaurant is located since 2008, that in 1450 the noble Gaspare da Vimercate had the treaty signed that decreed Francesco Sforza to rule the Duchy of Milan, as the commemorative inscription positioned in the atrium of the house reminds us. An important inheritance that the owner Stella Martina honors by taking care of every single detail, so that overall experience, flavors and atmosphere are perfectly combined with the value of a fourteenth-century structure, still today magnificently preserved thanks to the care of the current owners of the villa, the Beltramme family.
There are places capable of stopping the passage of time, creating a moment of detachment from everyday life.
(Stella Martina, owner)
Vico Mercati is a restaurant that unites the contemporary with history in a harmony that is felt even before crossing the threshold and that totally envelops guests when they cross its suggestive frescoed room, decorated with 18th-19th century paintings along all the walls, before entering the “secret” garden at the back.
It is here that one is catapulted into ancient times, enjoying the silence and charm of a quiet corner where not even the noises of the square in front reach, illuminated by the light of candles and many fairy lights.
In the garden stands out a huge bush of pink, white and lilac hydrangeas, which frames the space, giving a very elegant glance and a truly intimate atmosphere. In addition, there is Stella’s special touch that accompanies Vico Mercati’s experience with fresh flowers on each table, crystal bowls in which petals and candles float and romantic background music.
Due to its preciousness and delicacy, in the cold season the ancient room is available only by reservation and can also be requested for selected private events, while in the summer, together with the garden, it is open to romantic dinners and convivial occasions.
The kitchen is managed by a young and highly trained brigade led by chef Davide Margutti, with previous experience at the “school” of the Aimo and Nadia Group, together with Christian Narra and Supun Don Chamila. Among the signature dishes, we find the unmissable Risotto with Km0 Saffron Pistils, which come from the small production of Usmate Velate of Maestri Speziali, and the Beef Fillet Tartare served on Roasted Marrow, a feast for the eyes as well as for the palate.
The cuisine is ‘concrete’ as the hostess likes to define it, close to tradition, with the promise of offering the customer something innovative and unique in each dish. It is Stella herself who, in addition to supervising each dish, personally takes care of guests, pampers them and manages the drink list: over 250 wine labels that allow to meet the most diverse tastes and needs.
Vico Mercati is one of those magical places that “suits” perfectly according to the wishes of its guests, both for a romantic dinner in the garden or a business lunch, wrapped in the privacy of a venue pleasantly away from the daily frenzy.
The current owners of the villa, the Beltrammes, are the “custodians” of its beauty, thanks to the restoration works that over the years have affected the facade, the interiors, the adjacent annexes (as the old shelter for carriages and horses that has now become a private apartment), and the garden, where there is a magnificent, secular Sofora Japonica Pendula.