On December 14, 1986, in Milan there were about 2 degrees and the classic mists accompanied by the usual drizzle that feature winter in Milan. Sant’Ambrogio had just been celebrated and the city was already ready for Christmas. It was on that Sunday of December when an old tavern on the Naviglio Grande opened and never closed down, right next to “Al Pont de Ferr”.
The inspired but simple idea of the fabulous sommelier and passionate businesswoman Maida Mercuri together with the restaurateur Licio Mannucci was to pay a tribute to the tradition of the inns and renew their fundamental features. Naviglio wasn’t at that time the place for night life, indeed a popular and even peripheral district and Maida and Licio with their courageous opening unknowingly laid a milestone on what would then be the road to rebirth for the whole neighborhood.
Al Pont de Ferr was then born, people ordered dishes of cold cuts and cheeses as well as some regional cuisine recipes which were naturally accompanied by an usual glass of wine. All this provided an absolute novelty and the choice of rigorous excellence in all the ingredients, including the wine.
The attention and care to detail were therefore the beginning, the base and the compass of a path that also in 2017 led to the special prize “The Restaurant best Proposal by the Glass” in the Gambero Rosso guide 2018.
Over the years, Maida’s never-ending desire to overdo – she is still the current owner of the venue – has involved other companions including many talented chefs. Their contribution has brought to life the today’s sophisticated status of this premiese that never forgets its simple, genuine and convivial origins.
The first chef and friend, who marked the turn, was the Moroccan Hamed Sidi Ben Hassan who expressed himself with dishes he created himself such as ravioli stuffed with rabbit and codfish brandade. The Uruguayan chef Juan Lema Pena, now owner of the Mirta restaurant in Milan, joined us in 2000 and in 2006 it was the turn of the chef Matias Perdomo, also Uruguayan, accompanied the sous chef Simon Press; in their hands the cuisine became so creative and innovative that it was worth the first Michelin star in 2011.
Later on the star-chef and a symbol of Franciacorta Vittorio Fusari, lead to the alliance between chefs and Slow Food…