We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Unique gourmet vegetarian cuisine” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Joia

Joia
Reserve with
Joia is not available for your requested time. Choose another time, or search restaurants with availability.
The time you selected has already passed.
Ranked #94 of 8,030 Restaurants in Milan
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian, European, Healthy
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighborhood: Stazione Centrale
Santa Clara, California
Level Contributor
56 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Unique gourmet vegetarian cuisine”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2013

Eating a Joia was a unique experience. It's the only Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant in Europe. The food was beautifully presented and generally delicious. It reminded me more of French nouvelle cuisine than of Italian cuisine. The service was very good. The names of dishes were mysterious, but the server explained to us what was in each one. Except, that is, for one dish; we were told that the chef wanted us to experience it without knowing what it was (beyond of course knowing that that it was vegetarian). The meal was expensive, but worth it. I told the chef that he should open a similar restaurant in California.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank TravelingMark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,524 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    879
    362
    151
    78
    54
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Windsor, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“A dreadful dining experience...”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 6, 2013

My wife and I decided to visit Joia on a gastronomic tour of Italy and France, as we both love great vegetarian food (despite not being vegetarian). But oh boy was this a let down. Appalling does not even do it justice.

Where to start? The 35 minute wait before someone deigned to take an order for a bottle of wine? The unutterably pretentious menu? The arrogant and quite pathetic level of service? Or simply the most dreadful, uninspired and misguided food? Take your pick.

Pietro Leemann writes an interesting preface to the garbage that is the menu. Here's an excerpt: "I search through nature and change it so I can understand it and represent its essence. I do this in a teasing, playful way. My cuisine is a stroll through an imaginary landscape: metaphysical, surreal, hyper-realistic, but real... What exactly are these dishes? A vision of time that changes continually and yet, never changes". Should have set the alarm bells ringing I guess. But they were ringing at full volume after an arrogant, rude and very poor head waiter had displayed such a lack of grace in refusing to apologise at failing to take our order repeatedly (I asked 7 times), and then the amuse bouche arrived. A slimy cabbage leaf smeared with sesame oil and some red spice which tasted similar to a cabbage leaf which had started to sweat in the bottom of the fridge.

OK, so to the 1st course. I opted for "Not By Bread Alone" (really... although I could have had "Impressions Walking on the Side of the Hill" or a few other ridiculously named dishes) which turned out to be a melange of beans, wasabi, pumpkin, and "a refreshing contrast of raspberry and turmeric". And yes, it was as confused as it sounds. Kind of like something your six year old might come up with if allowed to play in the kitchen. My wife decided on "Reflection on Where I Want to Be. Here.". Did I mention the pretentiousness? Wow. This was a bowl with some raw vegetables over which a serving girl (I use the term as she was only allowed to serve and not take orders from customers) poured a small amount of coconut sauce. The vegetables were an interesting "muesli" (what arrant tosh) of savoy cabbage, crispy waffle oats, pumpkin and celeriac. If there'd been anything else left on the shop floor I'm sure it would have been considered as well.

We both then ate "Will". Seriously. Actually, I'm kidding now - we didn't eat Will because Will was REVOLTING! And other than tripe, I had never come across a dish I couldn't eat. But this scaled heights of awfulness never before reached. And that was despite the tablespoonful of salt which must have been used.

We finished with "Privileged Relationship" (me) and "Beneath a Colourful Blanket" (my wife). Not much you need to know about these. Utterly uninspiring.

We watched the kitchen staff through an interior window throughout. One guy had the job of examining each dish under a food lamp prior to service, and wiping the plate sides clean with a cloth. That's fine, except it was the same cloth, which he put down on the side after each wiping session. It was never changed nor cleaned at any stage.

So, all in all, a monstrous insult to intelligence, and a black mark for Michelin in awarding a star to this drab establishment. I am not given to writing poor reviews generally, but this one needed to be done. Eat there at your peril.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
6 Thank r777rms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
119 reviews
83 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Highly original for all senses”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 3, 2013

Joia has been in existence for a while and is an excellent vegetarian restaurant. But it is also much more, many dishes are experimental, but they have been tested and tasted, so that the customer gets something pleasurable, not only 'original'. There is a constant Oriental inspiration in this type of cooking, the chef has absorbed principles from Zen, maybe from the traditional more strictly vegetarian Buddhist fare of some Japanese temples, but the ingredients are mostly unmistakably Italian, of top quality and interest. You come out feeling you've had a 'real gastronomic experience', you feel better and grateful to the chef and his staff.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Diago_34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
49 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Very disappointing after all amazing reviews.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 26, 2013 via mobile

I really don't understand all the rave reviews about Joia. I booked this as a special treat for my vegetarian boyfriend thinking it would be the best meal ever (especially with a Michelin star- if they still have it). We were both very disappointed by the food, we chose the medium size taster menu and all dishes apart from the very first one (called wild) tasted very similar to each other; mainly sesame oil,
courgette and red and green little sauce blobs. One dish consisted of cold gloopy quinoa stuffed in cold courgette strips although made to look like a pretty butterfly...
I have to applaud the presentation, it is beautiful and the chef himself was lovely but I found the staff very unattentive and the decor very strange, almost like being on an average cruise ship. In an empty room we got seated in a corner between a window and a radiator which felt very cramped. Finally I too found the random gong and poetry-style menu a bit embarrassing, navel
of the sun anyone?
Also I had mentioned my nut allergy when I booked the restaurant a day before which they had forgotten about.
The dishes certainly don't justify the prices and unless they revamp pretty much everything we won't be back.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Lingonberry78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
99 reviews
73 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Excellent”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 9, 2013

Such a unique restaurant. Marvelous vegetarian food. The choices are so varied you just can't put down. Best to go and let the chef and the great staff amaze you. You never would know you had a meal with no meat or fish. One of the best restaurants in all of Milan. I'm going back to Milan again in October and will make every effort to secure a table again.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank davidlillian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to Joia? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing