One of the first topic everybody visiting a city for the first time is regarding food; this is so common specially in a city like Milan whose dining panorama is vibrant and extremely wide as possible choices . So where is the best place to eat is quite a frequent question Gold Black Style is facing with its guests.
Now the increasing of all the virtual possible problem solvers like Tripadvisor and similar, make this question more tricky and the answer could be difficult and used against the one who gives it (“oh you suggested me a restaurant rated 3 instead of suggesting me a 5”, and it doesn’t matter if for the local advisor is eating in that place for years assuring the quality of the food.. it is not “rated”..).
Milan, as I said, is without any doubt the most vibrant city where the food panorama is always getting wider but why Milano is like this is because of its story and the story of people living in. Milano is a very open minded city, final destination of people seeking for a job or a long term business opportunity. So after the end of the WWII, Milan was embracing immigrants from all over Italy together with their food and their specialties. Then came people from outside Italy, mainly looking for better opportunities Milano was offering for hard-workers.
On the other side people from Milan are travelling usually a lot outside Italy, and sometimes some of the food experiences tried during these journeys were lately developed in the city finding a responsive audience.
First of all the quality of the restaurants in Milan is quite good for the Italian standards and in the city, for the gourmet lovers, there are 20 Michelin star rated restaurants: 4 2 stars and 16 1 star. Each one has solid points for paying a visit to them but the hidden realities can give maybe more hedonistic gratifications.
Every single area of Milan has a good number of historic and traditional italian restaurants, offering both modern and classic Italian food, while finding the traditional Milanese cuisine can be tougher to find but, if interested in local food, Gold Black Style can help you and suggest you the right place accordingly to your needs.
Instead of initially talking of the classic areas crowded of tourists, where you can definitively find great restaurants, I’d like to start with an area where local people is used to hang out, il Quartiere Isola. The history of this area is absolutely interesting leaving behind the bad reputation and becoming one of the most vibrant area in the city. Here the number of restaurants is important and most of them are small offering local modern cuisine in old fashioned locations. One of these is the “Osteria al Nove” where in a small restaurant you can have tasty traditional and innovative dishes for a reasonable price; aside the quality of the food, the hidden gem is the inner garden in the courtyard of an old typical old building of Milan. A dinner here is a truly Milanese experience. For those who are interest in trying one of the best pizza in Milano my suggestion in the area is the Pizzeria Coccinella (Ladybug in English): the location is quite poor, not fancy at all, but what you cannot find in the furniture you will find in this amazing and cheap pizza. The waiting line can be pretty long but it definitively worth.
The Duomo area has different sides and a food & shopping tour here is quite a must do. The food panorama is wide and there are amazing places to cover the whole day, from breakfast to dinner; the quality of the food is good, with some really interesting locations. For a classic Italian breakfast the offer is huge but there are two locations that need a visit, the historic Sant’Ambrœs and Marchesi are on the top of the list.
A breakfast at the Sant’Ambrœs is a jump into the historic Milan. Dark boiserie on the walls, black marble counter, refined Murano chandelier as it was in 1936, mosaic floors, forest green-framed windows tell the story and love of each creation. Lombardy aristocracy and bourgeoisie, actors and international entertainers have passed and lost themselves among smells and flavors.
Marchesi first opened in 1824 in a an elegant 18th century building in the heart of Milan. More precisely in Via Santa Maria alla Porta. Since those early days Pasticceria Marchesi has maintained an authentic atmosphere, preserving its original early-20th-century furnishings, coffered ceilings, ancient mirrors and art deco lighting. And now the same magic can also be experienced in new surroundings. Pasticceria Marchesi has recently opened two new shops in Milan, located in the exclusive settings of Via Monte Napoleone 9 and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, just upstairs the Prada men’s shop, giving the visitor a wonderful view of the Galleria. Respecting the spirit of the original landmark site, these new venues reinterpret its atmosphere and ageless allure and a coffee or an aperitivo is a must.
In the city center one of the most iconic restaurant is the Bœucc. This restaurant has always been faithful to the traditions of a typical milanese Restaurant, creating a unique experience in the historical center of Milan. The classic Risotto alla Milanese and Veal Cutlet are always on the menu, together with some milestones of the Italian cuisine. The product are sourced locally and the dining is an experience that goes beyond the simple food. Located in the elegant Palazzo Belgioioso, closer to the Alessandro Manzoni’s house and to the Teatro alla Scala, the restaurant has linen tablecloths, silver cutlery, crystal glasses: the essence of the late XIX century, with an excellent service.
For those interested in trying the typical local food from Milan, there are other amazing spots in the city and in the outskirts but an introduction on it is mandatory. For the Risotto alla Milanese (Saffron Risotto) lovers I recommend these restaurants, the Antica Trattoria della Pesa in Milan city center and the Osteria Magenes in the outskirts.
The Antica Trattoria della Pesa is one of the oldest restaurants in Milan located just where in the nineteenth century (up to 80 years) the goods that arrived from out of town were weighed for payment of duty, then joined the then Port Comasina, current Porta Garibaldi. A place rich in history, has always been popular with local and foreign personalities. Here you can jump between all the Milanese classic dishes, the Risotto alla Milanese, the Osso buco with risotto Milanese and the Milanese cutlet are all outstanding.
Osteria Magenes is a beautiful story that goes on through generations, where innovation and tradition walk together. The restaurant is in the outskirts (Barate di Gaggiano) in an old court gentle nestled in the countryside between the Naviglio and the rice fields. The Risotto alla Milanese of the young Chef Dario Guidi was rewarded simply as the best one, and this I think is a solid reason to visit it. There are no easy public transportation to reach the restaurant but in case Gold Black Style will be glad to help with the commuting with a private car.
But food does not only mean restaurants and locations but also fascinating stories about the legends revolving around the birth of “Risotto alla Milanese" or “Panettone", the famous dessert symbol of Milan all over the world. Gold Black Style is at your disposal to arrange customized food tours dedicated to discovering the best food in Milan, area by area, from ice-cream parlors to delicatessen establishments, exploring food markets and street food stalls.
Contact us by mail or by phone and our staff will be available to create a tailor-made itinerary that will allow you to taste the city from another point of view.