When you think of eating in Italy, ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’ are not words that immediately spring to mind, but if you know where to look you can find delicious and inventive vegan and vegetarian menus in Milan.
Restaurant, Contemporary, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
Joia was the first vegetarian restaurant in Europe to be awarded a Michelin star (1996) and it remains a gastronomic delight. It serves vegetarian and vegan haute cuisine utilising seasonal, responsibly sourced produce; the recipes are sophisticated and complex and the space is suitably elegant. This fine dining experience is reflected in the prices, with an average meal costing €100 per head. For those who want to enjoy the Joia philosophy but at a more democratic cost, you can also order from the Joia Bistro menu which runs Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner.
Mantra Raw Vegan
Bistro, Contemporary, Vegan, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, $$$
The health food movement has not hit Milan like it has Los Angles, New York or London, so finding proper cold-pressed juices and fresh smoothies can be difficult! Mantra Raw Vegan to the rescue – they prepare a daily juice and smoothie menu. The food menu (breakfast, lunch and dinner) is dedicated to inventive and flavoursome vegan dishes. For example, Pumpkin ravioli dressed with coriander pesto, pumpkin seeds and sweet and sour apple, or the wittily named ‘TIRAWMISU’ which uses a hazelnut base and coconut cream. Within the restaurant, there is also a small ‘market’ where you can buy their ingredients to take home with you.
Restaurant, Indian, Vegetarian, $$$
Govinda restaurant is part of the Hare Krishna cultural centre
of Milan. Within a historic building with beautiful vaulted ceilings, they serve exclusively vegetarian Indian dishes thali-style (several small bowls on a tray). Spicy food and authentic Indian cooking are rare in Italy so this is a real gem. Govinda has a convivial atmosphere because of the free seating policy which means you share a large table with other guests.