In 1926, a young couple from the farmlands of Tuscany were discussing their future together and contemplating a move. Gino Ruggeri wanted to go to America and his wife, Beatrice known as “Bice” to her friends, wanted to stay in Italy. They compromised and went north to Milano. Gino found the best of a fast-paced metropolitan city and Bice was happy as she wasn’t too far from her family.
Growing up on a farm with 9 younger siblings, Bice was known for her organizational skills and good, wholesome cooking. Far from the countryside of Tuscany, they decided on opening a trattoria, a family style restaurant in the heart of Milan on Via Borgospesso 12.
“Da Gino e Bice” soon became one of the most popular restaurants and later became known simply as BiCE. Although it was a struggle, the Ruggeri family restaurant survived WWII and continued to flourish through the 50’s and 60’s. Even as Milan developed as a business, finance and fashion capital, their farm to table approach and philosophy endured and clients returned again and again not only for the quality meals but also for the warm, welcoming atmosphere.
Sons Remo and Roberto Ruggeri literally grew up in the restaurant and learned everything about the business from cooking to table setting to bookkeeping to dealing with suppliers. In 1978, the brothers opened a second BiCE location in Porto Cervo on the island of Sardinia, one of Italy’s most exclusive resorts and celebrity playgrounds. It was a new era for BiCE, the Made in Milan imprint of style and hospitality by BiCE took its first steps off the mainland.
In 1987, Roberto lived out his father’s dream and went to America, opening the first BiCE Ristorante in the United States on 54th Street between 5th and Madison Avenues in Manhattan, New York. It had a fresh, urban décor by Adam Tihany and the menu was a perfect blend of traditional Italian recipes with a touch of modern trends and it quickly shot to the top of New York’s list of best restaurants.
The new venture was only meant to expand to New York, but demand and opportunities had arisen for Chicago, Los Angeles, Paris, Palm Beach and Tokyo. The Ruggeri brothers were incredibly careful to not create a typical chain of restaurants, which would have undermined all the hard work their family had dedicated themselves to. Instead, they created the BiCE Group which could manage and oversee that each restaurant was able to deliver and maintain quality and high-standards while maintaining the traditions, values and hospitality that were so dear to Gino and Beatrice.
Today, the BiCE Group remains a family business and is run by Gino and Bice’s grandchildren; Roberto’s children Raffaele and Rossella, and Remo’s children, Beatrice and Roberta. Roberto Ruggeri is Chairman of BiCE Group, Raffaele Ruggeri is CEO and Rossella Ruggeri is COO.
“Everything is made from scratch in a homemade style. We make our own bread and fresh pasta. You come into my restaurant and you come into my home.“
– Raffaele Ruggeri
Raffaele, who grew up in Milan, knew Bice simply as Nonna (grandma) unaware that she was a successful businesswoman and acclaimed chef. He too learned the trade from a young age. As soon as he was old enough to carry a basket of bread or water glasses to the restaurant’s guests, Raffaele became an eager protégé. When asked about BiCE hospitality he said, “It’s in my DNA. You come into my restaurant, and you come into my home.”
BiCE Restaurants around the world
There are over 15 locations around the world offering BiCE’s unique Made in Milan food and hospitality.
The latest opening in SoHo, New York has already caught the attention of La Cucina Italiana and La Repubblica and it’s already difficult to find a reservation.
BiCE Ristorante Milano
Via Borgospesso, 12
Phone: (+39) 02 795528
Mialno, where it all began. Classic northern Italian cuisine featuring homemade pasta, veal ossobuco, veal chop Milanese, and tiramisu. Bice Milano is run independently from the group by the 3rd and 4th generation of the Italian family branch; Beatrice and Roberta Ruggeri with their families own the brand for Italy and they will continue to grow the Bice Legacy in Italy.
Only accepts reservations by email or phone.
Phone: (+39) 02 795528
BiCE Ristorante Palm Beach
313 Worth Ave
Palm Beach, FL 33480
Phone: (561) 835-1600
Opened in the early 90s, BiCE Palm Beach was one of their first restaurants to open in the USA. Located on a wonderful patio on Worth Avenue, this location brings the creativity of “old style” of Milanese cooking to one of the finest resort cities in America. Click here for reservations
BiCE Ristorante Naples
300 5th Avenue South
Naples FL, 34102
Phone: (239) 262-4044
Opened in the early 2000’s, this little gem on the west coast of Florida has become a meeting point for baby boomers. Now a Naples classic, located on 5th Avenue, this BiCE Naples offers Milanese style cuisine, with a few new dishes to meet the desires of the younger crowd. Dine on a beautiful front patio, or great side terrace, which provides guests with a unique Florida al fresco dining experience all year long. Click here for reservations
BiCE Ristorante Orlando
Loew’s Portofino Bay Hotel
5601 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL, 32819
Phone: (407) 503-1415
Opened in the early 2000s, Bice Orlando is located inside the spectacular Portofino Resort of Universal Studios Orlando. Sitting on a private lake, visitors can dine “on the waterfront” from it’s two terraces. From the second terrace one has a view of Portofino Piazza, where the Hotel has replicated the atmosphere of the real Portofino village in Italy. The menu classical, with all the important BiCE signature dishes, brought from Milan to you. Click here for reservations
BiCE Ristorante Dubai
Souk Al Bahar,
Downtown Burj Khalifa,
Phone: (+971) 4 423 0982
Nestled in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, BiCE Mare is one of the best and most popular restaurants in Dubai. Serving Italian & seafood inspired cuisine in the heart of downtown Dubai, the terrace offers a breathtaking view at the iconic Burj Khalifa & grand Dubai Mall fountain show day & night. Click here for reservations
BiCE Mare Dubai
Hilton Dubai Jumeirah
The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Phone: (+971) 4 318 2520
Hilton Dubai website
Hilton Dubai Jumeirah offers a wide choice of stylish bars and restaurants. Experience the sophisticated BiCE Ristorante, offering award-winning Italian cuisine. Dine alfresco near the beachside bar or sip a cocktail at the balcony as the sun sets over the Dubai waterfront at BiCE Sky Bar.
Accepts reservations by email or phone.
Phone: +971 4 399 1111
BiCE Cucina New York
62 W. 55th Street
New York, NY 10019
Dishes such as the incredible Taglioni Lobster, Ravioli Massala, Ossobuco and Papardelle al Telefono demonstrate the chef’s skill in blending Northern Italian and American cuisine with uncompromising results. Click here for reservations
15 Watts Street
New York, NY 10013
Located in the heart of SoHo, the new BiCE Cucina is a relaxed and elegant space with some contemporary touches. The BiCE Cucina menu has adapted to meet the needs of today’s diners, with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options now in the mix. Pinsa, the traditional Roman pizza with a light, airy crust, is served all day, and a menu of small dishes is available for late-evening visitors. Indoor and outdoor dining available.
Article by Celia Abernethy
Photos courtesy BiCE Group