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What can be better than a delicious home-made meal, prepared with love for a special occasion? Imagine some scrumptious home-made food, cooked with care, patience, imagination and dedication by a loving parent or grandmother. And then imagine that the parent or the grandmother are also an expert chef. Perfection, right? For more than 15 years, this has been a reality at Tathagata, one of the first organic and vegan delicatessen in Milan.
The owner Anna dell’Olio is a chef, a naturopath and an expert in natural nutrition and organic food. With the valuable help of Laura and Alice, she cooks every day home-made styled food for her clients. She cooks with love and care and her meals are full of the kind of taste and flavor that only expert chefs know how to instill. This small deli, located in the famous Via Tortona – the elective heart of the Fuori Salone design week, is magical. It’s a gastronomic laboratory, a forge of nutritional balance and holistic care, conveyed through healthy and delicious food. Every day lunch is prepared just before being served, like at home. It’s cooked in real pots and in a real oven, with strictly selected and organic quality ingredients. Vegetables and fruit, in particular, come from an organic farm of excellence located in Piemonte and are cultivated with passion and kindness by Beppe Tagliano, an expert farmer who has a pure heart and who has always been Anna’s supplier.
Tathagata was born from Anna dell’Olio’s dream to propose a healthy and tasty cuisine, bringing it to as many people as possible. She wants to offer food which aims to be in balance with the needs of the body, the soul and the planet. Her deli was conceived with the intention to offer the genuineness of home made food. Healthy home made food that stands out thanks to a fundamental ingredient that makes everything good and special: love. Having studied macrobiotic and natural therapeutic nutrition, Anna, who is a naturopath expert in “the nutrition of the heart”, as she defines her approach, has always been attentive to the nutritional balance of the foods she prepares. Over the years, she has been able to perfect recipes so healthy and tasty, that her food is really a miracle. Her recipes are the result of unique experience, inventiveness and imagination, and they are also inspired by the precious memories of dishes prepared by a mother who used to cook very well.
At the beginning Anna cooked everything by herself. Then, in recent years, Laura, former owner and chef of a vegetarian farm, joined the kitchen with her special Ligurian recipes and exquisite desserts, revisited in an exclusively plant-based approach. Finally, also Alice, a young expert in natural nutrition full of innovative ideas, joined the team. Three women who cook like they would at home, with love and dedication, but with professional expertise.
When I want to take out genuine organic homemade- style vegan food, or simply have a quick super healthy lunch on the spot, this is my favorite place in Milan. Everyday the menu is full of simple high quality choices, all rich in taste and nutritive properties. You can enjoy anything from the menu, which varys every day, on site, sitting at one of the tables set up for a quick lunch, or take out your favorite dishes and enjoy them at home, at the office or, as we did, at the park.
Francesco and I decided to enjoy a romantic picnic in the green, on a wonderful sunny day. Immediately, we thought that the delicious and full of love food from Tathagata would be the perfect choice. I went there and I chose for us a delicious abudant meal from the rich menu of the day:
- raw zucchinis spaghetti with italian style soy ragu sauce
- spelt pasta with dried tomatoes creamy sauce
- miso soup (detoxifying)
- focaccia and gluten free focaccia
- ligurian chickpea pancake/flatbread
- red lentils pie
- vegan burgers
- spicy tofu “cremini”
- sweet and sour salted tofu
- chickpeas salad
- steamed beetroots
- salted daikon
- vegan seaweeds and tahin “caviar”
- roasted green beans
- fruits and vegetables smoothies (detoxifying)
- fruit and vegetable cold pressed juices (detoxifying)
- watermelon mousse
- Tathagata’s special tiramisu
- apricot and wild berries pies
I chose for us the following amazing specialties: raw zucchinis spaghetti with italian style soy ragu sauce, focaccia and gluten free focaccia, ligurian chickpea pancake/flatbread, vegan burger, spicy tofu “cremini”, sweet and sour salted tofu, salted daikon, vegan seaweeds and tahin “caviar”, fruit and vegetable cold pressed juices, Tathagata’s special tiramisu and apricot and wild berries pies.
Every dish has been an explosion of flavor, perfect balance, genuineness, delight and that special unmistakable touch added by loving dedication. We spent wonderful moments outdoor, in the nature, enjoying quality time together and savoring delicious food, feeling happy and pampered by our mutual presence and the delicious bites. I brought four fruit pies and three tiramisu and nothing was left!
Tathagata is a peculiar name, it’s one of the epithets of Buddha, and it means “He, who thus comes” or “He, who thus goes”, the “Perfect” and “He, who has walked this way”, that is: he, who first walked the path of salvation that he, himself, showed. It also means “He, who walked well”, who reached the goal, “He, who comes and goes, who came and is gone”. Tathāgata in the meaning of “gone” implies that every Buddha is a pioneer and points the way to those who want to set out on the path of enlightenment; Tathāgata in the meaning of “come” implies that every Buddha comes to save living beings. Tathagata is the name that Anna chose for her creature, her deli, so that it would be born under the auspices of harmony and compassion, of love for all creatures and for ourselves. The idea that we are here to give our humble contribution in order to help the world becoming a better place for everyone was the main inspiration for Anna’s deli. The idea that our existence is transitory and impermanent, does not exempt us from pursuing harmony and responsibility towards everything that surrounds us, rather, it encourages us to give value to our being here and now, at all times, with the greatest dedication possible, with full presence. Also in the kitchen. And that’s exactly how Anna and her team has been cooking at Tathagata for fifteen years.
I love every dish, the divine sweet&sour tofu, the savory pies, the focaccia of Recco without dairy cheese, the vegan lasagna and the baked pasta, the almond cream seitan, the tasty “alla trentina” red cabbage and all their dessert, but the specialties that I really find unique and irresistible are their vegan eaweeds and tahin “caviar” and the spicy tofu “cremini”, which, albeit very simple, are really fabulous.
Why I love to eat here: because the food is delicious and super genuine, healthy, balanced and high quality. Because my mother did not particularly liked to cook and she was always in a hurry and here I can enjoy the pleasure of eating something cooked with love as if I had a mother who liked to cook (vegan). This place reconciles me with the culinary childhood that I wanted to have and I didn’t have.
Why I invite you to try it: because menus are rich and varied, the specialties are freshly prepared and perfumed, because even the baked pumpkin is the best in town, because the focaccia is homemade, as well as the dough of savory pies. Because desserts are delicious and decadent and very scrumptious even if they are very healthy.
I love: the Tathagata’s wonderful old-fashioned store sign and the stunning logo with the sun in the plate and the vegetable cutlery.
Who can eat here: it’s a place for everyone, absolutely everyone, including children. It is suitable for everyone who wants to experience quality organic genuine food cooked on the spot every morning, although they are not vegan or vegetarian. Of course, it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and for those with special needs as allergies and food intolerances to dairy products, eggs, grains. It is also suitable for coeliacs. Please inform staff about your allergies or intolerances.
Via Tortona 20
Organic Vegan Deli
Mon-Fri 9.30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Closed on Saturday and Sunday
tel. 02 839 5380