Al Pont Ferr
This traditional establishment along the Ripa di Porta Ticinese Al Pont de Ferr is a favorite with locals and renowned for its friendly service. The restaurant offers la carte or prix fixe menu options (including the ‘Traditional Menu’ of five courses with wine pairings, an experience that is consistently praised in reviews). Rich, well-balanced dishes are complimented by an impressive selection of wines, beers and liquors.
A modern restaurant in one of the Gothic buildings on Vicolo dei Lavandai, El Brellin‘s big draws are a menu weighted toward traditional Milanese dining. The outside terrace-garden has beautiful views of the canal and the classical Navigli district, making it a popular venue for special occasions. The restaurant is usually fully booked at the weekend, so it is best to make a reservation well ahead of time.
Located on the quiet Alzaia Naviglio Grande, Officina 12 is a popular dinner destination for locals, who come for a seafood-heavy menu that draws heavily on regional cooking styles. Inside, the vibe is romantic; crimson walls punctuated by industrial brickwork, a glass ceiling and gallery-dining looking over the first floor. Alternatively, eat al fresco in the vine-bordered garden terrace or just have some great antipasti at the bar.
Set in a large atrium-style room around a fountain, Trattoria Toscana has a menu of traditional Tuscan cuisine that is rich and hearty – try the generous platters of cold cuts and cheeses. The restaurant is close to the Duomo, but manages to avoid the tourist crowds; its room, and quiet outdoor garden terrace mainly filled with local couples and large dinner-parties. It is reliably busy so call ahead for a reservation.
Ristorante Indiano Shiva
The interior of this stylish Indian restaurant is full of beautiful murals and woodwork and the sumptuous smells of warm spices. Indian food is a rarity in Milan, so Shiva is a treat, with speedy service, fair pricing, and (unusual among its competitors) an impressive wine-list and bar. Try to book a table in the upstairs gallery if you can, to enjoy views of the Naviglio Grande with your meal.
A seafood restaurant on Via Cicco Simonetta, Zio Pesce features a diverse menu with exquisitely presented, imaginative seafood dishes; try the succulent lobster platter with prawns and calamari. Dishes are reasonably priced, despite a central location, and an informal atmosphere makes Zio Pesce popular with families and casual diners. Call in advance for a reservation.
This small, unpretentious restaurant along the Via Ripa Di Porta is a real find, with some of the tastiest Mediterranean dining in Milan. Greek Fusion combines fast service, a relaxed atmosphere and fresh ingredients on a satisfying menu; Greek specialities to try include gyros, kabobs and baklava. The restaurant gets extremely busy after 9 o’clock (the start of the Italian dinner quarter), so if you’re looking for quiet come between 7 – 9pm.
Situated along a quiet street overlooking the canal, Tradizionale has beautiful canal-views from its outside garden-terrace and some of the best and most authentic Milanese pizza in the city. Inside, things are stylish and relaxed, with a cavernous interior marked by a dark flag-stone floor, brick walls and a raftered ceiling hung round with ornate light-sculptures.
Set on the Naviglio River, Sabbia D’Oro is renowned for its authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas and seafood. With an extensive menu (including pizza, pasta, steaks, seafood and tapas) and a fine selection of wines, it’s justifiably popular, and this makes hard to find a seat after 9 o’clock, so reserve a table in advance. Request a table on the quiet outdoor patio area, and you’ll get a great view of the canal thrown in.
This chic, modish establishment along the restaurant-crowded blocks of the Alzaia Naviglio Grande features a commodious interior, retired back garden and quiet outdoor terrace for a relaxed, romantic evening. With an emphasis on presentation as well as quality, Turbigo is well-known for its creative approaches to modern gastronomy, and is a particular favorite among seafood-lovers. A large bar and terrace make it a great location for a pre-dinner drink or digestif, and, known for being less crowded than other near-by venues, the perfect choice for a romantic al fresco dinner for two on the terrace.