The Virgilio family has run "La Barca" restaurant since 1967

Papà Franco and mamma Elena were the founders and now the journey continues with their children: Domenico chef, pastry chef, sommelier, Andrea front of house sommelier and Giuseppe executive chef .
With our staff Antonio, Fabio, Diego in the dining area and Matteo, Cristina, Felix in the kitchen, we work to achieve the perfect meal.
Our supplies come from the fish market in Milan, with fish arriving from Mazara Del Vallo, Olbia, Manfredonia, Gallipoli and Trieste.

Our oysters are spéciale Muirgen bay of Mont San Michel, spéciale Tsarskaya bay of Cancale, spéciale d’Arcachon bay of Arcachon, spéciale d’Isigny Isigny , spéciale cuvèe prestige Marennes d’Oleron.

We would like to remind our customers that the variety of ‘fresh fish’ depends on the availability at market. We would also like to point out that our type of cuisine is ‘espresso’ which means that the dishes are prepared on demand and, for this reason, waiting times may be slightly longer than normal.

All the fresh fish which we purchase at market and prepare is shock frozen at a temperature of -4°C using a professional ultra low temperature freezer to maintain, unaltered, the characteristics of the product, as well as, obviously, to guarantee safety in the consumption of the raw products.
Some products may be frozen at origin and/or on board the fishing boats.

The Virgilio family

Papà Franco began his career at ‘Da Nanuccio’, his uncle’s restaurant, in old Bari, near the Svevo Castle. His first job was general helper, dishwasher and after that, vegetable boy. When he was 18, he began running the restaurant kitchen and at the same time took over the pastry shop owned by the same restaurant.

After marrying Elena and the birth of Domenico in 1957, he decided to leave Bari and move to Ferrara where Andrea was born in 1959; here he worked as a chef in the Astra hotel. He returned to Bari for the death of his father in 1960, and the year after that, his third son, Giuseppe, was born.

Franco moved, alone, to Trento, with references from the owner of the Astra hotel in Ferrara, and found work in a Hotel there.

Elena and Domenico, went to Rho to stay with her uncle Onofrio for a holiday. Uncle Onofrio suggested that Franco applied for a job working on the restaurant cars of the trains of the ‘Ferrovia dello Stato’ and, in this way, he travelled all over Europe.
In 1965 Antonella, our sister, was born.

At the beginning of 1967, our parents decided to take the plunge and open a restaurant themselves, my father’s dream since he was a small boy. This is how the adventure of a simple, peripheral eating house began in Rho, at the gates of Milan.

Tommaso Pennelli, our grandfather’s cousin, heard about this new initiative and sent a small, wooden box full of fresh fish, with instructions to “show the Milanese how fish should really taste!”

This was the moment in which our father began cooking fish. He prepared a meal for the managing director of the Philco company, offering a fish soup. This obviously was a great success and other fish dishes followed. And so our parents had become restaurateurs specializing in fish.

Over the years, the restaurant has been visited by several famous people, among whom we remember: the Cetra quartet, Pippo Baudo (television host and presenter), Dan Peterson with ‘Billy Milano’ (Basketball coach of the Milanese team known as ‘Billy Milano’) and customers from all over the world: Japan, India, America and many others. All of these left their memories of the restaurant written in our ‘golden guest book’
All three sons went to the ‘Amerigo Vespucci Hotel Management School’ in Milan. We have had Summer work experiences in other restaurants and hotels. Domenico has worked for a few months in other pastry shops.

After military service, we decided to carry on with our parents’ business. In 1992 the individual company became a society under a collective name. Andrea and I took part in a sommelier course and Domenico became an AIS professional (Italian Sommelier Association) in 1995. Since then, there have been courses to update our professional expertise: in pastry, icecream, chocolate and bread making.

In November 1996, our father Franco passed away. This sad event managed to bring us even closer together and made us more intent on following the way of our parents.

In 2000, it was time to restructure the restaurant, to bring it up to date for the new generation, so that we could continue in the best possible way the family run business in memory of our father.

Domenico, Andrea and Giuseppe Virgilio