Italy’s design capital is also one of the best cities in Italy for world-class dining with a cosmopolitan flair. As a result, the best restaurants in Milan offer a little bit of something for everyone– whether you’re interested in classic Italian cuisine or a unique, modern spin-off of the genre.
From Old-World staples to hidden gems to casual market halls with the best darn focaccia you may ever eat, Milan is full of welcome food surprises.
We love the cafe scene and the fine dining establishments in this bustling city equally, as the attentive service and come-hither aesthetics of eating in Milan are always memorable and, frankly, quite hip.
Because Milan is located in Northern Italy, the food here exists in the dominion of Northern Italian cuisine– aka there’s not a lot of red marinara sauce, which is more of a Southern Italian thing. Most pastas are dressed simply in olive oil, lemon, white wine, butter, cheese, and the like– and pizza is more of a rare find than a daily staple (again, that’s a Southern Italian specialty).
Instead, expect lots of veal, lake trout, Lombardy cheese, risotto, polenta, and Lake Garda-sourced wine, which are all commonly featured on menus in Milan. Here, the gelato is the perfect amount of melty, and espresso is king. And carbs– of course– are practically a religion.
Ultimately, from fine dining to budget-friendly hole-in-the-wall options, this Milan restaurant guide features wonderful options for everybody and every budget.
Like all of our global restaurant guides, this one focuses on the quintessential destinations that will give you the most unique, special experience of local culture.
Below, we spotlight the best restaurants in Milan, Italy– in no particular order. Bookmark this list for easy reference later.
Ratanà (A Milanese Classic)
Ratanà is easily one of the most “mainstream” recommendations for classic Milan food in the city. You often see it listed in bookstore guides to the Best Restaurants in Milan, like the Michelin Guide series, because of its consistency, heritage, and fashionable dedication to authentic, regional cuisine.
Conde Nast Traveler even certified it as one of the Best Restaurants in the World!
Located in a Greco-Roman building near the waterfront in Port Nuevo, it’s a lovely place to dine in any season. Cozy up for a meal at the intimate bar, or enjoy a glass of wine and appetizers at one of their compact indoor or outdoor tables.
The menu is seasonal and changes often, but we love the sensationally decadent Mondeghili (Milanese-style meatballs) and the crunchy polenta— two classic Milanese dishes. You also can’t go wrong with the Old Style Risotto Milanese, with or without veal. (It’s a local favorite and evergreen menu item.)
In the past, they’ve also done creative seasonal twists on conventional Lombardian dishes, like aubergine flan, wild hen liver pate, Milanese-style tripe, and crunchy Vercelli frogs with saffron mayonnaise. (As you may have quickly gathered, this is not a restaurant for picky eaters!)
Also, be sure to save room for a beautiful dessert. Items like the deconstructed fresh fig dessert with dark chocolate, lemon cream, and fig sorbet, as well as the seasonal baked peach with granita and almond mousse are both fan favorites.
I personally love the creamy chocolate hazelnut mousse, which is light and fluffy as a cloud. It’s perfect after a heavy dinner!
Ultimately– or when it doubt– order extra to share. It’s hard enough to get a table here, so you’ll want to make it count. 🙂
And yes, as you might surmise, reservations are absolutely necessary. Be sure to book in advance if you’re visiting in the summer, which is the peak tourism season in Milan.
To book your table, go here.
Cocktail lovers should be sure to order Ratanà’s Original Negroni, the restaurant’s signature drink.
Otherwise, the cocktail menu is just as seasonal as the food and there are plenty of gems worthy of savoring. Ask the server what’s good for the weather and season at hand. Enjoying the perfect cocktail with some raffia-wrapped breadsticks is the best way to start your meal here.
And another helpful PSA: Ratanà is also just a short walk from Milan’s iconic tree skyscraper, Bosco Verticale. This is a destination landmark in the city.
^ I highly recommend exploring here before or after your meal– just wander around and you’ll see why it’s so cool. If nothing more, it’s a great way to stave off that food coma. Enjoy!
