Great pasta, risotto and other local delicacies in the ten best restaurants in Milan. Delicious Italian food in lovely locations at reasonable price.
Forget Pizza ans spaghetti Bolognaise: here we are talking about some of the best food you can taste in Italy, in posh locations and with a great service! This is my very personal selection of the restaurants in Milan with the best quality/price ratio, those where I usually have dinner with my friends and family.
I will not present the true Milan top dining places, such as Savini, Cracco, Joia, Aimo and Nadia, Armani Nobu and the similar (much too expensive for most travellers), but rather 10 excellent Milan restaurants when you can enjoy a a fantastic meal in a great location, spending around 50-60 € per person (the wine you will choose could be a major driver of your bill…).
Needless to say, better to reserve: all these restaurants get crowded fairly easily, especially at week ends.
And on top of these 10 restaurants, an additional bonus: a very unique place, unmissable for foodies visiting Milan. It’s the last one, so you will need to go through all the post to discover it!
Still looking for more? Well, Milan has thousands of restaurants, many of which concentrated in Milan hottest districts. To hunt for your truly special and personal restaurant, take some time to explore the following places:
- The Navigli
- Porta nuova
- Corso di porta Ticinese
- Via Castaldi
So enjoy and “buon appetito!” (Click on the Map to open Google Maps).
The Pisco is located at the Arco della Pace, a pedestrian area around the Sempione Park arch. It’s one of Milan aperitivo Meccas and the Living, just adjacent to the Pisco, is one of the best places in town for your happy hour.
The Pisco is mainly a fish restaurant, with a delightful cozy fish bistrot atmosphere. Everything is really good, but don’t miss the “tribolazione dello chef”, a cold and hot fish appetizers bonanza. In summer time you can eat outside, with a nice view on Sempione park.
If you want to eat seafood in Milan, this is one of the unmissable places
Ristorante Pisco, Via Agostino Bertani, 16, Milano – 02 3360 5057
Osteria Brunello is located at the end of Corso Garibaldi, where Brera neihborhood gives way to Corso Como and Porta nuova area. In other words, it’s a lively and posh area, that you will enjoy exploring before taking a seat at your table.
Their friendly staff will help you choice among the many dishes, which we can define “Italian modern”. Osteria Brunello is famous for its “Vera Cotoletta di Vitello Alla Milanese”, a gorgeous interpretation of one of the most famous Milanese dishes (a crispy, thick veal steak butter pan fried and served with cherry tomatoes and rocket salad). Last time I ate there, I ordered a delicious crispy octopus on a chick pea cream – simply delicious!
Ristorante Brunello, Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, 117, Milano – 02 659 2973
Osteria del Binari
Located in the “Zona Tortona”, a former industrial area, now full of bars, restaurants and fashion ateliers, the Osteria del Binari is a traditional restaurant, where to taste the best Northern Italy cuisine in a century old former rail workers bowls club.
Ignore the somehow shabby exterior and walk the door to discover a lovely theatrical surrounding and a gorgeous internal garden , perfect place to eat in the warm Milan nights.
Taste the risotto al salto (crispy version of the traditional risotto) , the agnolotti del Plin (traditional stuffed pasta from Piedmont) and the ossobuco in gremolada, another very traditional Milanese dish (sliced veal shank).
Osteria del Binari, Via Tortona, 3, Milano – 02 8940 6753
Not too far from the Osteria del Binari, the Langosteria is reputed for being one of the best fish restaurants in town. If you are looking for exceptional seafood such as large shrimp, lobsters, oysters, king crab and an endless wine list, to be enjoyed in a very particular and posh atmosphere, then the Langosteria is the right restaurant for you.
Taste the many fish tartare and the linguine con vongole, calamaretti spillo e bottarga di muggine – you won’t be disappointed!
Ristorante Langosteria, Via Savona, 10, Milano – 02 5811 1649
Ristorante Mercato del Pesce
This is a very particular one, that you would hardly find on your standard Milan traveller path. “Mercato del Pesce” means, literally, fish market, and that’s exactly what this place is: a large fish wholesaler, hidden under one of the Central station bridges. No kidding!
But, inside the shop, you will find a glass cube (yes, a glass cube!) that hosts what is probably Milan strangest – and most sophisticated – fish restaurant. As you can presume, everything is absolutely fresh, and you can actually choose the fish you would like to eat.
My favorite dishes? Scialatielli di gambero rosso di Sicilia (pasta with Sicilian shrimps) and spigola al sale (baked sea bass in salt crust).
Mercato del pesce, Via Giovanni Battista Sammartini, 70, Milano – 02 669 3384
Trattoria del nuovo Macello
My favorite restaurant in Milan! This is another one you would hardly find on your own.
The Trattoria del Nuovo Macello is a very old restaurant, located in front of Milan’s wholesale food market old building, on the way to Linate airport. In its origins, three generations ago, the owners were providing affordable, average food to the market workers. So it’s far from the city center (you’ll need a car or a taxi), in a rather unpleasant neighborhood and displays an anonymous exterior. So why it’s so special?
