I consider for a long time if writing that Mito is absolutely not a restaurant recommended to Milanese people and in fact I do it, because in my opinion it is so. Located in via Cagnola 6, it is a sui generis place that many could turn up their noses at. It surprised me positively. Let’s see why then.
I had dinner with Mito (Milan — Tokyo), tiny restaurant that barely has ten covers. Fortunately, I add, because the attention to the customer is very particular. But from Mito it’s really all very special, starting with the curious (and surely) offensive handwritten words by the owner on the post-it notes right at the entrance to the restaurant. To me honestly all this has made me smile and intrigued, also because I agree with her — and I think a little bit of anyone who has worked in the restaurant business! Sincerity sometimes does not pay, sometimes yes. The atmosphere is lovely. For those who have been in Japan, in this case in Kyoto, have visited Pontochō or been lucky enough to drink at the counter of the wonderful Nokishita711 ginbar, they will have understood perfectly what I mean. Objects with a curious style, a small music box, lights and trinkets of various kinds adorn the small window and the restaurant counter. Soft lighting, a relaxing musical choice and no pressure from the staff, make Mito a place that is light years away from the noisy environments of the ever-crowded all you can eat or the spaces with the suffused atmosphere of the sophisticated Milanese fusion. Here we experience a true Japanese experience, as if we were in a transposition of an authentic izakaya. And certainly the strong and direct character of the owner adds another quid to the evening. I have no intention of going into the peculiarities of the Japanese or the Koreans, suffice it to say that the former are indicatively more calm and reflective and the latter more honest and direct. And here, of that, there is a lot of experience.
Mito opens in 2004, taking over from the Desiderata vegetarian restaurant. The owners are Katsurashima Masakazu (Japanese, sushi man since 1990 with a great experience in the field, the last at Zen) and his wife Lee Heejung (Korean, arrived in Italy for study). Then there is a very nice little dog called Lolita that guards the kitchen and greets the customers by partying, wagging the tail. Adorable. The style of the kitchen is in line with the atmosphere of the restaurant. If you want an advice, abandon the choice of canonical dishes (such as mixed Japanese sushi, for example) and let yourself be intrigued by the most particular proposals. The menu is a real gem, hand-written by the owner, it’s fun and colorful. Important price, but also a curious experience because it is a rare case, in Milan, of a Japanese cuisine contaminated by Korean flavors, full and very spicy.
It starts with the appetizers (edamame, sunomono — mixed fish with rice vinegar, octopus and seaweed, sashimi with chili pepper sauce). Continue with the salads and get to the raw fish. The sushi offer includes uramaki, hosomaki, nigiri and temaki. Obviously miso shiru is not missing. The off-menu dishes are hot and all to try. The evening card in which I had dinner there included sticks (crispy rolls of sea bass and vegetables), crispy anchovies, yakitori, gunkan, ragout of sea bream with porcini mushrooms and chawan mushi. The desserts change constantly and are prepared by the owner by hand. There is no menu, so you have to ask her directly. The same applies to the choice of sake: get advice and you will not be disappointed. There are also Japanese beers, soft drinks, red and white Italian wines (glass or bottle) and hot green tea.
My opinion on this restaurant is positive: small, well-kept, perfect for couples - moreover, customers with children are not welcome and for me this is an additional positive note.
However, it must be said that the portions are not abundant at all and the price is quite high. However, at least one dinner is worth.