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

Considered to be Italy’s fashion capital, Milan is a city full of surprises, stunning art and historical places to discover / Pexels
Considered to be Italy’s fashion capital, Milan is a city full of surprises, stunning art and historical places to discover / Pexels

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.

© Giorgio Galeotti / Flickr

Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala

Restaurant, Italian, Mediterranean, European, $$$
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Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala, Milano
Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala, Milano | Image Courtesy of Ristorante Berton
As a fashion brand, Trussardi is synonymous with quality, elegance and understated sophistication. The restaurant Trussardi alla Scala translates all these qualities into the world of fine dining. This cosmopolitan restaurant can be found in the famous Piazza la Scala, which is also home to one of the most renowned and famous theatres of the world, the Teatro alla Scala. The restaurant offers a rich menu of ever-changing creations from the talented chef Luigi Taglienti, who uses seasonal produce and local ingredients to create a symphony of flavors that will surprise and entice his guests. With its elegant decor and outstanding food Ristorante Trussardi all Scala is the ideal choice for an inspiring lunch or a magnificent, romantic dinner in the centre of Milan.

Ristorante Berton

Restaurant, Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, $$$
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Ristorante Cracco
Ristorante Cracco | Courtesy Ristorante Cracco
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.

Ristorante Cracco

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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Cracco’s, Milano
Cracco’s, Milano | Image courtesy of Ristorante Cracco

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.

Meal service:

Lunch, Dinner

Atmosphere:

Fine Dining, Michelin-Starred, Gourmet, Stylish, Romantic

Temakhino

Bar, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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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.

Nerino Dieci

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Nerino Dieci

This small and cosy restaurant was born from the vision of talented Calabrian chef Sandro Caputo. The restaurant offers a wide range of traditional dishes from Italy’s regional cuisine, as well as good mix of fusion and inventive creations. The décor is delightful, and the kitchen has a large window that opens onto the main dining room. The competent and friendly staff can offer expert advice on the menu and the wine parings but it’s the unique magnetism of the owner and head chef that makes the guests truly feel at home. Once you’ve sampled the delights of Nerino Dieci you will definitely want to return for more.

Nerino Dieci, Via Nerino 10, Milan, Italy, +39 2 3983 1019

Ristorante Vun

Hotel Restaurant, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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VUN Andrea Aprea, Milano
VUN Andrea Aprea, Milano | Image courtesy of Ristorante Vun
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.

Meal service:

Dinner

Atmosphere:

Michelin-Starred, Business, Quiet, Stylish, Traditional, Modern, Gourmet, Fine Dining

Erba Brusca

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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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.

Meal service:

Lunch, Dinner

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Romantic, Stylish, Modern, Secret, Unusual, Relaxed

Pane e Acqua

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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Pane e Acqua is an eclectic restaurant born from Rossana Orlandi’s desire to create a culinary space next to her own art gallery. The brilliant architect Paola Navone renovated an old tobacco shop, creating one of the most interesting and artsy restaurants in town. Not only is the restaurant open from 10 am to midnight, giving guests the opportunity to try it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or weekend brunch, but every single piece of the décor is for sale in the adjacent gallery, meaning that the restaurant might change appearance from visit to visit. Since 2008, chef Francesco Passalacqua has been in charge of the menu, bringing forth a lovely selection of dishes that feature game, fish and seasonal produce.

Joia

Restaurant, Contemporary, Vegan, Vegetarian, Italian, European, Healthy, $$$
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Joia won its first Michelin star in 1996
Joia won its first Michelin star in 1996 | Courtesy of Joia
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.

Meal service:

Lunch, Dinner

Atmosphere:

Business, Fine Dining, Gourmet, Stylish, Michelin-Starred, Modern, Unusual

Timè

Restaurant, Italian
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Nestled in the heart of Brera, Milan’s artsy neighborhood, Timè offers a delightful culinary experience. Whether stopping by for lunch after visiting the illustrious Pinacoteca di Brera or for dinner after a show at the nearby Piccolo Teatro, Timè will surprise its guests with a creative menu worthy of the neighborhood’s reputation. The venue has a strong bond with the world of arts, with its logo designed by Jean Michel Folon, and the walls of the restaurant adorned with artworks that can be purchased at reasonable prices. Timè is an excellent choice for those who appreciate fine dining in a setting filled with fine art.