Grand Café a Tre Marie
The family-run Grand Café, open since 1953, certainly falls into the ‘traditional Milan cafés’ category – with a mouth-watering pasticcini counter, grand crystal chandeliers, and a sweeping scarlet-carpeted brass staircase that you might imagine Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers tap-dancing down (albeit in small steps). rnrnHowever, with the input of the Montanaro family’s grown-up children, the Grand Café is unusually modern in outlook. A recent refurb, with zebra-skin chairs, cream velvet banquettes and Irving Penn’s black-and-white portraits of Dalì, Bardot and Hitchcock, capitalizes on the refined air here, amplified with jazz and classical music. rnrnEnglish and Italian Tea Time menus (savoury and sweet respectively with fashionable Parisian tea by Les Contes de Thé) are served in the two tearooms. It’s quite a departure from the Tre Marie chain (of which the Grand Café is a franchise), named after a charity that fed the poor. A painting of the original 15th-century Three Marias piously looks down on such indulgence.