Seven reasons to visit Seta at Mandarin Oriental, Milan

Each morning in the courtyard of an 18th-century Milanese townhouse, white-gloved hands place 55 black-and-white Fornasetti design plates on tablecloths still gently steaming from the press of a hot iron. It’s the beginning of the day for Seta, Mandarin Oriental, Milan’s two-Michelin-star restaurant


Weaved from silk


For many Milanese people, the meaning behind Seta is easy to understand. For out of towners, the restaurant is named after the Italian word for silk – a material that has woven its way into the restaurant’s philosophy, with its connections to the East and the origins of Mandarin Oriental. Silk is also the inspiration behind some of Seta’s best dishes, which are inspired by the places Chef Guida and his team have worked.


The travelling chefs


Influenced by his travels around the world and having cooked in Rome and Paris, Chef Guida’s biggest inspiration comes from working alongside his fellow cooks, executive sous chef, Federico Dell’Omarino, and pastry chef, Nicola Di Lena. Having arrived when the hotel was still being built, the trio have added layers to the inside, with their classic yet innovative dishes such as risottos with herbs, potatoes and oysters, lamb with polenta and stuffed bell pepper, and strawberry with gianduia, goat’s cheese and almond ice cream.

The menu is always evolving

However, Chef Guida is constantly changing Seta’s menus to help diners experience the very best cuisine, inspired by daily market finds and the humblest of ingredients. Cauliflower, risotto rice, Savoy cabbage – anything can truly become the star of the plate at Seta. It is purely about simple flavours and ingredients paired with the most exclusive ones. Not that you’d know there was anything experimental going on from the unfalteringly balanced flavours and coherence of each day’s menu.


The restaurant is Michelin worthy


With such intriguing dishes, it was no surprise that Seta was granted a Michelin star within three months of opening its doors, with a second one following not long after. Each star has been warmly welcomed, with the team using it as motivation to make their new dishes even better than before. Experimenting with flavours, menu orders and plating, the restaurant strives to make their guests experience the best from the moment they walk in the door.


Get up close and personal


For those who want to get even closer to the action, there is a chef’s table in the heart of the kitchen, where two guests can experience the seven-course tasting menu (dedicated to the cuisine and city of Milan). For Guida, the chef’s table is as much for the kitchen as it is for the guests. “Clients must be happy. Here I can see what makes them happy,” he says. He has even, on occasion, had guests join him at the stove.


The restaurant is all but a stage


Moving around the kitchen and restaurant has become like a performance for Chef Guida and his team. Likening his staff to an orchestra, Guida believes, “a restaurant can only succeed if everyone truly understands its purpose. Our[s] is to make our guests happy.” And being an audience member in this performance will be sure to make the guests, diners and the regular businessmen who turn up in their smart, blue suits to enjoy the Carte Blanche menu just that.


The best is yet to come


There are talks about a second restaurant, yet the team are working hard to ensure that Seta has the most creative of dishes and is running as smooth as silk before they even think of moving on. For Chef Guida (pictured above) and his team the focus right now is on making the best dishes – ones that truly stand out, but that are recognisable to all. And that are a reminder of a great trip to Milan.