Trying all the best Milan restaurants and bars is my favorite part of exploring the city! Here are a few of my favorites.
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One of the best parts of Milan is its food! There are so many fantastic restaurants to try.
Genuinely, if you wanted to you could see most of the city in a day, as I’ve shared in my guide to Milan**. But doing that means you only get one or two great meals in a city packed with options!
One thing I recommend if you’re visiting Milan in the fall or spring is to stay in Milan for a few days, and then use the city as a base for day trips to places like Lake Como or Brescia. This lets you get the best of the Milan in 1-2 days, plus see beautiful places in the off-season, with the bonus of eating at more of the incredible restaurants in Milan!
Typical Dishes at Milan Restaurants
A few dishes to look for on menus in Milan:
Risotto alla Milanese is possibly the best-known Milanese dish to an international crowd. Perfect, creamy risotto infused with saffron for color and scent. You can’t go wrong here.
Ossobucco is the slow-cooked cut of bone in veal that melts in your mouth. It’s iconic for a reason, so order this for your main course at least once! It’s commonly served with risotto alla milanese alongside, giving you both dishes on one plate.
Costoletta alla Milanese (also called cotoletta sometimes) is a breaded veal cutlet. It’s in the same vein as a schnitzel, but a bit lighter. Typically, it’s served with a wedge of lemon and a salad.
Gorgonzola cheese is always a love-it-or-hate-it ingredient, but if you love it, eat it in Milan! It originates from this area and you’ll find it everywhere. Look for gorgonzola pasta, a rich pasta sauce made of gorgonzola, cream, and not much else. It’s such a treat!
A less-known risotto in Milan is risotto al salto, where saffron risotto is allowed to form a crust in the pan. It’s unusual and delicious!
Pannetone, that iconic Italian Christmas bread, originates from Milan. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a yeasted bread with dried fruit inside given and eaten by every Italian all through December. During the holidays, you’ll find it throughout Italy, but trying it in its birthplace is extra special.
Solferino is one of my favorite Milan restaurants! Come here for all the classics. The space feels like the stereotypical old-school Italian restaurant in all the best ways. It’s on the pricier end, but everything we tried was delicious!
Trattoria Maddonina is nonna’s food but with a Michelin star. The menu is handwritten and changes all the time, so best to order whatever the staff recommends! Making a reservation for dinner is a must, but you may be able to sneak in for lunch.
Osteria del Treno
Osteria del Treno is a Milan institution! Locals have been flocking here forever. The food is fantastic, so you really can’t go wrong, but be sure to order something Lombardian. Definitely make a reservation though, they fill up every night.
Osteria Acquabella is a tucked-away restaurant on a quiet corner of Porta Romana. It’s off the beaten path enough that I slipped in for a weekday lunch and got seated immediately! The prices were also really reasonable.
Cafes & Breakfast
Y’all, when I tell you I’ve had a coffee at one of these locations every day but one I’ve been to Milan, I’m not exaggerating. Caffe Napoli have good espresso, and the option to put this sweet cream in their cappuccino that is divine! They’ve opened over a dozen locations throughout the city, so you’re never far from one either.
If you’re looking for a coffeeshop feel, head to Pavé. They have amazing bakery options and sandwiches. They also allow laptops, so if you need a place to get some work done or take a break, go here!
Pizza & Cheap Eats
Napoli-style pizza is truly one of the best things Italy has given the world, and we look for it everywhere we go! Piz has great Neapoletan pizza with good prices, near the center of town. Sit outside if you can.
It’s a Rome institution that opened three locations in Milan! Trapizzino is a Roman street food that works a bit like a folded pizza but packed with goodies way beyond typical pizza toppings.
Not Italian food: Temakinho is Japanese meets Brazilian & Latin flavors! This chain is all over Milan and is a good option for mid-priced meals. You can order tapas style and share. Don’t skip the cocktails – they’re delicious!
N’ombra de Vin
N’Ombra de Vin is a cool little wine bar in the Brera district. They have small bites and some dinner options as well, but the star is the wine. Go here for an aperitivo or midafternoon break to try some of the great local options!
White Rabbit Speakeasy
If you’re in for a speakeasy, check out White Rabbit. It’s a classic Hollywood theme, with old-school posters and drinks named after classic films. Like all great speakeasies, you need a password. Don’t forget that the whole setup is in Italian, so be sure to check it in advance and know the password in Italian, not just English!
Rinascente Rooftop Bar
Want to enjoy a spritz on a rooftop bar facing the Duomo? There are several spots along the piazza that offer this, but the mall Rinascente has the best location! You’ll be right next to the epic spires of the cathedral. While the drinks are overpriced, you’re paying for the iconic view, so it’s worth it!
These are just a few of my favorite spots. My Tasting Milan guide on Thatch has over 40 recommendations for restaurants, cafes, bars, and gelato! It also gives restaurant hours, and websites, and makes navigation easy, so grab it here if it sounds helpful!