Sapemare, the Mare (seafood) tapas aperitif in Milan

Giuliano Salvi, born in Naples, trained as a lawyer, moved to Milan and rediscovered his passion after the Covid stop. He thought back to dinners with friends that had become a tradition and an opportunity to take a break and get together. Thus was born the idea for the Sapemare concept, a new type of venue, perfect for enjoying good fish but in a simple and informal way, as only a good aperitif with many tastings and good cocktails can offer:

Mine is the story of many young people of my generation who make career choices that after a while they do not find suitable for their own characteristics and inclinations.

I graduated in law and while studying for the notary competition I became a lawyer… As time went by, however, that static life of papers, computers and regulations made me feel stuck…I always enjoyed contact with people.

The covid played a decisive role because while on the one hand it made us all feel more alone, on the other hand it gave each of us the chance to get out of the daily hustle and bustle and look deep inside ourselves. In my case, this was the emotional impetus for deciding to start a project I had kept in my drawer for a long time…”

– Giuliano Salvi

Sapemare is a project that starts from afar and above all it is the fruit of lived experience. The restaurant can be defined as a mix between a bistro, a taperia, and a cocktail bar. It is a new concept and a new aperitif/apericena formula made up of seafood tapas to be “shared” accompanied by excellent signature cocktails and refined wine.

Among the cornerstones of the format are the use of top quality materials (such as the choice of using Gin Moni made with Syracuse botanicals as the line gin) and the concept of sharing in its full expression. Because Sapemare wants to be a safe harbour where one can take refuge and spend a few carefree hours.

The story of Sapemare

Everything came from an experience among friends, so these values were not sought after but experienced first-hand by Giuliano, the owner. He used to organize, at least twice a year, with his closest friends, a dinner of seafood tapas instead of the classic menu with starter, first or second course. Regular appointments to get together, even for those who lived out of town, and take the opportunity to enjoy food and drink around a table laughing, drinking and eating seafood delicacies, tasty but also simple.

It is precisely from these meetings that many recipes were born and they are now proposed in the Sapemare menu that changes according to the seasonality of the products so as to always guarantee innovation to their customers.

Why Sapemare?

Sapemare, the name of the restaurant, is the very concept around which everything revolves: it is the sea in all its forms, because when something is good it ‘tastes like the sea’.(in Italian: sa di mare). The owner’s idea is to give customers the same kind of experience and sensations that you only get at family dinners like this, with the family you choose: your friends. All this in a location where the flavour of the sea can be perceived and experienced even in the choices of furnishings and decorations: from the creels inside the restaurant, handmade by an artisan and used as chandeliers, to the metal sardine bank made of knives that runs throughout the restaurant, created by Giovanni Scafuro, an artist from the Museo della Forchetta.

The Chef, the Menu and the Cocktails

Chef Onofrio Radicini, aka ‘Ninni’, is originary of Palermo, as he is keen to emphasise by telling us and explaining what seafood cuisine represents for him and what he means to evoke and create with his dishes and how his passion for cooking, that led to his profession, came about:

Sapemare’s cuisine is nourished by emotions, memories, impressions so that each recipe, although apparently simple, conceals an extraordinary complexity and each dish results in a true alchemy, between flavours, which, without useless frills, are always recognisable in their originality. In my work experience, gastronomic art has been an encouraging and authoritative travelling companion…

Although it began almost as a game, at home, where I developed recipes closely linked to my territory, skills, abilities and expertise soon turned into awareness, rigour and respect for raw materials.
Devotion: connection to the land. The quest for a cuisine that is frank and honest, humble and direct, without compromise. These are the values that have always driven my cooking with passion and enthusiasm.

This is how I adapt the raw materials, always in season, and the family recipes to the new expectations of the public, who are increasingly looking for creativity, taste, tradition and innovation….Although I love traditional cooking very much, I am passionate about research and new cooking techniques. I like to propose dishes that have been forgotten or simply neglected but are part of everyday life, revisiting them and putting my own stamp on them.

– Chef Sapemare

My passion was born almost 6 years ago behind a small counter bar, serving simple aperitifs! From there, in the following years, I realised that this was my path, studying and investing in this project… My job is not just mixing and serving customers, behind it there is love for my profession.

I think experience helps but passion supports!
You can serve the best drink, but if you don’t serve it with a smile you haven’t understood the philosophy of this job

My cocktails are mainly inspired by the chef’s cuisine… I decided to create them very fresh, light and citrusy to best accompany fish-based cuisine. Most of the products I use, including liqueurs and syrups, are made by me.

In a nutshell, ‘Choose the job you love, and you won’t have to work a day in your life’.

Alex the barman

Three passionate guys, love and attention to details and simplicity so that everything is like those get-togethers with friends! In short, all you have to do is drop by Isola and experience this new idea of a seafood aperitif/smart dinner to immerse yourself in the flavour of the sea at Sapemare, in 📍 via Pastrengo, 2 a few steps from via Borsieri. (M3 Garibaldi-M5 Isola)
🌐 website
Instagram @sapemaremilano