The Most Fashionable Restaurants In Milan
The courtyard of Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone. Photogaph courtesy of Salumaio di Montenapoleone
Where the sartorial set go to dine in the Italian menswear capital.
Milan is not just the beating heart of Italian menswear, it also has a long and venerable history as a centre of gastronomy. Unlike London or New York, Copenhagen or the Basque Country, the centrifuge-and-foam revolution never really took hold. Here, they like their restaurants – or at least the food they cook in them – to have history, a bit of lineage. In some senses, the city is a world apart from the rest of Italy: in the south it is all about seafood, dishes such as spaghetti allo scoglio (spaghetti with seafood), or pesce spade, (grilled swordfish). However, in the north, meat reigns supreme, in the form of osso bucco (veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth) with saffron risotto, or the milanesa, a hammered piece of chicken, beef or veal served breaded. Tuck into our list of the best places to eat in the city – just be sure you bring your appetite.
Photographs by Mr Gianmarco Grimaldi. Courtesy of Giacomo Bistrot
It took the interior architects Mr Roberto Peragalli and Ms Laura Sartori Rimini two years to collect the books and antiques which lend this Parisian-style bistro its air of dusty sophistication. Still, it was worth the sweat – the family-owned restaurant, part of the small Giacomo group of restaurants, is one of the most atmospheric in the city, if not the country. Perch on a stool at the mirror-lined bar for an Aperol spritz, before settling into one of the upholstered red chairs in the dining room and allow yourself to gently slip back in time to the glory days of European café society. The menu is mainly meat dishes, though they do a good line in oysters and truffles in the season. The tables are close together so canoodling with your neighbour is practically a must.
What to order: the Giacomo bombe – puff pastry filled with mascarpone cream and wild strawberries – is explosively good.
Tartare di Manzo alla Norcina Acciughe e Tartufo. Photographs by Ms Barbara Santoro. Courtesy of Ceresio 7
Every weekend, the beau monde flock to Ceresio 7. Little wonder, as it’s owned by twin brothers Messrs Dan and Dean Caten – whose day job is running their clothing empire Dsquared2 (in fact, its headquarters is in this very same building). This top-floor bar-cum-restaurant is open from 10.00am; head over for a morning swim in the outdoor pool, then hangout in a cabana through the afternoon, emerging, blinking and refreshed, just in time for a pre-dinner dry martini. And with views over the city, we know of few better places to drink one in. If you prefer your dinner to be, well, not entirely liquid, bag a (mid-century-modern) table in the glass fronted-dining room and work your way through chef Mr Elio Sironi’s take on Milanese classics. His vitello in salsa monferrina (veal in monferrina sauce with green beans, zucchini flower, and truffle) is a must try.
What to order: veal tartare ravioli.
Minestrone alla Genovese, Farinata and Testaroli al Pesto. Photographs by Mr Marco Bello. Courtesy of U Barba
Not so long ago, if you were heading to U Barba, you’d do so with your bocce balls in your hands. U Barba was a local bocciofila (bowls club) until a pair of enterprising Genovese took it over and transformed it into a top-flight osteria. The bare-walled, stripped-floor dining room has long tables down the middle, which make it perfect for la famiglie. What makes it even better is the food – good solid flavours cooked with lots of flare and little pretention. Popular dishes included the cheese focaccia, Ligurian antipasti, stuffed anchovies, mussels, and the best farinata (chickpea pancake) we have tried in years. The perfect place to while away an afternoon with the bambini.
What to order: stuffed pansotti pasta with walnut sauce.
Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone
Photographs courtesy of Salumaio di Montenapoleone
One of the prettiest lunching spots in the city, and with some of the prettiest customers. Il Salumaio is popular with off-duty models and fashion-industry types planning their next career move. Its wine shop and patisserie are difficult to pass by without feeling the stirrings of hunger (or greed), but the main show is the restaurant – the Milanese risotto and the trofie pasta with pesto sauce both deserve the Order of Merit, and the salami selection is one of the finest in the city. Be warned, though, if you have to fit into sample sizes, go easy on the burrata.
What to order: meat tortellini with ragu.
Left: Photograph by Mr Santi Caleca. Courtesy of Dry. Right: Photograph by Mr Diego Rigatti. Courtesy of Dry
Concrete walls, simple tables and designer lightbulbs, this is very much Milan via Brooklyn. Don’t let that put you off, though – this place is as authentic as they come. Chef Mr Andrea Berton’s pizzas are visionary creations; his lardo stagionato pizza with basil-seasoned lard and black pepper is a knockout and ought to be followed by a couple of gin mules from the bar. As good for a quick dinner on the hop, as it is for a night of carousing over the cocktail menu.
What to order: verdure pizza with mozerella, datterino tomatoes and smoked aubergine and courgette.