One of my favorite stops in Milan was the Triennale di Milano, a museum dedicated to Italian design. Instead of paintings - and Italy has plenty of those - it focuses more on things like architecture, furniture, and performing arts.
As you might expect from a museum devoted to architecture, the physical space of this museum was stunning. Best of all, in my opinion, was the Terrazza Triennale restaurant on the top floor. Set up like an indoor/outdoor greenhouse, it had a breathtaking view of the park in the foreground and the Milan skyline in the distance. It was like a scene from a movie.
The presentation of the food was really impressive as well. I had the vegetarian tortelli with hazelnut butter, crispy sage, and summer black truffle. (Tortelli is nearly synonymous with ravioli.) Clearly the kitchen took their time to construct this into this work of art - how fitting for the architecture museum to take such care with the food!
We also had this elegant spaghetti dish - spaghettoni (a slightly thicker version of spaghetti) with garlic, oil, red peppers, squid, and breadcrumbs - which was an absolutely delicious medley of flavors and textures.
This next photo looks basic enough but speaks volumes - it captures the essence of all of our favorite al fresco lunches so far in Italy. The simple elegance of the white tablecloth over a plain wooden table, wine poured by an attentive waiter, an array of freshly baked bread, and sunlight dappling the scene. This feeling right here is what I want to bring home with me!
This photo, on the other hand, doesn't do the setting justice. Seated on the outside of the rooftop greenhouse, we had this unobstructed view: the simple lines of the museum beneath us, the lush green of the grass and trees in the middle distance, and the unexpectedly modern skyline of downtown Milan in the far distance.
It's a wonder anyone ever gets anything done in Italy if this is how they do lunch!
Sometimes the best dining experiences are at home, shoehorned around a kitchen table with loved ones. Sometimes they are quiet candlelit dinners in dark, intimate restaurants. And sometimes they are sun-filled terraces with chilled wine and outstanding views that make you promise yourself you will always remember.