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Art Café restaurants.
A journey

From Qatar to Florence: you say museum, you mean restaurant...

by Beba Marsano
December 31st, 2014

IDAM is the restaurant that at the beginning of 2013 Alain Ducasse opened in the heart of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.
A jewel designed by Philippe Starck for a Mediterranean French cuisine with Arabian tones.
To the delight of arts fans – with a refined taste, IDAM is the most famous restaurant belonging to that trend that is turning museums into art de vivre pantheons, where great art meets haute cuisine in order to offer excellence paths involving all five senses.

Across the Channel, in London, chef Oliver Peyton has ridden the wave of the moment creating two different offers: at the National Gallery you can find the national Dining rooms with great classic courses of the United Kingdom (such as pudding) as well as modern interpretations of the traditional cuisine.

At the Wallace Restaurant in Wallace Collection – a romantic courtyard with glasses, plants and sculptures – the meaty bits are those from French cuisine: seafood, en terrine dishes, legs of frog and tournedos Rossini.

In Paris fans of gourmet art can’t miss Tokyo Eat at the top of Palais de Tokyo, one of the most extreme contemporary creation showcase, where the cuisine of chef Thierry Brassard is consumed in a fluorescent setting designed by the most famous current designers.

Another lavishly decked table is ready at The Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg: it is the table of Art Café restaurant, with frescos inspired by Mondrian’s art made by Aki Kuroda, now stronghold of a refined cuisine with tropical influences; salads bear the names of the painters shown in the exhibition such as Klimt and Kandinsky, and the menus take inspiration from the current exhibitions.

Among the most refined restaurant-museums there is the futuristic Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, designed by Renzo Piano, with Villa Schöngrün, chic bistro with one Michelin star and 17 points Gault Millau, directed by a champion of Swiss cookery: Werner Rothen.

Another cooking pantheon is the Nerua at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao: one Michelin star thanks to Josean Martínez Alija, enfant prodige of the new Basque haute cuisine. The tastes are as simple as the minimalist setting of the restaurant.

Every Thursday the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna hosts the most histrionic buffet of the world dedicated to Viennese cuisine.
During the evening, called Gourmetabend, you can sip your cocktail before or after enjoying a Caravaggio, taste your starter between a Rubens or a Tintoretto, and then enjoy the cuisine and again the paintings.

And what about Italy?

The pioneer was Davide Scabin in 2002 with Com- bal. Zero (two Michelin stars and three Gambero rosso forks) at the Museo d’arte Contemporanea in Rivoli, Turin, where his minimalist creations have the same artistic provocation of the artworks.

In 2007 the great chef Antonello Colonna turned the roof garden of Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome into the Open Colonna (one Michelin star), “first example of a maison gourmet present in a neoclassical style-setting of the late 1800s”; one of the flagships is the cellar with more than 1000 Ital- ian and international wines.

In Milan on the third floor of the Museum of Twentieth Century there is Giacomo Arengario, that overlooks Piazza del Duomo with a striking iron-glass loggia. The creative menu respects the local tradition, on it you are sure to find two typical dishes of Milanese cookery: risotto alla milanese (with saffron) and cotoletta (the Italian veal breaded cutlet).

One of the latest-born restaurant-museum is the Gucci Caffè at the Gucci Museum in Florence, a new place dedicated to the social life of the city. The menu tickles your taste with small and important cults of Tuscan cuisine: from soups to regional cured meats, from grilled beef tenderloin with vegetables to the original zuc- cotto, a sponge cake dessert which birth comes from Caterina de Medici.

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