Flavors

Giacomo al Lago

If you’ve ever said, “Let’s go to Giacomo’s tonight”, count yourself in very good company. In fact, Lady Gaga, Donatella Versace, Elton John, Richard Gere, Brad Pitt, Madonna, Domenico Dolce e Stefano Gabbana, the queen of Jordan and maybe even Barack and Michelle Obama would be more than happy to join you. For more than sixty years, Giacomo Milano has attracted the world’s biggest names like moths to a flame. And now, in its third generation, this culinary dynasty continues to captivate food lovers from near and far with simple, yet sophisticated dishes that honor Italian culinary tradition and avail of only the freshest of ingredients. “Food that feels like family,” as founder Giacomo used to say, and food that – starting this spring – will captivate our guests as well, amidst the magnificent scenery of Grand Hotel Tremezzo. “When two legendary families come together, it’s the beginning of a beautiful story,” says Cristian Taormina, grandson-in-law of the eponymous Giacomo and General Manager of the restaurant group. “The De Santis family has been loyal patrons of ours for many years, so when Valentina suggested opening Giacomo al Lago and serving our signature dishes to the Grand’s discerning guests, we jumped at this amazing opportunity and got to work.”

Giacomo al Lago is a true labor of love that begins with the memory of another new venture. Giacomo Bulleri arrived in Milan in 1958 – a black and white photo shows the young chef on Piazza Duomo, his signature hat slanted just so and fire in his eyes. Born in 1925, Giacomo left his Tuscan hometown of Collodi (beloved the world over as the birthplace of the mythical Pinocchio!) at just thirteen to apprentice in the kitchens at the restaurant Giappone in Turin. Married at twenty, Giacomo and his new bride decided to make the leap to the bright lights and big city of Milan. His first trattoria on via Donizetti was a big hit with La Scala’s brightest stars – from Maria Callas to Mario Del Monaco – and many more besides. The literati, busines tycoons, stars and starlets flocked to Giacomo’s to see and be seen. And when he moved to Via Sottocorno, they all followed, making the new Giacomo Milano, with interiors designed by Lorenzo Mongiardino and his promising students Roberto Peregalli and Laura Sartori Rimini, a star of Milan’s restaurant scene for years to come.

 

“When two legendary families come together, it’s the beginning of a beautiful story…”

In 2017, the New York Times called him: “The man who cooked for Italy.” That was Giacomo in a nutshell, a chef whose dishes pay tribute to Italian tradition and its most fundamental principle: simplicity and quality. “Whether it’s a classic spaghetti with clams, a sea bass in salt crust or even two oysters freshly shucked as an aperitivo – we want the guest to remark on how fresh it is. All we ask of our chefs is to honor the amazing flavors nature provides.”

What will Giacomo al Lago have to offer? “Exactly what we fell in love with at first sight – and by that, I mean the enchanting atmosphere and warm welcome of Lake Como. To this we add our fish, the fish that has made Giacomo a culinary legend. For me, as a Sicilian, the best fish are the prize specimens caught especially for us by fishermen in San Vito Lo Capo, in Mazara and in Manfredonia, who circle the seas through the night to bring us spectacular snapper, langoustines, shrimp and local sea bream like pezzogna and sarago.” What can we expect to find on the menu of Giacomo al Lago? “You’ll find all of our signature dishes from the last 60 years. But there is one extra ingredient unique to our new locale – the feeling you get pulling up to the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in a lake cruiser and strutting down the dock for an unforgettable lakeside lunch or dinner. The waves gently lap at the shore and the sky is the deepest blue, with reflections of the sun, then the stars dancing on the water. And when the moon rises behind the mountain peaks, you feel almost as if it is shining right into your heart.”

Speaking of the heart, Giacomo’s desserts are pure love – and just too good to resist. La Bomba di Giacomo is one of these sweet temptations: light-as-air puff pastry filled with mascarpone Chantilly cream, wild strawberries and a sprinkling of sugar. Picture yourself savoring each bite surrounded by the magic of Grand Hotel Tremezzo, where for over a century extraordinary food, extraordinary views and extraordinary emotions are always on the menu.