Milan restaurateurs known for catering to the fashion set are opening their stateside debut on Monday, January 28.
Il Divo — from Antonio Sinesi and Claudio Della Monica of fashion haunt Al Valentino in Milan — is a sumptuous addition to the already plush neighborhood. The pair have given the intimate 50-seat room the feel of a chic apartment. Located at 1347 Second Ave., at East 71st Street, which long housed Per Lei, there are antique wooden pieces, curtains and striped wallpaper courtesy of Ralph Lauren, and countless framed photos of Rudolph Valentino, the restaurant’s inspiration.
“We are totally devoted to the memory of Valentino; from him the Latin lover was born,” general manager Allessandro Ferdico says. Il Divo even sells plates with the actor’s image, but the team could not transfer the Al Valentino name here. Il Divo was chosen because Valentino “was a star, a male diva,” Sinesi has said.
Chef Matteo Limoli, who just left his post as executive chef at Il Mulino Tribeca, is running the kitchen with consulting chef Massimo Sola, formerly head chef at shuttered Michelin-starred restaurant Quattro Mori in Varese, Italy, at his side for the opening.
The pair are presenting a menu that kicks off with such starters as beef tenderloin tartare with yolk dressing; deep-fried meatballs with salsa verde; salads; and soups, including one made with farro and sweet Italian sausage. Pastas range from traditional spaghetti pomodoro to the more creative ravioli with ricotta, lemon zest, and branzino in a seafood sauce, while entrees run the gamut from poached salmon on lentils to stewed veal cheeks with red wine, sautéed broccoli, and anchovies. The full menu is below.
Il Divo will likely fit right in in the neighborhood, which is home to upscale Italian places such as Bar Italia, Sfoglia, and Nello.
When the weather warms, there will be an additional 45-seat outdoor café. Il Divo will be open daily for lunch and dinner, from noon until 11 p.m., with the bar open until 2 a.m.