Breakfast in Milan used to be mostly comprised of off-the-counter espressos and a cornetto (croissant). As the city became more and more international, cafés gradually started serving continental breakfasts and American-style brunches featuring ham, eggs, sausages and baked goods. Join us as we take a trip through the best breakfast and brunch spots in Italy’s cosmopolitan city.
Billing itself as an urban bike café with a northern European spin, Upcycle is dedicated to all things cycling. The café is also passionate about sustainability – look no further than the space itself, which used to be an abandoned garage set in an inner courtyard. Try the bacon quiche or the beetroot burger, and the fresh juice blend of carrots, ginger, apples and oranges. The decor is ultra-modern, mostly made out of recycled materials. The venue’s large wooden tables and hushed setting is also perfect for working – you can sit for hours and get inspired by the creative, laid-back atmosphere.
Venture to Via Paolo Sarpi, in the heart of Milan’s Chinatown, and join the hipster crowd of Otto for the self-proclaimed “most Instagrammed brunch of Milan”. oTTo is an airy all-day café and co-working space with a minimalist northern European-style decor, offering international food presented in a cool, social media-friendly way. Brunch is served only during the weekends, between 12.30pm and 3pm.
The brand Moleskine became popular thanks to its signature black hardcover notebooks, used by the likes of Bruce Chatwin and Ernest Hemingway throughout the ages. Today Moleskine sells a wide range of customised stationery and it has also opened some cafés around the globe, best defined as modern interpretation of the café littéraire (literary café). Milan’s first Moleskine Café opened in Corso Garibaldi, serving specialty coffee in addition to offering a range of the latest Moleskine products. The neutral tones and minimalist decors match the food options, which are mostly simple and traditional dishes served in Moleskine-branded china plates.
Deus Café was launched less than a decade ago by the Australian motorbike brand Deus Ex Machina, specialising in bike and surf equipment. The café occupies a prime location of Milan’s Isola district inside a romantic courtyard surrounded by Liberty-style buildings and vintage shops. In the evening, the café turns into a proper club with door selection, bouncers and DJ sets, but during the day it’s rather family-friendly. Brunch is served during the weekends and it ranges from eggs and bacon to matcha bowls and smoothies.
NoLoSo is first and foremost a gay bar set in Milan’s most up-and-coming neighbourhood, NoLo. On Sundays though, the owner of the bar, Gianni Macario, takes care of his customers’ hangovers by serving one of the best and most satisfying brunches in town: meatballs, lasagne, thick stews, vegetarian dishes and delicious cakes. Do book in advance since the place is rather small and the brunch is extremely popular.
A new entry in Milan’s dining scene, Fuorimano OTBP is located in a spacious loft and set with vintage furniture and wooden tables. Fuorimano means ‘out of reach’, and OTBP stands for off the beaten path, and indeed the place is well out of the central area in a rather secluded and definitely non-touristy part of the city. The place offers fresh food in a friendly and informal atmosphere, and it’s perfect for an authentic ‘live like a local’ experience. Brunch is served between 11.30am and 3pm, with a choice between traditional continental breakfast, American-style bacon and beans, pancakes, a vegetarian menu, a kids menu and gluten-free options.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Jonathan Stern.