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Quadri Bistrot: A Former Cracco and Alléno Protègè is Making Headlines in Milan

Claudia Concas
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From Alma training through experiences with Cracco and in France, Riccardo Quadri shares his cuisine, blending French discipline with Japanese notes, at Quadri Bistrot in Milan.

Riccardo Quadri, chef-patron of the namesake Quadri Bistrot at 48 Via Solferino in Milan, boasts an impressive resume at just 30 years old. His most significant formative experience was undoubtedly alongside Chef Carlo Cracco. Several years at Cracco in Galleria and the opening of Cracco Portofino with Mattia Pecis have shaped Quadri, who, now ready, has opened his own establishment just steps away from the historic Milan headquarters of Corriere della Sera.

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The chef's Swiss roots naturally intertwine with French cuisine, which he experienced firsthand in 2021 with Yannick Alléno. The result is a technical cuisine with clear and distinct flavors that play with textures and enjoy sauces. Chef Quadri's cuisine is precise, adhering to the rules of gourmet cooking with a touch of freshness from his youthful creativity.

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Quadri Bistrot: A location with a thousand faces

Entering Quadri Bistrot feels like leaving the hustle and bustle of Milan behind. The city's noise fades away, and you are enveloped in an elegant, light, and refined atmosphere that is sophisticated yet not overly formal. Dominating the entrance is the bar counter, boasting an impressive collection of over 300 spirits from around the world, including a precious selection of sake.

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This reflects Chef Quadri's passion for Japanese culture, evident in the ambiance and the personal welcome he extends to his guests—a gesture that immediately puts you at ease and mirrors the attentive hospitality typical of Japan. At the bar, you can enjoy drinks before, during, and after dinner, or choose from the Let's Eat menu designed by the chef for those who want to snack without the commitment of a full sit-down meal.

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This menu, also available at lunch alongside daily specials, features many Italian delicacies like burratina from Andria and 24-month-aged Parma ham. Classic dishes such as spaghetti with tomato, stracciatella, and basil are offered, alongside more sophisticated options like a plateau of oysters and raw seafood.

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Behind the counter, the main dining room opens up, which was renovated two years ago at the time of the opening. The high ceilings rest on exposed brick walls that display contemporary artworks, which are also available for purchase. On the lower level, besides the chef's kitchens, there is a private dining room that can accommodate up to 40 guests and an exclusive social table suitable for business breakfasts and dinners.

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An evening at Quadri Bistrot

The love for Japan is evident from some of the techniques featured on the menu, such as yakitori. There are three tasting menus: Origini, Degustazione 1, and Degustazione 2. These names reflect the chef's Swiss precision, which he humorously acknowledges. A noticeable feature of the menu is the balanced number of meat, fish, and vegetable dishes.

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Chef Quadri is not (or perhaps not yet) one of those chefs who identify with a specific category of ingredients. Instead, he enjoys focusing on a primary ingredient and building a culinary world around it. Another aspect that stands out is Riccardo Quadri's respect for his past, which he celebrates through various dishes inspired by his previous experiences. This approach beautifully narrates his personal and professional journey.

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The welcome consists of a trio of bites designed to introduce the palate to what will be a non-linear journey, but rather a real adventure with numerous stops at various places and experiences. It starts with a saffron foie gras crostino with a passito gel, moves to yakitori mackerel with mayonnaise, parsley oil, and acidic herbs, and concludes with a small beef tartare with marinated yolk cream and caviar. From this initial course, it becomes clear that the chef remains faithful to classic French cuisine, loves Japan, which stimulates his creativity, and holds great respect for his past.

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We delve into the Tuna Tartare with soy, black sesame, coconut milk, lime, and basil. It is a simple dish that doesn’t reveal all its secrets at first bite, but soon all the nuances emerge, achieving a flawless balance. Sweetness, acidity, umami, smokiness—everything is in its right place. The real revelation, however, is the texture of the tuna tartare, which is strained to create a sensation akin to eating a granita without ice crystals. It feels like velvet caressing the palate, leaving it refreshed and ready for the next course.

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Chickpeas, tomato, and oregano is the name of the second course. This dish caters to vegan diets but is also intriguing for omnivores. It is a true ode to chickpeas, presented in three different textures. Complementing the legumes is dehydrated San Marzano tomato, with a hint of oregano perhaps evoking the taste of a plant-based “carne alla pizzaiola.” This pleasant dish is currently a starting point that will likely become one of Quadri’s signature dishes.

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The next dish is one of the chef's highlights, and for good reason. These are veal-filled tortelli with a crispy core of fried throat sweetbread. The base features a sweet cream of milk and onion, completed with a Parmesan sauce, veal jus, and dehydrated yeast. It's a delicate and sweet bite that finds its explosion right in the heart of the tortelli, with a crispy ball that offers a touch of burnt flavor, balancing the dish and surprising the palate with its taste and texture.

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The second main course is a risotto with applewood-smoked butter, salted lemon, and black pepper. Few ingredients, lots of technique, and distinct flavors; the rice is cooked perfectly, avoiding the trend of confusing al dente with undercooked.

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With the final savory course, the chef asserts his style and his passion for distant places: Wagyu Yakitori with BBQ carrot and sesame. Pairing such a precious meat with a simple vegetable highlights the quality of the protein and creates a conceptual journey that perfectly conveys the dish's flavor and meaning.

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The dessert is called mango, coconut, and passion fruit, and it's visually stunning. It seems like the chef's moment to relax and have fun. What you see is a plate of "spaghetti" made from mango, with small cubes of coconut and passion fruit. It's sweet, but the acidity prevails, making this dessert perfect for those who don't prefer overly sweet endings.

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Quadri Bistrot

Via Solferino 48 - 20121 Milan

From Tuesday to Saturday - 12:00 - 2:30pm | 6:30pm - midnight

Reservations: +39 02 4775 5505

Email: info@quadribistrot.it


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