My visit to Milan this past spring was so cursory that it should not reflect poorly upon the city's dining scene if I say that my best meal there occurred on a traffic island.
Il Kiosko is what it says it is: a kiosk selling fish in the Piazza XXIV Maggio. In addition to supplying home chefs, Il Kiosko serves fritto misto and crudo fresh from the riviera to the aperitivo crowd around the canals. There are high tables, and benches if you arrive early enough. If you can ignore the car exhaust, it's a very inviting place to snack.
I'd suggest the car exhaust even adds something - an enlivening contrast to the sterile environments in which one customarily consumes raw fish. I can report that my friend M and I definitely felt like righteous urban pre-Prometheans, standing there on the curbside, tearing into the raw slivers we'd just seen nicked from the belly of the whole damn fish.
M and I had arrived just around before closing time, to the detriment of the fry batter on our fritto misto. (A bit stale.) Ordering took some time, because crudo is not actually listed as a menu item, and I had to communicate with the very nice fishmonger via a third-party language, French. Then I found myself lacking in the corkscrew and the chutzpah necessary to open the bottle of cult Pigato I was carrying, so we resigned ourselves to glugging from plastic cups one of the two wines on offer at Il Kiosko, an unrefrigerated 2010 Falanghina by Bisceglia, a fairly enormous operation based in Basilicata.
It was what it was. My consolation is such scenarios is imagining how delighted I'd be if I were back in America, and I discovered some roadside shack offering any kind of Falanghina, regardless of quality.
The swordfish and tuna crudo more than compensated. The fish was shimmeringly fresh, hauntingly savoury, and we all enjoyed it very much until I dropped a half-rolled cigarette onto the paper plate.
We still ate it, naturally, because despite the rugged dreaminess of eating in such uncouth circumstances, Il Kiosko is still a wee bit dear. (I seem to feel this way after any transaction that involves ordering in kilograms.)
Still, I'd be delighted to live near a place like this. For comparison, my local fish shop on rue Oberkampf in the 11ème arrondissement of Paris is run by a man who plainly wishes he were a bartender, not a fishmonger. He takes every opportunity to turn his fish shop into a bar, even going so far on on one occasion as to decorate the walls with lingerie for unclear reasons. (It may have been Valentine's Day, but even so I don't see how that would justify putting undergarments so close to raw fish.) It would be endearing if he were also good at selling fish, but the entirety of the man's waking efforts seem to go towards banter and grotesque flirtation, leaving no time to, say, stock fresh fish. The whole enterprise scans as a kind of fumbling surrealist cabaret, reeking of failure and old cod, so whenever possible I purchase my fish elsewhere.
Piazza XXIV Maggio
Tel: 02 89402224Map
Some nice pictures of Il Kiosko @ WhatDoWeHaveToEat
A little informative piece on Il Kiosko @ CompletementFlou
N.D.P. in Milan: La Vecchia Latteria
N.D.P. in Milan: Peck