L’Antico Ristorante Boeucc (Historic Fine Dining Restaurant in Milan)
By far one of the fanciest, Old World restaurants in Milan, L’Antico Ristorante Boeucc is the city’s oldest fine dining establishment. Since 1696, the restaurant has been serving authentic Milanese cuisine (aka no red sauce, this is a Northern Italian joint).
The menu is constantly changing, but they’re famous for their risotto alla Milanese (e.g. Saffron Risotto, one of the classic local dishes you should absolutely try when in Milan) as well as Mondeghili homestyle meatballs, and ossobuco (quilted veal).
Above all, don’t miss the Tominto Cheese with onion jam cooked in red wine + balsamic. This is a 324-year-old recipe that’s thought to have inspired modern-day mozzarella sticks, and it’s fabulous.
The first time I ever dined here we ordered this dish alongside our hot bread and olive oil with crispy asparagus and a raw porcini mushroom salad. The combination is utterly perfect.
Generally speaking, you can also expect plenty of octopus, cuttlefish, and a dessert cart that won’t quit. It features magnificent whole poached pears, perfect tiramisu, FANTASTIC lemon cream tart served with local berries and homemade vanilla ice cream, a ready supply of baby white strawberries in the summer, chestnut ice cream, green apple sorbet, and– when in season– the most gorgeous, bountiful tower of unblemished plump raspberries ever, which are sort of the dessert cart’s signature tease.
The food, moreover, is truly masterful here. Dine at Boeucc in the summer for the best menu variety and experience. Reservations are a good idea, but not required.
Ultimately, this 324-year old restaurant in the heart of Milan is one of the few restaurants in the world that I would describe as having both “swag” and “elegance through the roof”. Vaulted ceilings, velvet curtains, and marble statuary abound. The decor is both antique and appeals to modern maximalist sensibilities.
The restaurant is also famous for its austere service— waiters wear cummerbunds and velvet Gucci loafers, and they polish the crystal glassware right in front of you. The coat check alone looks like a scene from I Am Love, and is filled with beautiful, lush greenery year-round.
The subtle aesthetic details, however, are my favorite. There are always fresh flowers, including massive bouquets of peonies for guests to enjoy in the early summer season (May-June). It’s all so lovely.
Overall, if you’re looking for a romantic date night in Milan, this is the best restaurant for it. It’s gorgeous!
God Save The Food (Healthy, Modern Cafe)
We love God Save The Food‘s healthy, fresh take on modern cafe fare. Hip young Italians flock here for delightful salads, sandwiches, soups, hummus plates, veggies bowls, fruit and yogurt bowls, and the like. It’s so popular, in fact, that they now have four locations around Milan. (We like the industrial-chic Brera location the best.)
In particular, I recommend going here for the salads. Food in Milan can sometimes be heavy and leave you feeling sluggish. If you want a hearty bowl of vegetables and proteins adorned with delicious homemade dressings, spiced nuts, and other superfoods, this is the lunch spot for you.
The house Caprese salad, in particular, is absolutely incredible and astoundingly huge. You basically get a whole ball of buffalo mozzarella to yourself!– with fresh heirloom tomatoes and delicious Parma ham.
The mache salad with turmeric-spiced olive oil, pumpkin seeds, prawns, caramelized onion, and fresh avocado is also utterly sensational.
Additionally, the satisfying scrambles and woks (for example, the Pad Thai or Chicken Curry Fried Rice) also offer unique Italian takes on International cuisine.
All dishes have a fresh, no-fillers focus, as the cafe sources everything from local farms. While that’s typically always been the way real Italian chefs cook, God Save The Food has a notable focus on sustainability and the environmental impact of its ingredients. (Thus the cheeky name.)
Naturally, the coffee here is also excellent. Try the Caffè espresso or the Cappuccino di soia for the classic experience. And if you’re going for weekend brunch in Milan, the Eggs Florentine with baked ham is exceptionally good, and the presentation is beautiful!
Ultimately, God Save The Food (or GSTF, as locals call it) is a nice casual, modern Milan restaurant for those seeking a healthy, original meal in the city. If you’re trying to keep it low-carb, this is the cafe for you.
Latteria San Marco (Family-Run Hole-in-The-Wall; No English Spoken!)
Hole-in-the-wall Latteria San Marco is about as charming as it gets. The family-run pasta joint is run by a couple who don’t speak English— as in, absolutely no English. Zero! None. They don’t even have a website!
