“ Address: Via Francesco Albani, 41 / 20148 Milano / Italy „
Walking up the steps from the exit at Lotto Metro Station in Milan, we noticed lots of Bruce Springsteen fans milling around. There was a stall set out at the top of the steps selling T shirts with the star's face on so we knew we had come out at the right exit. The excitement was growing minute by minute but before we trundled off to look at the mighty football stadium of San Siro we decided to look around for a bite to eat. It was about three o'clock and we hadn't eaten since breakfast and knew that the meal we were about to eat would be the last of the day. We were in the correct place, Italy, with pizza and pasta being on all menus, filling and delicious.
After a 10 minute walk around, we came upon a long tree lined avenue called Via Francesco Albani. I could see there were a couple of restaurants on this avenue intermingled amongst the stylish boutiques. The first restaurant was La Nouva Tavernatta, it looked attractive enough with a chalk board out the front advertising the specials of the day. The door to the trattoria was open and it seemed full with people enjoying themselves. A menu board hung on the wall covered in glass so we stood and studied it. Italian menus always take me a long time to read as there are so many courses. As we pondered, a young man dressed in a bright purple shirt with a long black pinafore tied around his waist asked us if we were ready to order and we said we were still thinking but he was okay with that.
Eventually, we decided to order one large pizza, Quatro Staggioni with a bowl of mixed salad. We went and sat at the metal tables outside under a shady tree. It was very humid and I couldn't wait to order a glass of beer. A different waiter came this time or perhaps he was the owner of the trattoria, he looked more authorative but also a bit of a character dressed in his denims and striped braces. He placed a peach coloured cloth over the table, two really thick linen serviettes, a container filled with bread sticks and a basket of crusty bread that had been broken into pieces. A large bottle of Grapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Firenze and a bottle of balsamic vinegar appeared on the table but no plates to put the bread on so we could soak up the olive oil and vinegar. It was good to see a bottle of olive oil on the table as this never happens in Warsaw, we always have to ask for oil and vinegar.
We gave the second chap our order and also ordered two medium jugs of beer. These cost 5 Euros each which I thought was a little steep but when they came to the table I was relieved as I was so thirsty and the beer was cooling and refreshing. Two men sat at the table next to us and it was interesting to note that they were also Bruce Springsteen fans that had met before in Milan. While I was drinking I was also doing a bit of eavesdropping. They were discussing albums and saying which their favourite tracks were, also favourite gigs.
Finally, after about a 15 minute wait the bowl of salad came to the table, followed by the pizza. The pizza was large enough for us to share. It was slightly burnt around the edges but the texture of the base was thick, crispy and once bitten into, fluffy. I loved the large, thick slices of cooked ham on the top of the pizza, what I call real ham and not thin tissue paper, synthetic ham that you get in a lot of pizza restaurants. The sliced mushrooms were fresh and not dried and I am not sure about the artichoke whether it was fresh or not but they were very tasty. After cutting the first slice I could see that the tomato base was made up from tomato pulp rather than puree and there was a decent amount of mozzarella cheese spread across the whole of the pizza.
My husband said he would eat some salad before tucking into the pizza. The sald was disappointing, a huge glass bowl filled with mostly lettuce and some of the ends of the pieces of lettuce were turning brown, I picked these out and left them at the side of my plate. Other ingredients consisted of baby tomatoes, cucumber and onion. There was so much lettuce we had to cover it with oil and balsamic vinegar to make it palatable. I was first to taste the pizza, it was still hot from the oven and the cheese had melted nicely but left strings falling down when bitten into. It tasted good, not too doughy and all the ingredients were fresh. I did try some of the salad but I agreed with my husband, it wasn't the best. We managed to finish off all of the pizza between us although I think I ate more pieces. We then had a breather, soaked up the atmosphere and watched people walk by while still listening to the conversation on the next table.
Before finishing off our beers we also finished the pieces of bread after dipping them in olive oil. We were full and knew we would last out for the duration of the concert without wanting anything else to eat or drink as we knew beer would be expensive at the stadium. The young waiter with the pinafore came back to ask us if we had enjoyed our meal. We said, yes, and didn't mention anything about the salad. He asked if we wanted coffee, we declined. He then asked if we were here for the Bruce Springsteen concert and we told him we were indeed and very excited about seeing him. He said his best friend who lived in Milan, was Polish and lived in Warsaw, was going too as he was a huge Springsteen fan. What a small world!
We rose from our seats, other fans came out of the restaurant, the waiter wished us all a great night and we went on our way to Bruce and San Siro.
Do I recommend the restaurant? Yes, I do as it is in a nice shady spot and they do a good pizza. By the way the toilets are Turkish style and to get to them you have to go through two saloon type doors that are really difficult to push open. You need strong muscles to open the doors. Our meals as described above came to just under 30 Euros including two beers and a basket of bread. If you don't want the bread I should send it back as they will charge you 5 Euros for it. Service was very good and the waiters seemed friendly.
Address: La Nuova Tavernatta
Via Francesco Albani
Metro Stop: Lotto