Milan foodie guide: where locals eat and drink
Graze on ossobuco, salads laced with orange, fennel and thyme honey, and scoops of velvety hazelnut gelato in Italy’s design capital
Looking for restaurants in Milan? Want to know where to eat in the Italian design capital? Local food and travel writer Jaclyn DeGiorgio shares her insider tips for the best restaurants in Milan, along with where to find the best saffron risotto, pillowy pizza and gourmet gelato.
olive's top 10 foodie must-visits in Milan
Ratanà – for risotto
Each plate at Ratanà fuses old-school Milanese food culture with contemporary flair. Chef Cesare Battisti is a carnaroli whisperer, so make sure you order risotto, either a seasonal speciality or “alla Milanese” (with saffron and bone marrow) to go with ossobuco.
Tipografia Alimentare – for lunch
Speciality coffee and artisanal baked goods are available all day at Tipografia Alimentare, while the lunch menu changes weekly, with at least four vegetarian choices. Recent dishes include tacos stuffed with wild Nero di Parma pork belly, Lucca red beans, spring onions, chillies and coriander.
Crosta – for baked goods
Crosta is a bakery, pizzeria and bottega rolled into one. At lunch, try the pillowy pizza alla pala topped with marinara sauce and stracciatella cheese or prosciutto. Dinner is all about the pies: try the fior di latte, sausage and friarielli (greens typical of Campania).
Trippa – for meaty dishes
Diego Rossi’s minimal menu at trattoria Trippa might include snails, spleen and horsemeat, and the more familiar gnocchi al ragù; however, the lustrous vitello tonnato (veal with tuna sauce) and crispy slivers of fried tripe are the must-tries.
Pasticceria & Dessert – for sweets and pastries
Don’t miss Pasticceria & Dessert, Marcello Rapisardi’s pastry shop in the tranquil Piazzale Bacone. As well as classics like cannoncini (little pastry horns filled with vanilla cream), there are chocolates flavoured with marine plankton, and pâte de fruit in edible bonbon wrappers.
Nebbia – for an Italian-style bistro
Located on a sleepy street near the Naviglio Pavese, Nebbia melds Italian traditions with French bistronomy. Keep an eye out for risotto with sweet Montoro onions and tart Calabrese bergamot, finished with a sprinkling of dehydrated capers.
Gelato Giusto – for gelato
Vittoria Bortolazzo puts her Cordon Bleu pastry degree to good use at Gelato Giusto, concocting gourmet gelato from top-quality ingredients. Flavours range from a creamy fior di latte to a velvety Tonda Gentile Romana hazelnut, and there are plenty of vegan choices to boot. If it’s on the list, order a scoop of the refreshing Uva Fragola grape.
QuBi – for cooking classes
Where better to master risotto than the Lombardian capital? During a specialist cooking class, QuBi chefs Gabriele and Mariagiulia teach participants how to prepare the city’s signature broth-based rice dish step by step (vegans get to prepare a version senza butter and cheese).
FUD Bottega Sicula – for al fresco dining
When the comfort-food craving hits, turn to FUD Bottega Sicula. Its burgers, sandwiches and salads are crafted from the finest Sicilian ingredients. Order a Littel Itali salad (with orange, fennel, olives and thyme honey) and eat it at one of the outdoor tables to soak up the energy of the buzzing Navigli quarter. Dip into the bottega before you go, for edibles such as Sicilian olive oil and honey.
Where to stay in Milan – La Favia urban guesthouse
The four-bedroom La Favia guesthouse, an urban hideaway tucked inside a refurbished 19th-century building, takes its inspiration from owners Fabio and Marco’s travels: no two rooms are the same. On sunny mornings, start the day with breakfast in the rooftop garden – eggs cooked to order, pastries, cakes, bread, homemade jams, fruit and juice squeezed from oranges grown in the owners’ own citrus grove.
More places to eat and drink in Milan
Rossi & Grassi – for deli products
At Rossi & Grassi pack yourself a gourmet picnic from the seductive deli counter (try the lentils with artichoke or arancini), or stock up on artisan cheese, dried porcini and homemade pasta.
La Latteria – for simple cooking
Its handful of tables and no reservations can make La Latteria a tricky place to get a seat. But simple is sensational here: bottarga with juicy tomato, plump slices of goose roasted with potato, and a carafe of house wine costs €60 per person. (Mon to Fri only.)
0039 2 659 7653
La Rinascente – for cocktails on the roof
Have cocktails on the roof at La Rinascente, a department store with the best Duomo views in town. Drink an Aperol spritz within near-touching distance of the cathedral’s curling gothic spires. Inside, buy this season’s Bialetti Moka Alpina coffee pot, styled to look like an Italian Alpino mountain guard, complete with a neat feather-capped lid.
N’Ombra de Vin – for a boozy dinner
Under N’Ombra de Vin’s vaulted ceilings eat fish crostini, veal meatballs and burratina salad, plus a bottle from the 1,000-strong list. At weekends, kitsch crooner acts encourage the polished crowd to push plates aside and dance on the tables.
Princi – for flashy bakes
Princi, the flagship bakery in Rocco Princi’s growing international empire, is still the flashiest and buzziest. Cure foggy heads with a stracchino-filled focaccia (a Lombard cheese sarnie) and cappuccino.
Viale Papiniano – for an outdoor food market
Try Milan’s outdoor food markets. At Viale Papiniano’s you’ll find pungent cheese and fennel-scented salsiccia.
Ponte Rosso – for lunch
Lunch at the playfully decorated Ponte Rosso to eat puntarelle (winter chicory) with a punchy anchovy dressing and ‘stinco alla birra’ (beer-marinated ham hock) with Milanese saffron risotto. Find room for a glass of pistachio gelato.
Enoteca Cotti – for wine
At cavernous Enoteca Cotti buy regional Italian wine ranging from a €10 chianti to a 15-year old-Barbaresco for €399. Staying at Antica Locanda Solferino? Make a quick bottle stop; it’s just opposite.
Da Rita e Antonio – for pre-theatre dinner
Tuck into Neapolitan pizza, cotoletta alla Milanese (breaded veal cutlet) and a carafe of house for around €30 per head at Da Rita e Antonio. This is the perfect pre- or post-theatre dinner spot; Teatro dal Verme is next door, a more affordable experience than La Scala.
0039 2 875 579
Words above by Sarah Barrell
Costanza – for foodie apartments
Created by Milan-based Costanza Cecchini Bonfanti, with input from renowned designer Ilse Crawford, these three contemporary apartments (in the city’s Porta Venezia district) all have design at their heart. Housed in historic buildings, the spaces offer a peaceful retreat from the city, with a modern approach, calming natural colour schemes, lots of greenery and a peppering of local artwork (including watercolors by Roberto Bonanomi and origami by Uros Mihic).
Better still, for visiting foodies, the apartments’ sleek yet practical marble kitchens mean you can cook your market goods with ease each day. The largest property, the Pastel Home, also comes with a separate dining area.
Words above by Ellie Edwards
Photographs: ALAMY, Matteo Carassale/SIME/4Corners, Stefano Amantini/4Corners.Guido Baviera/SIME/4Corners