But don’t worry, the menus are easier to navigate and you’ll get by mostly by pointing and gesturing.
Located on Via San Marco in Porta Nuova, this tiny 8-table restaurant is a former dairy shop. Milanese locals used to go here to buy milk and eggs.
Now, La Latteria serves excellent pasta that locals and the few tourists who learn about this place (usually from a friend of a friend, or someone who speaks Italian) both love. It’s very endearing.
I once had the most incredible pumpkin and meat fusilli at one of their tiny tables. I also had the most amazing anchovy-chicory salad before my meal, which is the best salad I have ever had to this day, and I’ve eaten literally all over the world. (Moreover, I love a good chicory salad, and the dressing on this one was masterful.)
Meals here start with bowls of wrapped Pavesi crackers, a cross between a Saltine and a Ritz. The hand-rolled pasta is indelible. They also do an excellent polpo (octopus) appetizer. (As a result, many of my Parisian friends love this place.)
The Location + Details
Latteria San Marco– also known simply as “La Laterria”– is located at Via San Marco 24, 20121 Milan Italy.
Expect to pay your hand-written bill in cash, as the restaurant is cash-only (my only grievance).
Also, be sure to arrive early because of course they don’t take reservations. And unless you speak Italian you won’t be able to ask “Mamma” or “Papa” any questions. I don’t even think the owners know how to use the internet. It’s so charming!
Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia (Tuscany-Inspired Cuisine)
If you want to experience a fancy chef’s tasting menu presented by some of the most storied chefs in Milan, this is the restaurant for you. Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia (literally “The Place of Aimo and Nadia”, the names of the two chefs and owners) is a Relais & Chateaux-approved trattoria that’s been open since the ’60s.
Here, the couple focuses on Tuscany-inspired regional haute cuisine.
Today, it’s one of the “world’s finest dining tables”, necessarily upscale and with prices to match. (Be advised.) But if you want an unforgettable meal in Milan, this place should be at the top of your list.
Expect plenty of regional staples like Sardinian mussels stuffed with buffalo ricotta, cherry tomatoes, and mint. Everything is arranged artfully on minimalist, contemporary plates.
Plus, they organize the tasting menu by “territories.” As such, it features seasonal delicacies like red mullet from the Ligurian Sea with crunchy sesame and Jerusalem artichoke; or buckwheat tortello stuffed with wood pigeon that’s been lightly smoked with a house spice blend.
As long as you’re not a picky eater, it’s all divine.
The menu changes often in order to showcase the unique flavor pairings that the kitchen test pilots regularly. See, for example, the recent candied buffalo ricotta dessert— and the equally intriguing artichoke soufflé with cream and Amarelli licorice ice cream. (<—- Don’t knock it ’til you try it!)
Ultimately, if you’re up for a culinary adventure, you’re in good hands here. This is one of the top foodie destinations in Milan, with good reason.
Just be sure to ask the house sommelier for the best wine pairings to suit your taste. The ability to customize your drinks makes the tasting menu all the more special.
La Briciola Ristorante (Milan’s Best Seafood Restaurant)
La Briciola— also known as La Briciola Mare– is Milan’s best seafood restaurant. With its soft light and distressed wood interior, it’s got cozy aesthetics to underscore this illustrious distinction, as well.
Go here for the octopus, clam, lobster, crab, and shrimp dishes, which are often presented over thin-brothed spaghetti. (Again, Northern Italians like to dress pasta in olive oil, lemon, garlic, and white wine. The red sauce pasta dishes are mostly reserved for Southern Italy.)
They also serve oysters and crudo as the season allows. In particular, I love the various raw fish tartars, including classic tuna tartare, shrimp, and fresh salmon tartare appetizers. The yellowtail carpaccio with mango sauce is also lovely.
For mains, you can’t go wrong with a traditional seafood spaghetti dish. Choose your own adventure based on what is seasonal. (Previous iterations have included durum wheat pasta with monkfish, walnut pesto, and red datterini tomatoes, for example). Or, opt for something less traditional, like a deeply satisfying prawn and pistachio risotto.
