Insider Guide to Milan’s 10 Must-Try Cultural Restaurants

Restaurant situated along the edge of the Grand Canal in the Naviglio area of Milan.
Restaurant situated along the edge of the Grand Canal in the Naviglio area of Milan. | © Bailey-Cooper Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Oreste Giorgio Spinelli

Considered to be Italy’s fashion capital, Milan is a city full of surprises, stunning art and historical attractions. The latest culinary trends meet centuries-old traditions of Italian cuisine, making Milan one of the richest cities in the world when it comes to culinary experiences. Here is a selection of ten of the best cultural restaurants to try out while visiting Milan.

1. Ristorante Berton

Restaurant, Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean

Ristorante Berton is one of the newest and most interesting restaurants of Milan’s culinary scene. In order to offer the best possible experience the restaurant can host a maximum of 40 people at a time thus guaranteeing high-end service and extreme attention to detail. Each table offers a different view of the restaurant, the best being the chef’s table found in a small alcove inside the kitchen itself. In addition to its wide range of a la carte dishes, the restaurant offers two interesting tasting menus, which are a perfect way to sample some of the dishes that best showcase chef Andre Berton’s talent. Examples of his expertise include his many ways of cooking rice, his favourite ingredient, or his unusual combinations of flavour, of which perhaps the most famous is the licorice cream with fish broth, extra virgin oil and scallops.

2. Ristorante Cracco

Restaurant, Italian

Milan, November 2018: Luxury restaurant opened by the famous Italian chef Carlo Cracco in shopping mall Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, on November 2018
© Kokophotos / Alamy Stock Photo

Carlo Cracco may be a published author with six books released in the past 12 years, one of the three judges on the wildly popular TV show MasterChef Italia but he is, first and foremost, an excellent chef. After his training in Italy, Cracco spent three years in Paris, mastering the secrets of French cuisine from world-famous chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Lucas Carlton. He then returned to Italy to become the quintessential Italian celebrity chef. Ristorante Cracco opened its doors to Milanese foodies in 2007 and, since then, it has become one of the most renowned restaurants in the country. Sophisticated and elegant, this two-Michelin-starred restaurant showcases Chef Cracco’s creativity and inventiveness complemented by chef Matteo Baronetto’s perfect execution and direction. Ristorante Cracco should be the first stop on a tour of Milan’s best restaurants.

3. Temakhino

Bar, Restaurant, Italian

Milan is the fashion capital of Italy, a city where trends are not followed but made. Being the it-restaurant in Milan is no mean feat, but Temakinho definitely holds this title. As the name suggests, Temakinho is a temaki bar with Brazilian influences, a place where one can eat delicious sushi while enjoying homemade caipirinhas and listening to Bossa Nova music. Temakhino can be found in two of the most fashionable neighbourhoods of Milan, the beautiful Navigli with its vibrant nightlife that revolves around the canals, and in Brera, an elegant quarter known for its famous art academy, designer stores and chic bars.

5. Ristorante Vun

Hotel Restaurant, Restaurant, Italian

Ristorante Vun can be found in the heart of Milan, right in front of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and a short walking distance from the Duomo and via Montenapoleone. The restaurant is directed with brilliance and charisma by Neapolitan chef Andrea Aprea. Thanks to his innate creativity and years of experience in some of Italy’s best restaurants, chef Aprea has invented incredible dishes as well as inspired, themed tasting menus that criss-cross Italian cuisine; some of the most interesting include the ‘Winter in Six Courses’ and the ‘Neapolitan Itineraries in Seven Courses’. In Milanese dialect Vun, means ‘one’; it is no wonder that this restaurant has rapidly become one of the top fine dining experiences to be had in Milan.

6. Erba Brusca

Restaurant, Italian

Erba Brusca is a bucolic restaurant with its own orchard (to be found on the outskirts of the city) once filled with fields of sorrel, the herb that in local dialect would be referred to as ‘erba brusca’. The attention to detail and use of wood and natural materials for the décor reflect the natural philosophy of the restaurant. The menu showcases a classic choice of dishes, most of which feature herbs that are grown in the orchard; parsley, basil, oregano, mint, sage and chamomile are only some of the wonderfully fresh herbs that complement the dishes here. Erba Brusca is a delightful restaurant for those how wish to experience the beauty of the countryside while visiting Milan.

7. Joia

Restaurant, Contemporary, Vegan, Vegetarian, Italian, European, Healthy

Joia is a one of a kind restaurant, a place where vegetarian cuisine reaches unexplored heights. The owner of the restaurant firmly believes in vegetarianism as a way to enhance body, mind and soul and pours these concepts into every single dish. The incredible attention to detail is evident in each item on the menu, starting from the names of dishes, which are descriptions of the sensory experiences one is about to taste. The ‘extraordinary lunch’ menu offers a selection of the best dishes at affordable prices, while for those who wish to experience the entire spectrum of Joia’s vegetarian delights, a dinner reservation is recommended.
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