Where you need to eat in Milan!
Updated: Oct 9, 2022
France has iconic bistros, Spain's tapas bars are part of the culture, and United States with the classic 24-hour diners - while in Italy, osterias are central to the community. Osterias are full of locals solving the world's problems late into the night over flowing wine and sizzling terracotta dishes of gnocchi.
Osterias passionately celebrate the world-class local produce from the Lombardy and Piedmont regions. The wine is exceptional and well-priced too - a bottle may cost €8-12, with dinner for two approx €40.
As major western-European cities go, Milan is pretty affordable. Stay away from the tourist traps surrounding the Duomo, especially in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and you will find local gems where wine flows for €2 and delectable food is served.
Below is a, hopefully helpful, list of places to keep in mind on your Milanese travels:
Salsamenteria di Parma
As tourists flock the Duomo, locals head to Via Ponte Vetero for their favourite osteries and bars to see themselves into the night, Milanese style. Located on Via Ponte Vetero is Salsamenteria di Parma, a Piedmontese-inspired osterie serving sensational platters in a rustic setting. Think traditional small plates of gnocchi, pastas and delectable cheese & charcuterie boards, served with bottles of red and white wine. Affordable too.
Mint Garden Café
Located on Via Lecco in the Lazzaretto district is the utterly picturesque and romantic Mint Garden. The front terrace spills onto the streets, and its plates of pasta and risotto and are perfection. Special mention to the service, which was sensational.
A total sensory overload, Eataly in Porta Garibaldi is a must. It's a feast for the eyes - spanning four floors, the market features Italian vendors selling exceptional produce from Lombardy and Piedmont, and several sit-in restaurants if you're stomach begins to rumble. If the weather is nice, pick out a fresh picnic and head to nearby Piazza Gae Aulenti, filled with shiny skyscrapers (the tallest in Italy) and water features.
Eataly is a must visit on your Milanese journey and the perfect place to pick up culinary themed souvenirs.
Down the pretty cobbled Via Santa Marta in the ancient neighbourhood of Cinque Vie is the traditional Trattoria Milanese. Here, you'll sit down with huge goblets of local wine served alongside generous portions of risotto and old-school Italian delicacies.
For a real treat, Seta is a luxurious gastronomic experience in a fitting setting - inside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the trendy Brera district. Translating to 'Silk' in Italian, Seta combines traditional Milanese cooking with daring methods to create an true experience. Seta's costs match it's high-calibur, fine dining reputation with meals costing €120-150 per person. However, if you're after a Michelin starred Milanese meal, book a table at Seta well in advance of your arrival.
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Looking at visiting nearby Turin? Read our Travel Guide to Turin here!