Secondi courses here could consist of anything from grilled swordfish to fried calamari and double-cooked roasted octopus. Play to your own tastes.
For dessert, meanwhile, the crispy pistachio and carrot cake cannolis are also wonderful. It’s rare to see the humble cannoli presented on upscale menus like this one. But these ones– like the ambiance itself– do not disappoint.
Bar Luce (aka Wes Anderson’s Cafe!) at Fondazione Prada
This is a beautiful place to partake in the wonderful Italian tradition of mid-day coffee and cake. The Wes Anderson-designed Bar Luce at Fondazione Prada is one of my single favorite lunch spots in the entire world!
The vibe at this cafe-inside-an-art-gallery is Anderson’s take on an Old Milanese cafe, circa the 1950s and 1960s. Incorporating references to Italian Neorealism– specifically Miracle in Milan (1951) by Vittorio De Sica and Rocco and his brothers (1960) by Luchino Visconti, this eatery feels like an inspired, living work of art.
As a result– and by design– the cafe looks like a movie set!
Get a slice of the classic pink chiffon cake and an adorable cappuccino for the quintessential (and highly Instagrammable) experience. All tarts are served on dainty little plates and the paolo bruschette with salmon and rocket is exemplary. Though the menu changes often, it’s all good, from the fried baby artichokes to the ricotta-lamb gnocchi.
Bar Luce also boasts a The Life Aquatic-themed pinball machine; pink monogrammed sugar packets; and an amazing retro jukebox that yes, you can play with to your heart’s content.
Most importantly, however, the sandwiches here are absolutely excellent. My favorite is the Pirata Milano, made with porchetta, cheese, rocket, lemon, olive oil, peppers and eggplant in oil, sundried tomato plus salt + pepper on the most PERFECT crunchy-but-soft, thin baguette-style roll. Oh my god, it is so, so good. (It’s likely the best sandwich I’ve ever had in Europe.)
If you don’t explore the art gallery either before or after your visit, you’re doing it wrong! Fondazione Prada is a world-renowned art destination, so make an afternoon of it. On your way out, stop at the book store to shop Milan’s most esoteric collection of art books. (There’s some cool stuff in there.)
Bar Luce, moreover, is not so much a bakery or cafe as it is a whole experience. If you’re a Wes Anderson fan, you’ll notice subtle references to his movies throughout the cafe. That’s part of the charm.
And even if you haven’t seen any Wes Anderson movies, the mint green and baby pink terrazzo-covered interior is still super charming! From the retro chromatic range to the Formica surfaces and 1960s-inspired fake “Palladio” wallpaper, it’s all so… cool.
If you want an original keepsake, be sure to save one of their disposable pink insignia napkins as a souvenir. Even these are almost too cute to use!
Antica Trattoria della Pesa (Old School Staple)
Antica Trattoria della Pesa is very very old school and not really modern when it comes to presentation, but it’s one of the best places in Milan to try classic Milanese veal ossobuco.
^ This is one of the classic regional dishes that every meat-eating foodie must try in Milan. It’s a signature local dish! (More on that in our “What To Eat & Drink in Milan” section, below.)
Other than that, I love the cured Parma ham and crunchy Risotto Al Salto as appetizers.
The mains, meanwhile, are engineered to appeal to gourmands. Classics include foiolo alla milanese (Milanese tripe); costoletta (crispy chicken cutlet in a lemon-cream sauce); Savoy cabbage rolls stuffed with spicy Italian sausage, ground beef, rice, cheese, and onion; and sautéed kidney (<– only for the most adventurous in your crew!).
The restaurant also boasts an impressive wine list that will dazzle oenophiles of all persuasions.
Aesthetically, as one of the oldest restaurants in Milan (est. 1880), the trattoria also offers a literal taste of antiquity. The chefs still cook on original tiled stoves, and they serve meals on antique plates. Food antropologists appreciate these subtle details.
Antica Trattoria della Pesa is also known for its iconic heritage desserts. See, for example, the hot zabaglione. This soft dessert foam served in a coffee chalice is made from a harmonious mix of egg yolks, sugar, marsala, and a drop of white wine. It used to be considered a humble farmers dessert, but now it’s the pinnacle of fine dining in Milan.
