A trip to Milan: Our gourmet suggestions
Milan – The best of Lombardy gastronomy
Take advantage of your trip to Italy to discover Milan’s gastronomy; a cuisine that takes advantage of the excellent products of Lombardy. Milanese cuisine is also marked by history and tradition and is regenerated by the rice and livestock farming in the region.
This cuisine differs from the Italian classics – by “classics” we mean the eternal pasta and pizza. For example, the Milanese region is known for its delicious Milanese cutlet (cotoletta alla Milanese), osso-buco alla Milanese, a special version of panzerotti (fried pizza dough) and saffron risotto. As for desserts, Milan is undeniably a reference; think tiramisu, panettone, cannoli, gelato and so much more.
The Lombardy capital is also famous for its many beverages, with or without alcohol. Limoncello (lemon liqueur), amaretto (almond liqueur), sambuca (a very sweet liqueur flavoured with star anise) or the famous Campari are specific to the region. It is also difficult to talk about Milan without talking about Italian coffee! The culture of coffee is taken very seriously everywhere in the city. Here you can savour some of the best Caffè Correto (with a hint of liqueur), Caffè/Latte Macchiato (with cream) and the essential Cappuccino.
In this list you will find a dozen addresses including trattorias, osterias, cafes and both traditional and more or less informal bars to dine in during your stay in Milan.
Focacceria Manuelina Milano
Delicious focaccia near the Duomo. In the immediate vicinity of the Duomo, it is difficult to find an address that does not fall into the category of “tourist attraction”. This is what makes Focacceria Manuelina even more interesting, one of those rare addresses where you can really feel like a local. Inside the Rinascente annex, a few steps from the cathedral, the address offers specialties inspired by the recipes of their grandparents: from the authentic cheese focaccia to other more elaborate compositions, from pizzas to Ligurian pastries. It is the ideal place for a meal at any time of the day, but also for a delicious snack or a Ligurian aperitif accompanied by excellent cocktails and good music.
A charming literary cafe in the historical center, Colibrì has such charm that you might want to stay all day just to relax, read a book, quench your thirst, and satisfy your hunger. The service is very pleasant and the atmosphere is always cheerful. The charm of the place lies mainly in the small bookshop incorporated in the cafe. One comes here to savour simple and delicious dishes inside the cafe or in the small courtyard. It is also the ideal place to have a drink at nightfall, accompanied by live music.
Cantina Piemontese is a great place to discover traditional Milanese recipes that will make you fall in love with the region’s gastronomy (if you haven’t already!) in an absolutely enchanting setting. Among the signature dishes of the house, you can enjoy the Gran bollito (stew) of Piedmont. The restaurant pays particular attention to respecting the environment with a meticulous selection of the best local products and a cuisine with authentic Italian flavours. The restaurant is also a reference in terms of Italian wines with a list of over 120 labels. The beautiful patio is the perfect place for a romantic evening!
Trattoria Del Nuovo Macello
Fine Italian cuisine and a family atmosphere. After more than 40 years of loyal service, Trattoria Del Nuovo Macello was renovated in 1998 to offer a space that combines tradition and modernity in a friendly atmosphere. The renovations were done with great care and the dining room has not lost its old world charm! On the menu, you can enjoy creative dishes that draw on local traditions thanks to the superb products and expert technique of Chef Giovanni Traversone, a third generation chef. This is Italian family warmth with a modern twist.
A popular address with a seasonal menu. Apart from the superb La Marzocco espresso machine, the trattoria’s decor is limited to a few simple mustard-coloured pieces of furniture and a few scattered tables. At Trattoria Trippa, it’s the food that earns their great reputation, and the delicious aromas wafting from the open kitchen are a good indication. It’s hard to say exactly what’s on the menu, as the menu evolves with the seasons and the chef’s creativity. However, you can always find the signature dish of the house; the tripe plate. Even the skeptics should trust the chef who always surprises with his way of cooking them. The short menu is absolutely delicious and the setting charms with its simplicity.
Local cuisine on the outskirts of the city. Erba Brusca is a regular haunt a little ways from the city; a sure indication that the dishes on the menu are delicious is that the gourmet regulars don’t hesitate to venture out there. One savours indeed a delicious local cuisine enhanced by the herbs and flavours of the owner’s vegetable garden. We feel at home here, except with a chef who cooks for us! The little perk of the place? Their bucolic garden where time seems to have stopped.
Vinoir – Vini d’autore e cucina
Natural and organic wines at the edge of the Navigli Grande Vinoir is a small unpretentious bar where you can find a generous selection of excellent wines. This is a great place to make new wine discoveries thanks to their expert team, passionate and full of stories. The house selection features labels from all over the peninsula, with a special emphasis on Piedmont and Tuscany. To accompany the delicious bottles, the house also offers a small menu of plates to share.
A Sicilian paradise in the center of Milan The LùBar is a beautiful cafe established in the equally beautiful Gallery of Modern Art. The latter houses the largest collection of 19th century art in Lombardy, located in Villa Reale, a former Napoleonic residence. The cafe’s decor is just as spectacular; as soon as you enter, you are transported back to the bygone days of Sicily. The menu is inspired by Sicilian cuisine with specialties such as cannoli with ricotta cheese, arancini and a beautiful wine list from southern Italy.
The eclectic natural wine bar Champagne Socialist is where one goes to discover and enjoy excellent wines and have a good time with friends. The house offers an impressive list of natural wines with nearly 500 references. Mostly from Italy and various small vineyards throughout Europe, all the labels have one thing in common: the pure expression of the terroir without chemical additives. To nibble on, superb charcuterie and delicious local cheeses.
Out of the box gelato
At the top of the list of the best gelati in Milan. We can’t conclude this list without mentioning the legendary gelati, which alone would be worth a return trip to Milan. Out of the box is constantly teeming with locals and tourists who share an unconditional love for the house’s ice creams. The gelati here are made daily to offer the best possible product using local ingredients.
To discover Italian cuisine without having to cross the ocean, check out our lists of the best Italian restaurants in Montreal, the best pizzas, and the best cannoli in the city. For other gastronomic trips on the European continent, consult our lists of gourmet addresses in Barcelona, Lisbon, London, and Paris.
Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive; it simply includes a few suggestions of delicious places to eat during your stay in Milan. Bon appétit and enjoy your trip!
Written by Sophie Monkman
Photography by Euroviajar.com