By Kristen Oliveri
It has been said that when royalty goes to Milan, they dine in Acanto Restaurant located within the Hotel Principe de Savoy. It’s no surprise why. This classic Italian fine dining establishment is one filled with romance and elegance, designed by Celeste Dell’Anna Design. The restaurant overlooks the garden with a beautiful waterfall that is peaceful and in the warmer months of the year, the doors are open and guests can dine in the garden.
I had explained prior to my arrival at Acanto that I have a gluten allergy and the restaurant was more than accommodating. My dining companion and I began our meal with a glass of champagne along with gluten-free bread and crackers before setting out on our journey to sample the regional culinary treasures of Lombardy.
The sommelier was able to pick out a fantastic local Italian wine to pair with our meal after we ordered. The wine cellar boasts an extensive collection (roughly 600 bottles) of both Italian and French wine, among others like Austrian and Californian varietals.
For the first course, I tried an interesting creation dreamt up by Executive Head Chef Fabrizio Cadei. I sampled the vegetable garden with ricotta and my companion tried the beef tartare. The vegetable garden was light and creamy and a well-balanced seasonal dish, which I only wishes I was eating outside. While it was too chilly to dine outside, the cuisine radiated inner warmth that carried on throughout the evening.
For our second course, we tried light gluten-free pasta with zucchini ribbon in a delicate broth sauce with olive oil and butter that was outstanding. It had that beautiful simplicity that I can only find in pasta dishes in Italy. It was crafted using only a few seasonal ingredients that came together perfectly.
I’m a big believer in keeping food simple. When I was informed by our server that the signature dish at Acanto is the roast suckling pig, I knew I didn’t have to search any further. It came out piping hot and the crispy skin was flawlessly seasoned. While one could argue I was stuffed before the main course, I couldn’t put my fork down once the dish had made its grand entrance.
What may wow many with a sweet tooth is the restaurant’s elaborate dessert trolley. While I happen to be much more of a savory than sweet person, I couldn’t resist a little something to finish my meal. A bowl of berries with a touch of cream on top was about all I could handle.
The service was top-notch, which one would expect from a restaurant of this caliber. But what I particularly enjoyed was that it didn’t feel over-the-top, as if the waiters were anticipating your every move. Rather, it felt reactive and quite natural. When we needed something, it was simply taken care of.
Our meal was the perfect balance between traditional Italian cuisine, coupled with inventive modern dishes. And word around the culinary street is that Acanto serves up a stellar weekend brunch. It’ll perhaps be on my itinerary for my next trip to Milan.