^ Like a souffle, this dessert is the result of rigorous culinary training. It requires years of practice to master. (The secret lies in a very specific whisking technique and the key step of using a special copper saucepan to warm the emulsion.) Give it a try!
Ristorante Delicatessen (South Tyrol Fusion Food)
This cozy fusion restaurant is a welcome diversion on any classic Milan restaurant lineup. Ristorante Delicatessen celebrates the food of South Tyrol, in the Dolomites. (A beautiful, mountainous, autonomous province in Northern Italy that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.)
As a result, the ambiance here is a perfect balance of old-world Europe and modern sensibilities, so it’s great for a fun date night or an intimate dinner with friends.
We love the purple wine risotto (it’s a gorgeous plum color!) and the myriad Austrian influences (as evidenced by the soft pretzels, strudel, spaetzle, and alpine cheeses decorating the menu).
For the quintessential experience, be sure to order one of their cheese plates featuring cold cuts from the Alps, and save room for warm apple strudel as dessert.
As for the courses in between, there are a number of excellent, seasonal meat and fish dishes to choose from. Just ask the server for their recommendations at the time. (There’s a lot of variety to choose from.)
Because South Tyrol is located in the part of Northern Italy that borders Austria, they serve a mean Austrian-style Kaiserschmarrn, aka fluffy shredded pancakes, as well.
^ This is a nice twist off of the classic, strictly-Italian fare (which, yes, believe it or not, can actually get quite repetitive if you spend enough time eating at traditional restaurants in Milan). If you’re in the market for a sweet brunch item, it’s the best!
When in season (usually around March) also be sure to look out for their white asparagus risotto. This is a unique hybrid of delicacies from each country. The Austrians love and almost revere seasonal white asparagus, while risotto is– of course– a classic Italian dish.
Il Mercato de Duomo (Hidden Gem for Grab-n-Go)
Il Mercato de Duomo is a bustling market and fast-casual cafe on the second floor of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, overlooking Piazza Duomo.
In the very back of this food-court-style market, they serve absolutely life-changing focaccia, including an absolutely sensational Sardenaira Focaccia. <— This is the specific item I recommend eating here (assuming you like anchovies).
If you like red sauce and are craving it in Milan, ordering this fast lunch item is an absolute must. It’s super flavorful, with a perfect fluffy middle– again, this is some of the best focaccia in Milan!– and an extra crispy bottom. I’m basically obsessed with it. Whenever I’m near the Duomo, it’s my go-to indulgence.
They also have sweet focaccia, sprinkled with toppings like cinnamon-sugar, as well as hearty colazione breakfast sandwiches made on fresh focaccia. (The bakery knows what they do well.)
Beyond the focaccia, Il Mercato de Duomo is a great place to shop for food souvenirs. (Pretty much everything can be taken home on a plane.)
Shop here for TSA-approved gift bags of classic Amaretti (apricot pit) cookies and European-style kettle potato chips (a rare find).
They also sell bags of colorful pasta, local chocolates, Italian kitchenware, and the like.
Bosco Verticale Restaurant (Intimate Local Favorite)
I was at first concerned by Bosco Verticale Restaurant‘s lack of real Internet presence, but don’t let their underwhelming Facebook page mislead you: locals love this place.
The prices are great, especially for Milan. But more importantly, the food is surprisingly excellent, striking a welcome balance between hearty, creative, and well-executed. It’s also a great place for picky eaters as there are both exotic and more tame offerings for every course.
I love the roasted goose ceviche (a unique offering, to say the least!) and the amazing biscuit-y bread for dipping in olive oil and pink salt.
The housemade spinach pasta and fresh figs with pork are also to die for. Like all multi-course restaurants in Milan, the proteins will be served after the pasta, so be sure to save room. (Especially if you, like me, often fill up on delicious bread. The bread here is very good, so keep that in mind!)
FYI: This restaurant is named after the iconic Bosco Verticale tree skyscraper, which is nearby. It’s a notable landmark in Porto Nuevo. Be sure to check it out before or after your meal!
Cova (Chic Bakery + Lunch Spot)
But don’t let this fancy distinction or primo location in Milan’s fashion district scare you! This upscale family-run tea room and lunch cafe is welcoming to all.
