The home of Italian avant-garde design and fashion, Milan can be seen as the country’s foreground for innovation in many different spheres, including food. A journey through tradition and innovation, through traditional trattorias and cutting-edge fusion restaurants, exploring Milan’s dining scene is a multifaceted and surprising experience. Adding to our previous selection, this list includes 10 dining spots that all curious food lovers should try when in the city.
Entirely inspired by art deco style, Giacomo Arengario is embedded within the complex of the Museo del Novecento, in the very heart of Milan. Enjoying a superb location in one of the upstairs loggias of the museum building, the restaurant overlooks the Duomo, offering spectacular views of one of Milan’s most distinctive sights. The interior design is just as grand, recalling typical 1930’s architectures and patterns both in its structure and in the smallest details, like the gilded deco glasses. Run by a pair of renowned restaurateurs, Giacomo Arengario offers classic dishes inspired by the Italian traditions as well as lighter lunch options.
Chic and essential design shapes the ambience of Ristorante Berton. Large crystal panels and metal sheets mounted on elm wood structures define the framework where tables are set. A history of Michelin stars and Gambero Rosso forks accompanies chef and owner Andrea Berton’s career. He landed on the project of his own restaurant after years working with the most prominent chefs on the European scene, and running highly acclaimed kitchens across the continent. The restaurant offers dining options such as a ‘quick lunch’, which includes a daily changing all-in-one course menu. The chef’s favourite ingredient, broth, is at the heart of his cuisine, featuring in most of his dishes, like in the risotto with raw prawns and coral of shellfish.
Cracco’s, Milano | Image courtesy of Ristorante Cracco
One of the most prominent figures in contemporary Italian cuisine, and among the best-known celebrity chefs in the country, Carlo Cracco’s career is dotted with Michelin stars and international recognition. With doors opening in 2007, his own Ristorante Cracco has established itself as one of the top-notch dining destinations in Milan by presenting the city with its innovative take on local, traditional dishes. Fully renovated with a hyper-modern design, the interior of the restaurant revolves around refined elegance and minimal lines. Guided by chef Matteo Baronetto, the kitchen plays on contrasts and combinations of flavours, to assemble dishes that closely resemble a work of visual art.
Overlooking Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, just a few steps away from the impressive Duomo of Milan, Michelin-starred Ristorante VUN is nestled in the context of the Park Hyatt Hotel. Decorated in an essential and modern style with fine attention to details, VUN welcomes diners in a simple yet sophisticated atmosphere. The kitchen is run by Neapolitan executive chef Andrea Aprea, whose culinary style revolves around a taste for innovation that goes hand in hand with esteem for Italy’s rich gastronomic tradition. A range of themes unfold in his set menus, like ‘Neapolitan routes’ and ‘travelling between north and south’, while the à la carte menu enhances the flavours of culinary styles from across the country.
Al Pont de Ferr sits close to the iron bridge from which it takes its name, along the Naviglio Grande, a canal that Leonardo da Vinci designed centuries ago. Having served as a restaurant for more than 100 years, this osteria welcomes guests in a homely and rustic atmosphere. Dozens of wine bottles find space on big wooden planks, while rough paint covers the walls, and old newspaper reviews are printed on red tablecloths. While the environment exudes tradition, the philosophy in the kitchen gives a modern twist to it. With great care about the quality of his ingredients, Chef Matias Perdomo crafts masterful creations like his signature tropea ─ red onion made of blown sugar and stuffed with goat’s cheese and caramelised onion.
Located right next door to high-end Sadler restaurant and also part of the Sadler family, Chic’n Quick is a more relaxed yet still top-quality alternative to the many fine dining destinations in Milan. The team running Chic’n Quick’s kitchen is young and diverse, and so is the spirit imbuing this modern trattoria’s philosophy. Genuine ingredients and creativity to twist culinary traditions inform the cuisine, which features an à la carte and a set menu, with daily proposals varying according to the availability of seasonal produce. Maccheroncini ‘cacio e pepe’ (cheese and pepper) with fiori di zucchina e guanciale are a tempting choice to match with a glass of local wine.
Restaurant encounters art gallery at Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia. With a history dating back to the years immediately following the end of World War II, the restaurant has evolved to become one of the temples of Italian cuisine in Milan, as well as an art space. Landscapes printed on chairs, paintings on the walls of the two dining halls, and plotter paintings on the outside walls of Il Luogo make it a unique spot on Milan’s food scene. Tradition and contemporary taste coexist in the menu, which includes mouth-watering dishes like the tender and crispy cinta senese piglet with rosemary, honey, and chard.
The fish counter dominates the main dining hall at Iyo, while the kitchen and robatayaki, the traditional Japanese grill, are visible to guests who take a seat at one of the golden tables of the restaurant. The décor is minimal but plays on the tones of wood and warm light, which renders it a homely yet highly refined space. A fusion cuisine among the most appreciated in Milan, Iyo’s is a combination of sushi and contemporary cooking. Also featuring pastas and salads, the menu’s strength lies in its offering of Japanese classics as well as in its innovative creations of oriental plates from fresh local ingredients.
Enjoying the rare delight of an ample courtyard space in Milan, La Brisa presents diners with the choice of lounging in the refined veranda-like interior, or sitting amongst centuries-old lime trees in the breeze of warm summer nights. Located in the vicinity of an ancient Roman site in the city centre, La Brisa was renovated to revolve around the outside space, conceived as a quiet sanctuary in the midst of the city’s buzz. Spectacular presentations are created on La Brisa’s plates, combining flavours and colours in delectable layouts. Among favourites at this restaurant is the crispy Iberian porker with apple mustard, chips and myrtle sauce.
Run by tireless chef Sandro Caputo, Nerino Dieci is a little gem on Milan’s dining scene, and among the most widely appreciated foodie destinations in the city. A small environment, yet simple and tasteful in its interior décor, this trattoria can accommodate guests at high tables with stalls as well as at classic lower and ampler tables. The core of the cuisine at Nerino Dieci lies in the chef’s passion for fish. Offering both a seasonal and a daily lunch menu, fish is present in many of the appetizers, primi and secondi, from the mazzancolle (a kind of shrimp) in tempura with soy mayonnaise, to an impressive variety of mussels and grilled fish.