Foodie’s Guide To Milan

August 20, 2016 8:00 AM

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan (credit: Randy Yagi)

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan (credit: Randy Yagi)

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan (credit: Randy Yagi)

Italy’s second largest city and the capital of the Lombardy region in northern Italy is perhaps best known as one of the world’s premiere destinations for fashion. But Milan is also world renowned for its famous churches, Da Vinci’s famous painting “The Last Supper” and its internationally famous regional cuisine. From exceptional street food, osterias and pizzerias to cafes, trattorias and Michelin-starred restaurants, Milan has a wealth of dining options to fit most anyone’s budget and with tasty delicacies to please even the most discerning gourmand. From breakfast to dinner and aperitivos in between, here is a list of recommendations for the foodie visiting the fascinating city of Milan.

Suggested Restaurants For Breakfast

As in other countries, Italians typically begin their day with breakfast. However, visitors shouldn’t expect to see traditional American breakfast items on every local menu. Instead, what’s commonly ordered by the locals is a cappuccino, espresso or latte and a pastry item like brioche, biscotti or croissants.

Related: Foodie’s Guide To Tuscany

Chicken with Gnocchi (credit: Randy Yagi)

Chicken with Gnocchi (credit: Randy Yagi)

Suggested Restaurants For Lunch

Unlike breakfast, lunch in Milan is intended to be much more of an extended dining experience, which typically includes a starter, and first and second course and coffee, along with optional side items likes vegetables and dessert. Hours for lunch in Milan may slightly vary from place to place, but is typically from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Suggested Restaurants For Aperitivo (Happy Hour)

A classic dining experience in Milan is the Italian aperitivo, or the happy hour. Typically held between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., the aperitivo is primarily a culinary tradition observed in Northern Italy. The must-experience happy hour usually consists of a pre-dinner drink, such as Aperol, Campari, Negroni or Prosecco wine and bar bites like Italian cheese, sautéed vegetables, nuts, rice and sandwiches.

Featured Restaurants

As one of the finest culinary destinations in Italy and in the world, Milan is blessed with a multitude of outstanding restaurants and was the setting for the first three starred Michelin restaurant in Italy — Gualtiero Marchesi di San Pietro all’Orto — formerly led by Gualtiero Marchesi, the renowned chef considered the founder of modern Italian cuisine. Although Milan doesn’t currently host a Michelin three starred restaurant, it does have 15 with Michelin stars, currently the most of any Italian city. Of those 15, the following three were awarded with two Michelin stars while the other 12 were bestowed with one Michelin star. Each of these world-class restaurants have received an internationally-recognized mark of distinction and are each virtually guaranteed to present an extraordinary foodie experience.

Michelin Two Stars

Cracco
Via Victor Hugo, 4
20123 Milan, Italy
+39 02 876774
www.ristorantecracco.it

Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia
Via Privata Raimondo Montecuccoli, 6
20147 Milan, Italy
+39 02 416886
www.aimoenadia.com

Sadler
Via Ascanio Sforza, 77
20141 Milan, Italy
+39 02 5810 4451
www.sadler.it

Michelin One Star

Alice Ristorante
Eataly Smeraldo Piazza XXV Aprile, 10
20121 Milan, Italy
+39 02 4949 7340
www.aliceristorante.it

Armani/Ristorante
Via Manzoni, 31
+39 02 88838888
20121 Milan, Italy
www.milan.armanihotels.com/ristorante

D’O
Via Magenta, 18 – Cornaredo (MI)
20010 San Pietro all’Olmo
+39 02 936 2209
www.cucinapop.do

Joia
Via Panfilo Castaldi, 18
20124 Milan, Italy
+39 02 29522124
www.joia.it

Innocenti Evasioni
Via Privata della Bindellina
20155 Milan, Italy
+39 02 33001882
www.innocentievasioni.com

Iyo
Via Piero della Francesca, 74
20154 Milan, Italy
+39 02 4547 6898
www.iyo.it

Ristorante Berton
Via Mike Bongiomo, 13
20124 Milan, Italy
+39 02 6707 5801
www.ristoranteberton.com

Seta
Via Andegari, 9
20121 Milan, Italy
+39 02 8731 8897
www.mandarinoriental.it

Tano Passami L’Olio
Via Villoresi, 16
20143 Milan, Italy
+39 02 839 4139
www.tanopassamilolio.it

Tokuyoshi
Via San Calocero, 3
20123 Milan, Italy
+39 02 8425 4626
www.ristorantetokuyoshi.com

Unico Milano
Viale Achille Papa, 30
20149 Milan, Italy
+39 02 3921 4847
www.unicorestaurant.it

Vun
Via Silvio Pellico, 3
20121 Milan, Italy
+39 02 8821 1234
www.ristorante-vun.it

Location of Da Vinci's Last Supper, Milan (credit: Randy Yagi)

Location of Da Vinci’s Last Supper, Milan (credit: Randy Yagi)

Recommended Local Cuisine 

Unlike other parts of Italy, the cuisine in the Lombardy region and Milan isn’t typified by dishes featuring tomatoes and olive oil. Instead, the classic Milanese staples are rice, polenta (maize), butter and lard, and meats like beef, chicken and pork. Milan is best known for its risotto alla Milanese, a centuries old rice dish that’s distinguished by its golden yellow color, created by the primary ingredient of saffron. The following is a list of some of the most popular local dishes associated with Milan and/or the Lombardy region.

  • Cassoeula (pork casserole with cabbage)
  • Cotoletta alla Milanese (breaded veal cutlet)
  • Mostarda di Cremona (candied fruit with mustard-flavored syrup)
  • Nocciolini di Canzo (hazelnut cookies)ri
  • Ossobuco alla Milanese (broth with veal shanks and vegetables)
  • Panettone (sweet bread loaf popular during the holidays)
  • Pizzoccheri (pasta made with buckwheat flour and wheat flour)
  • Risotto alla Milanese (traditional Italian rice with saffron and cheese)
  • Torrone (confection made with honey, sugar, egg whites and nuts)
  • Tortelli di Zucca (pumpkin ravioli)

Best Street Food  

The culture of Milan often represents high-end fashion with the likes of Armani, Gucci, Prada and Versace all headquartered here. The city is also obviously noted for its wide collection of bars, cafes and restaurants. But the city also has a thriving street food scene, with many enormously popular eateries in the mix, such as Luini Panzerottii,  Pizzeria Spontini and Giannasi. Milan offers is home to several food trucks and is host to the annual Streeat Food Truck Festival.

  • Focaccia (similar to pizza)
  • Fried Pizza
  • Fried Seafood
  • Fried Chicken
  • Gelato
  • Michetta ( Milanese bread made with mortadella cheese)
  • Panini (sandwich, typically with ham and cheese)
  • Panzerotti (fried turnover)
  • Piandina (flatbread)
  • Pizza
  • Porchetta (pork sandwich)
  • Stigghiola (fried meat on a stick)

Related: 5 Best Italian Wine Tours

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering national/international travel for CBS Local and all things San Francisco for CBS San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. He may be contacted via Twitter or Linkedin .

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