The cafe has been open since 1817, and the food is thoughtful, minimalist, and enduringly beautiful. Each dish on their lunch menu features bright, seasonal colors and charming plating. Every item, moreover, looks like it could be photographed for a food editorial.
See, for example, the colorful salmon ceviche with passionfruit, mint, and vegetable crudites, or the creamy broccoli soup with burrata cheese flakes and crunchy hazelnuts.
I also love the light lunch pastas, like the black tagliolini pasta with scampi, zucchini, and tomatoes; or the soft tendrils of strozzapreti pasta with prawns, artichokes, and marjoram.
Today, this go-to lunch spot still serves Milan’s best homemade pastries, chocolates, and sandwiches to an adoring public. The cappuccino and espresso are both excellent, and the elegant tea room aesthetics never fail to charm. The service, of course, is prompt and dapper.
We love dining here for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, or an aperitivo. Cozy up in one of the blue velvet booths and savor the ambiance.
For a unique post-lunch dessert, try the risotto alla champagne rose e fragole (sweet risotto with champagne rosé and strawberries).
Like most desserts at this darling cafe, it’ll come garnished with a beautiful, edible flower. The perfect touch!
Camparino (Historic Art Deco Cafe)
This bustling café inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II has a long history and wonderful, scenic views of the Duomo cathedral.
In 1868, Giuseppe Verdi and Arturo Toscanini would stop here after shows at La Scala Theater. Italian painters Dudovich and Carrà hung out here until the wee hours of the morning most nights. King Umberto the First once even declared that Camparino (formerly Zucca Caffè) served the best coffee in Milan– a contentious but noble distinction, to say the least.
Today, Camparino is Milan’s go-to everyman cafe, frequented by tourists and locals alike. It is a local institution, and it’s great for a cocktail brunch.
Fans love the eclairs, spaghetti cacio e pepe, cocktails, and cappuccino— almost as much as I love the liberty-style mosaics behind the counter.
Design lovers should also take note of the antique cabinets made by famous Italian cabinetmaker Eugenio Quarti, as well as the beaten iron chandeliers by Mazzucotelli.
For the quintessential experience, order a coffee and a pastry. If you drink, try the signature cherry red Campari Seltz.
For a unique bakery experience, try “La Lina”, a red striped croissant blended with Campari and made only with mother yeast. (They’re all about Campari at this cafe.)
The bakery also recently started offering unique sweet and savory roasted bread bowls, also known as Milanese Pan’cot, which was born from a secret recipe collaboration with Italian master chef Davide Oldani.
The bread is filled with various toppings that purposefully pair well with Campari-based cocktails, like savory beef and cheese, or little gems salad with sundried tomatoes and mozzarella. Try them out from lunch to dinner.
Ultimately, most newcomers stumble into this art deco cafe in search of good coffee near the cathedral, not knowing they’ve accidentally sought out one of the most storied local eateries. Do yourself a favor and go here on purpose. 🙂
Il Foyer at Teatro alla Scala (“Italian Sushi” + Beyond)
Chef Gualtiero Marchesi’s bar-restaurant inside of La Scala Opera House, Il Foyer, is easily the best casual refined dining restaurant in Milan.
Known for its creative cuisine, the restaurant specializes in innovative and healthy takes on classic Milanese dishes. And it’s also one of the only places in the city serving what is euphemistically known as “Italian sushi”!
Go here for upscale takes on raw heritage seafood tartars as well as gorgeous, gold-leaf-covered risotto alla Milanese, one of the signature dishes of the city. (<— This is what I recommend ordering above all else. See above picture!)
The sushi bar is an open concept, so it’s also a great place to watch what’s going on in the kitchen.
Ultimately, this is the best place to dine near La Scala, as it is the go-to restaurant to dine at before or after seeing a show there.
With its convenient location right inside the foyer– thus the name– it’s also a nice place to enjoy a sandwich, pastry, or ice cream. The casual food options are reliably good even if you don’t feel like sitting down for a proper hot meal.
~ Honorable Mention ~
Some other foodie gems in Milan that are worth exploring.
