It was Kathryn’s birthday last weekend and I wanted to find a nice place in Milan to take her out for dinner. I had come across great  comments about a place called U Barba. And seeing K’s fetiche for beards, the name of the joint was nothing but a good presage…

Let me tell you, U Barba wasn’t a good presage. It was a kept promise of awesomeness. 
Genovese style.

So first things first. 
The name.

I wondered why the two founding Genovese friends had called a place after facial hair. 
And my ignorance was shaven right off, when I learned “U Barba” means “the uncle” in Genovese dialect.

Va bene. 

U Barba used to be a local bocciofila -a boules court club. 

Until along came two creative and inspired Milan-loving Genovese and transformed it into so much more than a bocce field…
A Genovese osteria with a magical atmosphere of friends meeting after work for a chat and a boules match, of big families gathering around a big wooden table, of love-birds dining under subdued lights.

U Barba is for everyone. 
It’s absolutely accessible, unpretentious & relaxed. It has been beautifully refurbished maintaining the bocciofila as a central element. 
Every piece has a story and was carefully curated by Marco Bruni, one of the founding Genovese. The vespa, the railroad sleepers, the wood, luggage and pictures. The result is so impressive that even the Fashion industry has the hots for U Barba.

Now, le cose importante…The Food. (Pronounce Dhe Foodhe).

Chef Claudio Lazzari simply left us on our knees. 
We tried the Ligurian selection of antipasti, with cheese focaccia, farinata (chickpea flour flat pancake), stuffed- anchovies, zucchini and mussels.
Hard to tell what our favorite was, cause it was all just a food orgy of divine pleasure. 
I thought that’s what having an Italian mamma must be like. Plenty of good home-made food and somebody telling you to finish your plate.
The focaccia and stuffed mussels are definetely a must.

We then moved on to the primi: trofie al pesto with green beans and potatoes and stuffed ravioli with shrimp. 
Usually, I am a seafood-hater (I know, crazy). But to my surprise, I loved the shrimp on that plate! 

We couldn’t bring ourselves to try a main course. After all the stuffed foodhe, we were feeling a bit stuffed ourselves.
But how could we refuse the dolce? Never!

Kathryn went for vanilla ice cream covered in dark chocolate and I had the ciambella delle cinque terre…a sort of sliced panettone with chocolate mascarpone.
It tasted just like Christmas. But sweeter.

Poor Daniele, who waited on us the whole 5 hours couldn’t help to sigh “Madonna” when K asked for English Breakfast with milk after dinner. And he had a mini heart attack listening to us gals “bestemmiando”, that is swearing to all the Saints. We made up playing bocce.

I don’t know if it was the white wine, the erba Luisa shots or just the amazing vibe of the place, but Kathryn and I lost track of time and got to rave about the English language and how some inexisting words need to be invented. 
Like you know the white thing inside bread crust? There’s no word for that in English! So we came up with the Anti-crust ^^
And many more but I’ll save you the excruciating tale ;)

To sum up, you need to go to U Barba. If you’re anything like us, you’ll love the reigning bonhomie of friends and strangers dining together, sharing a match of bocce and enjoying the delicious Ligurian cuisine.

A must-eat.

Special thanks to Angelo for the lovely evening and to Daniele for his patience.

U Barba

via decembrio  33 – 20137, milano

Tel +39 02 45487032
Open everyday but Monday from 19.00-23.00
Sat and Sun for lunch as well from 12.00-15.00