Where to eat in Milan: risotto and other delights
If you’re looking for a good place to eat in Milan, it’s easy! The city is packed with restaurants, trattorie, bars and street-stands where you can enjoy the best typical food of Milan.
You’ll also find cuisine from other parts of Italy and around the world. Milan is definitely the most diverse city in the country thanks to its booming industry and the many top chefs who have settled here, drawn by the region’s economic prosperity. Even the fashion world has settled here. The city’s diversity is perfectly exemplified by its wide range of restaurants.
When picking somewhere to eat in Milan, it’s a good idea to follow the recommendations of locals, starting with people who work at your hotel. But here we’ve also included some suggestions and advice that will help you enjoy a wonderful stay in Milan.
Restaurants for eating out in Milan
One of the best restaurants in Milan is Betulle (Giorgio Stephenson, 55, hotel Barceló Milan (internal link)), where they serve a fantastic version of risotto alla milanese. It’s definitely the star dish, but the menu is full of other fine examples of Italian cooking that have been reinterpreted by the brilliant restaurant team.
More good restaurants you could choose for a meal out include:
- Vun Andrea Aprea (Silvio Pellico, 3): a temple to modern Italian cooking and one of the most select places to eat in Milan. A culinary concept based on using the finest seasonal produce, and cooking and presenting it in an original way. The restaurant is also housed in a particularly elegant dining room.
- Cracco (Corso Vittorio Emanuele II): Carlo Cracco is one of the most media-friendly chefs in Italy (seen on Master Chef Italy, for example). His eponymous restaurant has a setting to match his personality – it’s located right in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (link to corresponding URL) and serves surprising dishes that range from the subtle to the potent.
- Enrico Bartolini al Mudec (Tortona, 56): this chef has five Michelin stars (two at this restaurant in the Museum of Cultures in Milan) and takes diners on a fascinating journey with dishes that feature classic, refined cooking and fresh approaches from world cuisine. And it always uses the finest local ingredients.
Places to eat inexpensively in Milan
In general, it isn’t easy to find good, cheap restaurants in Milan. The capital of Lombardy is an expensive city when it comes to food. However, there are always exceptions, such as:
- La Fabricca Pizzeria (Viale Pasubio, 2): a pizzeria where Neapolitan-style pizzas are the stars of the menu. The menu has far more to offer though; almost everything is highly recommendable and often inspired by Italy’s different cuisines. It also has a good wine list of Italian and French wines.
- Sabbioneda da Romolo (Alessandro Tadino, 32): traditional Italian food served in a friendly, warm and cosy space. A great place for trying pasta just as it’s cooked in Milanese homes.
- Trattoria Madonnina (Gentilino, 6): probably the oldest trattoria in the city and one of the best places to eat authentic, traditional dishes in Milan. Both the menu and the atmosphere are particularly inviting, and it attracts a surprisingly mixed clientele of business executives and local residents.
- San Filippo Neri (Viale Monzza, 220): a popular spot for lunch during the week. Here you’ll enjoy the best dishes of typical Milanese cooking and Italy in general.
- Pizzeria La Magolfa (Magolfa, 15): specialises in pizza, naturally. But it also has delicious versions of Milanese dishes such as risotto alla milanese. In summer it has a lovely, covered garden.
Aperitifs in Milan
The Italian custom of going for an aperitif is a great idea if you want to keep things casual and don’t want the hassle of finding somewhere to eat in Milan. Lots of bars offer this option; sometimes it can be a buffet served at the bar itself, other times small portions of food are served by the chef with the drink ordered by each person.
Food is served with a soft drink, vermouth, spritz, beer or prosecco, and it’s similar to the Spanish custom of having tapas or pinchos. In some places an aperitif can easily replace lunch or dinner because the Milanese are normally generous with their servings.
Here are some great bars where you can enjoy this tasty custom:
- Fonderie Milanesi (Giovenale, 7): an old factory that has been converted into one of the most hipster spaces in Milan. Order an aperitif and enjoy an inexpensive, well-stocked and lively buffet.
- Frida (Antonio Pollaiuolo, 3): boasts of serving more than 80 cocktails and old-style aperitifs that can be enjoyed in the garden when the weather is fine.
- MAG Café (Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 43): one of the most elegant spaces in Milan. This old, converted pharmacy serves wonderful cocktails serviced with delicious portions of cured meat and local cheeses.
More places to eat in Milan: from pizzas to steaks
To round off your tour of dining options in Milan, don’t forget to visit one of the restaurants listed below which are essential stops for local residents:
- Al Pont de Ferr (Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 55): this restaurant has served dishes featuring wild fish, pasture-raised meat and raw milk cheeses for over 30 years. It also has an impressive wine cellar selected by its alma mater, Maida, known as Our Lady of the Channels (by Navigli, the neighbourhood where this restaurant is found).
- Le Cotolette (Corso Garibaldi, 11): as its name suggests, this is one of the best places to try cotoletta alla milanese, the city’s typical crispy, battered and fried steaks.
- Da Martino (Carlo Farini, 8): don’t be deceived by its local, classic vibe (it opened in 1950). It serves some of the best meat in Milan (not just cotoletta) and also the best pizzas, as well as Tuscan dishes.
- La Carretiera (Imbriani, 30): visitors are often surprised by the authentic Sicilian cooking at this restaurant. In fact, almost everything is possible in Milan thanks to the big wave of immigrants who arrived in the middle of the 20th century. Here you’ll enjoy typical dishes from the south of Italy, just the way nonna would make them.