Milan has a reputation of being the capital of fashion, together with Paris and New York, and it’s often underestimated by visitors too, interested to the shopping side of the city rather than to its attractions and its food. Lately Milan has changed a lot, and the busy and business-focused city has been complemented by a great attention to good food; lots of new stylish restaurants and places have opened where you can eat and drink well, and relax after a long day.
If you’re heading to Milan or if you’re passing by leaving the city quickly, rethink your strategy and spend a few hours hanging around and eating in one of the spots mentioned in our food guide. The guide has been divided into sections with a plus: recommendations from locals which will help you in discovering places you wouldn’t ever discover by yourself.
Having breakfast is a pleasure for us Italians, and even if we always prefer to have an espresso and a cornetto standing at the counter in a bar, we’re also open to new possibilities and Milan really shines when it comes to breakfast.
Pavé is the place everyone talks about: stylish, highly Instagram-able and most of all, 100% artisanal; a bakery where quality ingredients and handiwork are above everything else, with an open laboratory you can have a look at while waiting. Everything is baked using mother yeast and the cornetti, in Milan called brioches, which are fragrant and the cakes are to die for. Big plus is the Italian granny’s style breakfast made of bread served with hazelnut cream, butter and jam, or butter and organic honey.
Much more traditional, yet amazing if you like Italian style breakfast, is Pasticceria Cucchi: here you can find croissants in 2 sizes, classical and miniature, lots of cakes and panettone bread all year long, not just for Christmas. Sit outside if the weather is good, and you won’t regret asking for a cappuccino and a brioche.
Di Viole Di Liquirizia is a real gem in the utterly famous Brera quarter, and it’s all about international cakes and sweets made using local ingredients; the Sacher is highly addictive. Same for Taglio where I’ve tasted some of the best Eggs Benedict ever with a spectacular Americano.
Top Tip from Ilaria, blogger at Pepite per tutti
MAM Milano Amore Mio is an unmissable stop for breakfast: peeling walls, a retro atmosphere, cozy armchairs, a statue of a pink flamingo looking at you and the good feeling of having all the time in the world for a sweet breakfast, away from the crowds of the usual bar; order an Americano with a freshly baked pastry, choosing among the many alternatives from the pastry with raisins to the warm cookies. And ask for the plum cake with goji berries with frangipane cream: they don’t make it every day, but if you’re lucky enough to have a slice of it, you’ll feel in Heaven. If they offer it, you have to taste it!
Lunch is supposed to be a little more light compared to dinner, and this can be a great idea since in Milan you can really have food and an abundant dinner everywhere. So for lunch let me suggest something easy, affordable and of high quality.
One of the best places in Milan is definitely the Antica Focacceria San Francesco where you can have a taste of authentic Sicilian food you won’t be disappointed by. Biancolatte offers homemade dishes prepared fresh every day and you can choose among pastas, soups, mains, salads and panini as well, but I suggest you try the “carrozzine,” the mini mozzarella in carrozza and the trofie Biancolatte, fresh pasta with basil cream and fresh burrata cheese from Apulia.
You won’t expect to eat fish in Milan, but if you go to the Fishbar De Milan you will have amazing fish in salads and mains, while Ofelé is perfect if you want a bagel or a pancake or even a toast.
TOP TIP FROM MONICA, food editor and blogger
If you want to eat something healthy, choose V3Raw where you can have lovely food in a lovely place. Avocado toast, fruit extracts and salads for the ones interested in eating well and healthy.
It’s easy to say that the aperitivo you have in Milan you won’t have anywhere else: it’s rich, it’s big and sometimes it also allows you to not have a dinner after. There’s plenty of great places where you can have a superior aperitivo in Milan, so this is just a partial list inclusive of some of the most famous places.
Ostello Bello is a hostel and also great place for an aperitivo (the clientele is quite young), and same is for Eppol where you can not only have a great cocktail but also seasonal food made to order; Cantine Isola, in the middle of Chinatown, is an institution for its aperitivo.
However, if you want to be bold, go to the Bar Basso and ask for the Negroni sbagliato (1/3 sparkling wine, 1/3 red Martini and 1/3 Campari), which was invented here. For a different experience, try La Cieca Enoteca where you can have the opportunity to taste the wine without knowing which wine it is, and if you’re guess is correctly, you will not have to pay for it.
Having a fantastic dinner in Milan is the simplest thing ever: the city is full of restaurants and you can spend a few quids or a lot of money. It’s your choice, but this is a list of recommended places where dining is an experience tout-court. Spazio Milano by Michelin star chef Niko Romito is an amazing spot overlooking the famous Duomo, and the prices are not so high.
Also Atmosfera, the restaurant on the tram, is great for a romantic dinner or just for enjoying Milano by night, eating and drinking while strolling around the city. Trippa is one of the coolest places in Milan at the moment I’m writing: great service and a superb offer where the vitello tonnato and the fried tripes (trippa fritta) are the must to try.
Last but not least in this small guide is Un posto a Milano – Cascina Cuccagna, perfect for a dinner in summertime (but remember to bring some spray against mosquitoes!).
TOP TIP from Claudia, blogger at LaFemmeduChef
The place I advise you not to miss in Milan is the Forno Cantoni. Outside the traditional touristic spots, Cantoni has maintained the historical furnishings of the early twentieth century and undoubtedly the vintage atmosphere, with wooden cabinets and velvet armchairs is what won me over the first time I came to this place. It is open all day long, and for dinner they offer a wide selection of dishes from the classic Italian gastronomic tradition.
I’m an Italian, but Dublin based, food and travel writer. I decided to start my food blog in 2010, when I moved to Ireland. Since then, I’ve been working with brands, companies, tourism boards and magazines producing content, strategies and taken part in cooking shows and events all over the world. Among them, Jamie Oliver, Barilla and many many more. I plan and write while my husband and business partner Giuseppe takes care of the pictures, both food and travel side.