In Italy, Milan is the place where things happen. No matter how often you visit Italy’s fashion capital, there will always be new restaurants to try, new exhibits to check out and endless new attractions to experience. In this post I have listed some of the trattorie (both newly opened and established), bars, stores and museums I always visit when in Milan.
Where to eat in Milan
Risotto alla milanese (saffron risotto) and cotoletta (veal breaded cutlet cooked “bone-in”) are two main staples of cucina milanese. Besides trattorie and osterie, in Milan you will find many Michelin-starred and farm-to-table restaurants that offer a more modern and lighter cuisine. If you’re visiting the city in November or December, remember that Milan is the birthplace of panettone, Italy’s traditional Christmas pudding, so do not miss to try it. The city is dotted with pasticcerie and cafés selling torta paradiso, sbrisolona and a variety of pastries.
Breakfast & Coffee
Bar Luce (Largo Isarco 2). Housed inside Fondazione Prada (located in the outskirts of Milan), Bar Luce was designed by film director Wes Anderson to recreate the atmosphere of a traditional Milanese café. Whether you decide to sit on one of the pastel colored chairs and order coffee or you feel like playing pinball, you’ll feel like you’re living in a movie. Do not skip Bar Luce’s signature pink cake, a vanilla sponge cake filled with chocolate cream and covered in pink fondant. Coffee and pastries are good too.
Pavé (Via Felice Casati 27). From sandwiches to fruit tarts, everything about this pasticceria in the Porta Venezia area is to die for. Pastries and breads are made with sourdough starter, and you can watch the pasticceri (bakers) work their magic through a glass wall. Pavé is also a great spot for aperitivo.
Pasticceria Marchesi 1824 (Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II). Established in 1824, this pasticceria is a true institution. Although they now have several locations in Milan, I always go to the one located inside Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. If you want to feel like a Milanese, order your coffee at the counter.
Tipografia Alimentare (Via Dolomiti 1). This bistrot has a laid-back atmosphere and excellent coffee, which is often a great combination. I always order pane con l’olio, two slices of toasted sourdough bread drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and topped with salt flakes and thyme.
Lunch & Dinner
Antica Trattoria della Pesa (Viale Pasubio 10). If you want a full immersion into Milanese cuisine, go to Antica Trattoria della Pesa. Among my favorites are: ossobuco con risotto alla milanese, risotto al salto (only a few restaurants serve risotto al salto nowadays) and cotoletta alla milanese.
Latteria San Marco (Via S. Marco 24). Latteria San Marco is a no-fuss trattoria serving big plates of pasta and good secondi. They do not accept credit cards, only cash.
Erba Brusca (Alzaia Naviglio Pavese 286). This farm-to-plate restaurant is located in the outskirts of the city and it has become famous as “Chez Panisse of Milan”. Run by chef Alice Delcourt (note for Marijn, Naima and Kerstin: she went to Smith!), the restaurant focuses on fresh, seasonal, local ingredients (they have a kitchen garden on the back, where they grow some of the veggies used in the kitchen).
Berberé (2 locations: Via Sebenico 21 + Via Vigevano 8). Berberé is one of my favorite pizza places in Milan. Their pizzas come pre-sliced and topped with the most unusual combinations of ingredients.
Briscola (2 locations: Via Antonio Fogazzaro 9 + Via Piero della Francesca 31). What I like about Briscola is that they encourage you to share your pizza with the whole table so you can try as many pizzas as you like. On Sunday they serve a nice brunch.
Taglio (Via Vigevano 10). This modern bistrot serves delicious eggs Benedict, charcuterie boards as well as a range of traditional dishes like roasted chicken, cotoletta alla milanese (their version includes orange zest and almonds) and cassoeula, a traditional Milanese dish prepared with pork meat cooked in a casserole with onion, carrot, celery and black pepper and cabbage.
The Botanical Club (2 locations: Via Tortona 33 + Via Pastrengo 11). This micro distillery serves signature cocktails prepared with vintage and rare liquors. The setting is modern and glamourous.
Dry (2 locations: Via Solferino 33 + Viale Vittorio Veneto 28). Dry is both a cocktail bar and a pizzeria (pizzas are excellent too). My favorite cocktails here are the D-Rye (Bulleit Rye, Aperol, Fernet Branca, basil leaves, Angostura spray) and the Sazerac (Bulleit Rye, Cognac, Peychaud’s, Angostura bitter, Absinthe).
What to see
Fondazione Prada (Largo Isarco 2). Fondazione Prada is an arts and culture institution created in the early 90’s with the aim to create and promote art exhibitions as well as cinema, photography, philosophy, dance and architecture projects. Located in a former industrial complex in the outskirts of Milan, it is a must for contemporary art lovers.
Villa Necchi Campiglio (Via Mozart 14). Architecture lovers do not want to miss a visit this beautiful villa. Located in the heart of Milan, Villa Necchi Campiglio is a rare example of 30’s Italian architecture.
Bosco Verticale (between Via Gaetano de Castillia and Via Federico Confalonieri). Although it’s not possible to visit it unless you have friends living inside the building, Bosco Verticale is a residential complex composed of two towers that contain more than 900 trees on 8,900 square metres of terraces.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The Galleria is one of the most instagrammed monuments of the city. It houses luxury stores, restaurants and cafés.
Duomo di Milano. The Duomo di Milano is the cathedral church of Milan and the largest church in Italy.
Navigli. Navigli are the canals that surround Milan. The area is dotted with cafés and places for aperitivo.