Trying to eat like a local in Milan is not always an easy task, especially if you’re in the really central streets, like Via Dante, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele or Piazza Duomo, and of course you’ll be there if it’s your first trip to Milan. In this article I’ll try to round-up the best places to have an authentic Italian meal, and I can make you a promise: they’re not all cheap, but they are the results of my true foodie wanderings around Milan!

Breakfast time

A day in Milan can’t start without a good strong espresso and a fresh croissant. I suggest you going to Panini Durini, a small all Italian chain that have recently opened a new shop at the corner between Corso Magenta, Via Carducci and Via Meravigli. The breakfast window is a pleasure for the eyes – a joy of colors and textures, and most importantly, the taste will not disappoint you: a cream croissant will turn your average day into a beautiful day. Another great place for breakfast that is slightly off touristic path, is Pavè, an artisan patisserie located in Via Casati, behind Corso Buenos Aires. The lab is separated from the rest of the world by a glass wall, so you can admire where the magic takes place. My favorite pick here is the brioche with apricot jam, but you can find some more absolute delicacies.

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Lunch

Street food is perfect when you’re visiting a new city: you don’t spend a lot, can enjoy people watching while seated on a bench or on a monument steps and get in touch with the city’s underground mood. If you’re close to Piazza Duomo, you have two options that are equally superb: Grab a panzerotto at Luini in Via Santa Radegonda: it’s a delicious giant fried dumpling made with pizza dough and fulfilled with mozzarella and tomatoes; you can find some other variants, but the classic one is always the best. Otherwise you can go to I Panini della Befi at Via Cesare Beccaria. You won’t taste just a simple sandwich, but you’ll discover one of the best panino in Milan! Let yourself be conquered by cold cuts, cheeses, vegetables and dressings: you can create your own sandwich and you can even choose from different kind of breads, based on your preference!

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Aperitivo

If you are in Milan, you can’t leave the city without sitting down for an aperitivo, a moment of the day that has become a real social institution in the Milan life style. But pay attention: sometimes the offering is so abundant compared with the price (from 8 to 12 euros) that, at the end, you’ll not have any space left for a proper dinner. Along the Navigli river side, you can stop by Manhattan, a nice bar that’s always full where you can have great food and drinks from 19.30 to 22.30 at least. The variety is abundant, the quality is excellent, and you can find a dessert corner as well. Spritz or Negroni are the perfect drink match! For a lounge bar that’s a bit more chic, you could opt for Amami at Corso Sempione 7, where you’ll find elegant atmosphere with music and soft lights, a rich and sophisticated buffet, and most of all a friendly staff ready to create the perfect cocktail for you. I’ve sipped a tailored made one with green apple, celery and vodka: really intriguing!

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Dinner

Finally, at the end of a long walking day, you can indulge in a gorgeous Milanese dinner. Also in this case I will propose two restaurants, really different but both divine (and slightly expensive). If you want to try the typical Milan traditional cooking, go to Trattoria Milanese, but pay attention! There are a few “Trattoria Milanese” in Milan, but you’ve to look for the one on Via Santa Marta. Here you can appreciate the best risotto alla Milanese con ossobuco ever and a ton of other specialties, such as rognoni con polenta, verzini, or cotoletta and ending with a slice of tiramisu or a glass of zabaione. It’s a historical restaurant, so don’t expect to find fine furniture or classy service. Even better, you will plunge in the heart of the city, and with the exquisite taste, you’ll also nourish your knowledge. Last but not least, my favorite fish restaurant in Milan: Montecristo, at Corso Sempione 28. Indeed, you have to know that Milan has the biggest fish market in Italy, so you can find every sea products you can imagine. The restaurant atmosphere is completely different from the crazy life in Milan. It seems to be in The Count of Monte Cristo novel by Alexandre Dumas and the owner resembles the main character: a man from a different time. There’s no menu; the waiter will take care of you and will tell you about the fish of the day, the possible combinations and the wine that fits better. Personally, I will never miss the antipasto Montescristo, a cold and hot ensemble of delicious small portions, served in a giant plate: a delight for both the eyes and mouth!

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Article written by Michela Balestrini 

 


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11 COMMENTS

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  4. Hi,

    It’s a very well written articles! Inspiring! Congratulations!
    I’m coming with my husband next week for his birthday and I’m looking for a restaurant elegant but not very formal, traditional but not “cheap”, Italian cuisine not specialized in fish and fancy! I ask a lot?? 🙂

    Thank you

    M.

    • Hi Marietta, I’m afraid you’ve already been and gone but I would recommend Langosteria 10, in via Savona, or the more informal U Barba, in via Decembrio 33, which server regional ligurian food.
      If you’re in Brera you should visit Da Claudio, in via Cusani 1, for an “italian sushi” aperitivo. Milan has one of the biggest fish markets in Italy, so you’ll mostly find fresh food here.

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