It was 1852 when Paolo Biffi, the confectioner of His Majesty the King of Italy, opened the Biffi bakery and café in the heart of Milan, which was back then brimming with gardens and inland waterways. The famous Biffi pastry and its specialty, the panettone, soon became famous among Milan's most refined circles, delighting the princes of Savoy and the most prestigious families in the city. The Galleria was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni in honor of King Victor Emmanuel II and to celebrate the annexation of Lombardy to Piedmont. Once the construction works had been concluded, Biffi moved into this elegant venue, which was inaugurated on September 15, 1867. Both in the moments of glory and in those of crisis, Biffi and of the Galleria share a common fate. The venue was, and still is, located in the octagonal center of the Galleria, under Pagliano's fresco titled "Africa", and initially it occupied several showcases and a first floor with elegant windows. The father of 10 daughters, all working and "married in the
Galleria", Mr. Biffi was one of the few men who could afford a yearly rent of 30 thousand lire for the maintenance of the Biffi café-restaurant-brewery, which in 1882 became the first place to have electricity, astonishing many. A meeting place for artists, writers and musicians, attended by Luigi Capuana, Emilio de Marchi or Giovanni Pozza, it is not by chance that Biffi is often mentioned in texts dealing with the Galleria, mentioning the evening concerts and the noise of cutlery and worldliness that came from inside the place, arousing the curiosity of bystanders. Today, the "Biffi in Galleria" occupies only two rooms on the ground floor and can accommodate a hundred customers, both inside and outside the place, spread over about 100 square meters. It hasn't undergone any substantial changes since the 70s, and the green walls brimming with paintings still give this place a pleasant retro atmosphere.
Biffi's offers take into account the ever diverse needs of Customers. Among the main specialties of the restaurant one must mention the famous "Ossobuco" with "Risotto alla Milanese" and the Milanese Cutlet.
Although full of different options, the menu has remained largely unchanged for the last twenty-five years: Biffi Customers always enjoy trying out, or tasting again, the traditional dishes. Because of its central location and enormous reputation, Biffi is an undisputed reference for international tourists visiting Milan. The restaurant is very busy at lunchtime, with businessmen and traders from the area. If in the first half of the 20th century Biffi was crowded with leading figures of the art world, after the second world war its main patrons became sports journalists, motoring champions and football players. Even today, perpetuating this recent tradition, personalities from the world of sports and entertainment often sit at the Biffi's tables.