Although Milan has long been written off as a disappointing food destination (models and fashion moguls aren’t known for their appetites), the dining scene has improved dramatically in the past few years and Milan’s unsung food scene is among the most exciting in Italy right now. Here’s what’s new and noteworthy:
- Antica Trattoria della Pesa: Down home old school Milanese cuisine.
- Trippa: This awesome trattoria in Porta Romana may be going for an old-school feel, but young chefs Diego Rossi and Pietro Caroli’s cooking is rooted in present-day Italy, employing top-notch ingredients coaxed into simple and satisfying dishes. True to its trattoria name, Trippa is affordable and casual, which means it’s super popular so book ahead.
- Ratanà At this restaurant in the Isola neighborhood, Chef Cesare Battisti, a Milan native, cooks up some of the city’s best authentically Milanese flavors, adding his own whimsical twist. His risotto alla Milanese (with saffron and bone marrow) is considered the best in town.
- Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia: This institution has been around for 50 years (the chef is 81) and has two Michelin stars. The spring onion spaghetti is legendary.
- Mangiari di Strada: This street food-centric joint serves specialties from all over Italy. It’s open at lunch only and it’s well outside the center, but it is certainly worth a trip. To get there, just hop on the 14 tram; Mangiari di Strada is near the last stop.
- Via Solferino: This street has a lot going on! Check out Dry, which serves great cocktails and delicious pizza. The same partners also own Pisacco, a bar and bistro. Next door, Zazà Ramen serves delectable ramen.
- Pave’: Cafe and pastry shop great for breakfast, lunch, or a quick snack.
- For craft beer, check out Birrificio Lambrate, a local brewpub, and Baladin Milano, a gastro-pub dedicated to Italian brews. For great cocktails there’s Dry, Ugo, and Nottingham Forrest. And the historic Bar Basso is a must for Negronis. Read this post by Sara Porro of Sauce Milan for other recommendations. The team behind La Cieca, a noted wine bar, opened La Cieca Pink in the fall. As the name would suggest, the wine list is rosé-centric. Cantine Isola is an awesome wine bar.
- Gelato Giusto and I Gelati di Nannina might not be new, but they are must-visits. Alberto Marchetti, one of Italy’s most beloved gelato-makers, opened an outpost of his eponymous Torino-based gelato shop in Milan last year.
- Down the street from Ratanà, check out the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest), a model for sustainable urban residential life conceived by architect Stefano Boeri. The surrounding district is part of the Porta Nuova Initiative, an umbrella term for an urban development project in progress in that part of town.
- Un Posto a Milano isn’t new, but worth a mention for the outdoor space. It’s more “farm-to-table” than Milanese and there is a huge garden on site where they grow most of their vegetables. It’s located in Cascina Cuccagna, a converted 17th-century farmhouse. Every Tuesday, the Mercato Agricolo, a Farmers’ Market, sells goods from farms and producers from Lombardy.
- Looking for Milan tour recommendations? Get in touch and I’d be happy to refer some trusted colleagues for culinary and historic tours.