The majestic Duomo, situated at the very centre of the Milan, in Piazza del Duomo, is an iconic symbol of the city. Its proximity to major museums, monuments and great shopping, makes it the focal point for sightseeing. Here are some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the area, so you can plan where to stop and enjoy a delicious meal.
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Italian, Seafood, $$$
Tuscan-born chef Giacomo Bulleri, now 92, arrived in Milan in the 1950s and built a small food empire in the city. Giacomo Arengario is one of his cherished restaurants (alongside Da Giacomo in the Porta Venezia / San Babila neighbourhood) and is located within the celebrated Museo Novecento on Piazza del Duomo. The design, by Laura Sartori Rimini and Roberto Peregalli, is a decadent tribute to Art Deco with intricately painted wood-panelled walls, aged mirrors and a coffered ceiling. Giacomo Anrengario is renowned for its seafood (the king crab pasta is a long-standing favourite with regulars) and the view from the outdoor terrace. After visiting the museum, which houses Milan’s finest collection of 20th-century Italian art, relax with a drink and enjoy the view of the cathedral, then enjoy some of the finest 21st-century Italian cuisine.
Fine Dining, Gourmet, Romantic, Business, Stylish, Traditional, Arty, Outdoors, Rooftop
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Michelin-starred Carlo Cracco is one of Italy’s most renowned chefs and restaurateurs. His restaurant Carlo e Camilla in Segheria (Charles and Camilla in the Sawmill) in downtown Milan is a favourite with the city’s design crowd and renowned for its unusual and atmospheric space designed by Tanja Solci, as much as the gourmet menu. Naturally, the opening of a second restaurant was hotly anticipated and Ristorante Cracco does not disappoint. It occupies five floors inside the historic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele I and exudes timeless luxury and elegance.There’s an enviable wine cellar, followed by a bistro/bar/café on the ground floor, then the restaurant on level one, an event space on floor two and an exquisite pastry shop at the top. In the restaurant, guests have the option of choosing gourmet dishes à la carte, or trying the tasting menu at €190 (£168). Expect inventive dishes such as crusted fish soup and egg yolk marinated with green asparagus and black truffles, but also traditional courses, such as saffron creamed rice, grilled marrow and chicken liver sauce. Ristorante Cracco guarantees a spectacular gastronomic experience in a beautiful setting so, of course, there is the price tag to match. The restaurant has set service hours but the cafê/bar is open from 8am until midnight.
Fine Dining, Michelin-Starred, Gourmet, Stylish, Romantic
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Ristorante Savini first opened in the beautiful Galleria Vittorio Emanuele I in 1867 and is widely considered one of Milan’s most prestigious traditional dining experiences. Located on the first floor above the Savini Café, the restaurant combines a classic interior – antique furniture, plush carpet and a grand piano – with a modern open kitchen. The current head chef, Giovanni Bon, has the weight of 150 years of service on his shoulders but is definitely up to the task, having gained experience at the likes of Cracco Peck (Milan) and Alain Ducasse’s Spoon (Paris). The menu is almost a tour of the nation’s best traditional recipes and the Michelin guide has specifically praised the wine list.
VUN Andrea Aprea is the gourmet Italian restaurant of the Park Hyatt Milano hotel. It takes its name from the Milanese dialect for ‘one’, perhaps indicative of head chef Andrea Aprea’s ambitions. The dining room is typical of a hotel restaurant with lots of upholstery and carpet, but in a sleek modern way; it is refined, elegant and perfectly lit. The à la carte menu is small but perfectly formed, with just four delectable choices for each course. Three courses is priced at €115 (£101); four courses at €145 (£128). There are also two tasting menus on offer. VUN Andrea Aprea only runs a dinner service between 7pm and 10.30pm, so it’s necessary to book a much-coveted table in advance.
Michelin-Starred, Business, Quiet, Stylish, Traditional, Modern, Gourmet, Fine Dining
Alla Collina Pistoiese
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Established in 1938, Alla Collina Pistoiese (meaning ‘At the Pistoiese Hill’) is one of the city’s longest-serving Tuscan trattorias. It has a reputation for excellent service and authentic Tuscan cuisine. The atmosphere is historic and elegant – rich mahogany woodwork, murals of the Tuscan landscape and antique chairs – but it is not too fancy, with a friendly and unpretentious vibe. The menu is rich with offerings from both land and sea, and includes chef recommendations such as Lardo di Colonnata (crostini with lard from Colonnata in the Apuan Alps), Penne di Kamut con ragù di Carciofi (Kamut wheat with artichoke ragu), Nodino di vitello burro e salvia (Veal knots with butter and sage).
Al Cantinone is perfect if you are looking to dine in a historic restaurant but without the formality and expense of the city centre’s best-known establishments. It is moments from Piazza del Duomo and La Scala set within a charming 17th-century building. The menu is dominated by typical Lombardian dishes and service epitomises a familial trattoria approach.
Risoelatte is a kitsch, retro gem among a city centre of contemporary restaurants competing for your attention with the newest food trends. Modelled on a traditional 1960s trattoria, every item in this space, from the Perspex chairs to the floral wallpaper, the cafeteria-style salt and pepper shakers and even the underwear hanging up on a washing line, has been lovingly hand-picked to recreate a homely, brilliantly dated kitchen. It’s just like you would imagine an Italian nonna’s home to be. The menu also reflects the home cooking typical of old-school trattorias – hearty Milanese classics such as cotoletta alla Milanese served with oven-cooked potatoes or risotto alla Milanese con ossobuco di Vitello. Coffee is served straight from the mocha pot.
Chichi Meroni, a sixth-generation Milanese fashion designer and collector of design, founded L’Arabesque in 2010 to share her aesthetic vision and passion. Since then, she has slowly expanded the space at Via Largo Augusto to become an aesthete’s empire: in addition to her signature line of menswear and womenswear and vintage collections, it now comprises a bookshop, mid-century furniture and design gallery and café/restaurant/bar. There is something very special about the vibe at L’Arabesque which is hard to pinpoint, somehow merging timeless elegance with contemporary sass. The café opens early in the morning for coffee and pastries, then serves lunch and dinner later on. Meroni personally supervised the menu and wine list drawing inspiration from her family recipes, so it features several traditional Milanese dishes, but served in a beautiful L’Arabesque fashion. The décor fuses mid-century design with Middle Eastern flair.
This venue has an impressive reputation on the Milanese pizza scene and its convenient location on the bustling Largo Corsia dei Servi has only served to increase its popularity. Founded by acclaimed pizzaiolo Gino Sorbillo, who specialises in soft-crust Neapolitan pizza, Lievito makes a daily total of 400 pies, but never any more – so be sure to get there early, as you cannot make reservations. The addition of a fine selection of beers and wine, comfortable interior, friendly service and a buzzy atmosphere, make this a must-visit. This is the original pizzeria, but Sorbillo has since opened additional restaurants on Via Montevideo and Via Ugo Foscolo.
You will find this small bakery tucked down a little side street just behind the Duomo and you are also likely to find a queue coming out the door. It was established in 1888 but it wasn’t until 1949, when Signora Giuseppina Luini from Puglia took over, that it started producing the delicious panzerotti that it is now famous for. Panzerotti (also called calzoni by Sicilians) are a traditional Puglia baked good – pizza dough is folded into a shape that resembles a Cornish pasty and is stuffed with any number of delicious fresh ingredients before being quickly deep-fried. The special Luini panzerotti recipe is closely guarded by Giuseppina’s son and grandchildren who run the bakery today. This place is perfect if you are looking for a quick and inexpensive lunch or an afternoon snack while sightseeing.