To leave the streets of New York and step into one of Sant Ambroeus’s many restaurants, is to walk face-first into a traditional Milanese experience.
From the interior design, to the kitchen equipment, to the custom-branded Ginori plates that your food’s served on, everything about Sant Ambroeus is authentically Italian — and that’s before we even get to what’s on the menu.
“If you look at the crux of the menu, it hasn’t changed since 1936,” Gaetano Guarducci, Head of Business Development for the restaurant, tells me on a video call. Sant Ambroeus has, as he describes it, been in his DNA since he was born, with his father, Gherardo Guarducci, being the co-owner of the SA Hospitality Group that owns Sant Ambroeus.
Founded in Milan in 1936 — “When you go to Milan, Sant Ambroeus is more of a religion because it’s been there for almost a hundred years,” says Gaetano — it was only in the ’80s that the restaurant expanded across the Atlantic, offering its quintessentially Italian approach to dining in Manhattan, New York.
All decked out in its signature pink color scheme (which we’ve utilized for an exclusive collaborative collection, available to shop from September 8), Sant Ambroeus now has locations across America, with New Yorkers having the option of five outposts in Manhattan. But one location in particular has become an unofficial Fashion Week landmark, and that’s the Sant Ambroeus in SoHo.
“You’ll see people like Edward Enninful or Anna Wintour sitting at a table in the corner. And then you’ll have the grungy skateboarders at another table,” says Gaetano. “Those guys represent SoHo so well, and you need that [mix of people] because it’s a neighborhood restaurant, and we don’t cater to only one specific person.”
According to Gaetano, the restaurant’s SoHo outpost turns into a zoo during New York Fashion Week — and he means that in the best way possible, of course. Dining at the Italian eatery has become so popular that one year it even had its own branded cars to drive high-profile guests from fashion shows to Sant Ambroeus in SoHo.
As with any high-quality bar or cafe in a fashion capital, such as Café de Flore in Paris or Bar Basso in Milan, Sant Ambroeus has found itself catering to a fashionable crowd, as well as a high-profile one.
Browsing through the paparazzi shots that have been taken outside of its many locations, brings up a who’s who of A-listers. From the Kardashian/Jenner clan to Dennis Rodman and everyone in-between, its restaurants have become a magnet for big-name stars, all of whom come for a taste of its Italian specialties.
Recipes that have been brought over from Milan, such as the vitello tonnato or the Milanese risotto, make up the crux of a time-honored menu that continues to draw crowds. Open from breakfast to dinner, whether it be from a coffee bar, pastry section, gelato stand, or main kitchen, there’s always something on offer — for Gaetano: “It’s more than a restaurant, it’s a full-day experience.”
The Highsnobiety x Sant Ambroeus collection will be available to shop from September 8, online and in-store at our New York pop-up shop (located at 21 Greene Street, New York, 10013).