Falling somewhere between a bistro and a happening, the well-appointed newcomer, which opened in May, occupies a wing of the Neoclassical Villa Reale, home to the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, or G.A.M. Inside, there are enough familial vibes to choke even the most detached Milanese.
Avoiding the culinary theme park environment (the music is more reggae than “O sole mio”) the décor reflects the family’s heritage in nuanced ways. The Borgo del Castelluccio estate on Sicily, inherited by Ms. Beccaria’s husband, Lucio Bonaccorsi (whose many titles include that of the Marchesi Borgia del Castelluccio) provides the olives, oil and almonds for the restaurant. The preferred Milanese cocktail, the Spritz, usually served with Campari or Aperol, is instead offered with a little-known Sicilian liqueur called Amara produced from the region’s blood oranges, while Bloody Marys are blended with a fresh Sicilian tomato passata, or sauce.
Dishes are served off the famed ceramics made in Caltagirone, in central Sicily, and the bathroom displays an artfully arranged collection of shells from Vendicari, the great stretch of salt marsh where family members have their beach houses, south of the Baroque city of Noto.
Palms, cactus and ficus trees add luster to original period features found in the light-filled dining room. Original 17th-century arched windows overlook a public garden on one side, and a view of Villa Reale’s courtyard may be glimpsed from the other. A well-worn wooden bar found in Berlin, and twinkling lights that resemble those of traditional Sicilian summer festivals, tone down the grandeur a bit.
“I wanted some naturally aged and worn pieces to keep things a bit off-key,” Lucrezia Bonaccorsi, the bar’s creative director, said. A graduate of Central St. Martin’s, she had a career as a set designer, working on the gritty Italian television series based on Roberto Saviano’s best-selling 2007 book, “Gomorrah,” and was instrumental in transforming a derelict orangery without electricity or running water into the relaxed bar dining scene of today.
Indeed, it’s so relaxed that patrons sometimes move from table to table, and staff members — most of whom are under 30 — have become accustomed to shifting napkins and cutlery from one tabletop to another. Family members are in regular attendance, holding court and facilitating conversation.
During one recent lunch, for example, Ludovico…