Well, the trattoria decoration to start: it’s a travel in the past, since the owners managed to keep the traditional 1930s interior, but with a twist of modernity and elegance. It’s always full of locals, not a touristic place at all. The family (yes, it’s still the same family!) is lovely and passionate about the food they serve. Their recipes are very creative interpretations of traditional Italian food, delicious and light. Wine list is excellent. Prices are incredibly reasonable given the quality and the overall experience.
Their most famous dish is their own version of the Cotoletta, very thick and tender, juicy and cooked to perfection. The best in town (yes, Ristorante Brunello only gets the second price..) .
Did I convince you?
Trattoria del nuovo Macello, Via Cesare Lombroso, 20, Milano – 02 5990 2122
In the heart of Brera district, one of Milan’s posh areas, ten minutes walking from the Duomo, the Convivium won’t disappoint you.
The atmosphere is soft and relaxed, and the food, north Italy with Tuscany flavor, is always fresh and well prepared. This is the only restaurant in my list which also offers pizza, cooked in a wood fire oven. The wine list is also impressive.
The Convivium is opened on Sunday nights, when most restaurants are closed.
Ristorante Convivium, Via Ponte Vetero, 21, Milano – 02 8646 3708
The Ratanà is a cool and contemporary location to end your exploration of the Porta Nuova – Corso Como district. It occupies a beautifully renovated 19th-century industrial building, surrounded by the newly built Porta Nuova skyscrapers. The contrast is striking!
Ratanà serves a modern take on Lombardy’s traditional recipes. Their Risotto allo Zafferano (saffron risotto) is unmissable, arguably one of the best you may taste in Milan. The wine list is good and service usually friendly and attentive.
Like the Convivium, the Ratanà is open on Sunday nights. You can go there also for an Aperitivo from 6:30 to 8:30 PM- in that case, consider tasting the Mondeghili (traditional small fried meat balls) along with your glass of wine.
Ristorante Ratanà, Via Gaetano de Castillia, 28, Milano – 02 8712 8855
Ristorante Dogana del Buongusto
The Dogana del Buongusto is located a few steps away from Porta Ticinese, the 12th century gate to the medieval Milan. Nearby are also San Lorenzo church and the Colonne di San Lorenzo, which are among the best preserved Roman ruins in Milan. The square where the Colonne di San Lorenzo are located is also one of the key places of the so-called “Milanese movida”, i.e., night-life.
Dogana del buongusto is a delightful restaurant and wine bar. They also run wine tasting courses (I actually attended one), so you can definitely rely on their wine list! The ambiance is cosy, with old medieval columns (original) and agricultural tools in a warm atmosphere.
They have a great selection of “Prosciutti e salumi” (Dried and salted meats) and cheeses, perfect to taste with a glass of red wine and a very good Risotto alla Milanese con Ossobuco (traditional risotto Milanese style with sliced and stewed veal shank). My favorite dissh is the Zigogna (veal slices baked on a kind of wooden skewer).
Ristorante Dogana del Buongusto, Via Molino delle Armi, 48, Milano – 02 8324 2444
Ristorante Posto di conversazione
Navigli is one of the most romantic neighborhoods in Milan. Originally an impoverished working-class neighborhood, Navigli started changing in the 1980s, when houses along the canals were renovated, artists started moving in to find inspiration in the idyllic quarter, and restaurants opened along the waterways. Today, Navigli is one of the liveliest districts in Milan, with plenty of bars and restaurants in the area and several antique and design stores. It’s a touristic place, so not my preferred destination. However, Navigli are one of Milan highlights so you may likely end up spending one evening there.
The Posto di Conversazione is right on the main channel. Here you are light years from trendy and fashionable Milano. In summer time you can eat outside on the canal (now a pedestrian area) to enjoy the Navigli atmophere.
Notable dishes: artichokes tagliolini (fresh thin pasta) and slow cooked comfit of goose.
Although the Posto di conversazione is a good restaurant, in my view it is not as remarkable as the other ones in this list. It mainly owes to be included in my “best restaurants in Milan” because of its great location in the Navigli district, where it is actually pretty hard to find decent places to eat.
Ristorante Posto di conversazione, Alzaia Naviglio Grande 6, Milano – 02 5810 6646
So these are my best restaurants in Milan. And here is my special bonus: Eataly Milan.
Eataly is a very well known Italian food chain, born with the mission of preserving best regional Italian delicacies and bring them to a wide range of consumers, in Italy and abroad.
Italy Smeraldo was opened a couple of years ago, after renovating a former music theater in the heart of Corso Como – Porta Nuova district. Here you can find in a single place the best Italian gourmet food and this would be enough to justify a visit. On top of that, it’s several food halls serve excellent and very reasonable priced Italian dishes – pizza, pasta, fish, meats – in a friendly and unpretentious environment. It’s a fantastic place to have lunch and to purchase food souvenirs to bring home.
Eataly smeraldo also offers good aperitivo (taste their focacce), and a one Michelin star restaurant – the Alice.
Piazza XXV Aprile, 10, 20121 Milano – 02 4949 7301
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