Every region of Italy has its specialties. We were in Milan, so it’s almost obligatory to try a Milanese.

For tourists, La Vecchia Lira is maybe as close to eating at Nonna’s place as you can get. Indeed, nonna herself is sitting at the table by the front door to greet guests as they arrive.

Eating out in Italy, for sun-drained and tired visitors, can be a slightly frustrating experience mainly because restaurants aren’t open in the early evening. We had a fast trip on the Milan metro to the ‘Zona Moscova’ and, as we emerged from the station, we found ourselves in a rather cool little area, full of bars that were humming with post-work crowds. What wasn’t humming was the restaurant – we were too early. Sent away, we needed to fill in half an hour; it was all good, gluttonous husband managed to score himself some clothing from a nearby department store.

The restaurant (or osteria to be more precise) was a recommendation from foodie friends of our Florence connection @ricasoli99, saying it specialised in Mediterranean classics. Ordering a half bottle of a very good Ripassa Valpolicella Superiore from the Veneto region, we decided to share a starter and head straight for the main courses. Greedy Girl also spied a dish on the English menu called ‘sexy potatoes’. Intrigued, she checked it out on the Italian version: ‘La patata erotica’, but more on that later.

First up was economically described as a mushroom pudding in a delicate cheese cream. This was a very tasty dish. The cheese cream was dominated by parmesan and the mushroom flan was light. The red blob you can see is a rather large cherry tomato, slightly blistered from the heat of the other ingredients. Maybe that’s what made this dish Mediterranean … Greedy Girl didn’t think it added anything to the dish but gluttonous husband was happy to put it away.

Where to eat Milan La Vecchia Lira

Mushroom pudding

Gluttonous husband had already determined he would have a Milanese (pictured at the top of this post). With the bone still attached, this veal cutlet had been pounded flat and liberally doused in breadcrumbs before being grilled. It was an enormous serving, almost covering the entire dinner plate, and it led us to ponder one of the basic things we’ve found with Italian food on this trip – big dishes with not a lot of variation in them. Usually, a meal starts with some kind of antipasti, followed by pasta, salad, main course, a couple of contorni (side dishes) maybe some cheese and a dessert. The variation comes in the number of dishes rather than what’s on one plate – which is more of what we’re used to.

Greedy Girl ordered a fritto misto that included calamari, prawns and zucchini. Again, a huge serving, and the addition of the green gave us both a welcome extra dimension. The seafood was cooked really well; Greedy Girl would have been happy to have it au naturel (i.e., without the batter) but it was still a good dish. The batter was crisp and the dish didn’t taste at all oily.

Where to eat Milan La Vecchia Lira

Fritto misto

As a side, we ordered the ‘sexy potatoes’ – a triumph of marketing. These were home made potato chips (crisps) with rosemary and black peppercorns. Perfectly edible, although not the best side dish for our mains but sexy? Greedy Girl is still scratching her head as to what exactly in the dish makes it worthy of the description.

Where to eat Milan La Vecchia Lira

So called ‘erotic potatoes’. Hmmm.

And we were done. Draining the last of the very smooth Valpolicella, we called it a night – no room left for the restaurant’s homemade desserts. Bidding Nonna ‘buona serata’ on the way out, we headed back to our hotel.
There were no surprises at this restaurant. It was typical local Italian cooking, executed reasonably well. For quite a large restaurant though, all the early diners were put in one smaller alcove, virtually on top of each other, which was a little off-putting. Presumably it was the section for wait staff with the best command of English. Ne’er mind.

La Vecchia Lira

Piazzetta Guido Vergani, 5, Milano, Italy


Osteria La Vecchia Lira Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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