- Pasticceria Marchesi – This old-fashioned bakery and chocolate shop near The Last Supper mural has been open since 1824. Giorgio Armani loves the pastries here!
- Bar Jamaica – Historic Milanese cafe in the artsy Brera district where writers and intellectuals have gathered for decades. Today, the cafe serves everything from coffee to cocktails, and it’s busy at all hours.
- Terra Gelato – I love their salted pistachio gelato and the fact that they are sustainability-minded!
- Sant’Ambroeus is one of Italy’s most famous chocolate shops. They specialize in ambrogiotti truffles, aka dark chocolate filled with zabaglione cream (a heavy cream whipped with egg yolks, sugar, berries, and Marsala wine).
- Cioccolati Italiani is a fun gelato shop near Il Duomo that produces impressive, towering cones. If you’re craving gelato near Piazza del Duomo (“Cathedral Square”), this is the best place to go!
- IT Milano in the Brera district is a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves what is easily the best and most beautiful tiramisu in Milan. Dining here is great too– just be sure to save room for dessert!
What To Eat & Drink in Milan
Classic local dishes to try when dining in Milan.
- Risotto alla Milanese – This creamy local staple made with saffron is easily Milan’s most famous dish.
- Ossobuco – Lightly fried veal chops bone marrow slow cooked in wine and tomatoes, served with a lemon-parsley gremolata on top. Digging out the marrow is considered an integral part of enjoying the dish)
- Pannatone bread — (<– You may have already tried this traditional yeasted Christmas bread, which is filled with dried fruit and candied peel. Locals eat it year-round, typically with butter at breakfast time. And jaded eaters don’t be wary: most pannatone bread served elsewhere in the world is dry and one-dimensional, but in Milan, it is often quite doughy and deliciously yeasty.)
- Cotoletta alla Milanese – A breaded veal cutlet similar to German Wiener schnitzel.
- Aperol Spritz – If you’re visiting Italy in the summer, this popular drink made from Aperol, Prosecco, and soda water is practically de rigueur. It’s one of Italy’s signature cocktails!
- Also: You can only get a Campari Shakerato in Milan– a Campari shaken with ice. They won’t do it elsewhere in Italy.
- Strangolapreti – Spinach and ricotta balls served with butter and grated Parmesan. The dish’s name literally translates to “priest-stranglers” because they are so rich, aka they would “overwhelm” a humble man’s palate.
- Gorgonzola, Parmesean, and Parmiagian Reggiano cheese
- Trout, perch, pike, and other lake fish from the surrounding Lombardy region
- Ugo – A Classic Northern Italian cocktail made with prosecco, elderflower syrup, and mint
- Fresh polenta (with so much butter and cheese!)
- Cassoeula – A sausage and pork stew in a thick cabbage broth with polenta on the side. It’s great for the cold-weather months, which is when you’ll see it on menus around town.
- Local gelato – Try the stracciatella flavor, which is light vanilla ice cream packed with slivers or chunks of chocolate. Read our guide to the 5 Best Gelato Spots in Milan.
- Sbrisolona – A crumbly, crunchy, cookie-like Italian almond cake that is typically broken into pieces and enjoyed with coffee.
- Bardolino wine – A notable red wine from the Lake Garda Veneto shore. Many local wines are produced in this region, including Gropello, white Lugana, and classic Franciacorta, Italy’s answer to champagne.
- Sparkling, sweet Lambrusa wine – A thick, dark, fizzy red from Mantua, which is cheap, delicious, and great with pizza. Locals drink it as a sort of cheap, casual wine, and you don’t really see it in other parts of the world.
- San Colombano red wine – A red wine grown on the outskirts of Milan that is DOC-certified. DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or “designation of controlled origin.” Basically, DOC certification is an Italian government standard similar to the certification system used to certify feta cheese in Greece or champagne in France as being unique local products made in a specific region of the world. It confirms their quality and authenticity as a uniquely local product.
- Grappa – An Italian “firewater” liqueur that’s popular as a digestif. At 35% alcohol by volume, it’s not for the faint of heart!
- Crostata con crema di pistachio – Aka “pistachio cream tart”, an absolutely delicious galette-like dessert. (<— You can thank me later for this one.)
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