I’ve been to Florence, Rome, Venice, Orvieto, Verona, Pisa – but Milan seems like a completely different world to me. An exceptionally busy city compared to the rest, but still with beautiful sites of both the architectural and fashion variety!
The easiest way to find good food, like most big cities, is to stray away from the tourist areas and follow the locals.
Here are some of my suggestions;
Juice Bar – for a healthy breakfast on the run
Something that honestly baffled me when travelling in Europe was how late in the morning people eat breakfast compared to Australia! I imagine it’s largely due to our different daylight hours, but still, when you arrive in a new city, hungry, at 5:30am, it can be difficult holding out until midday to get something decent to eat! Juice Bar make great smoothies and juices but have awesome takeaway or eat-in breakfast options. My favourited where the orange Bircher muesli and the acai yogurt cup, both with seeds and fresh fruit.
Luini Panzerotti – for a piece of Milanese tradition
Panzerotti are little pillows of Italian pastry stuffed with a range of savoury or sweet I friends, from fig and walnut to spinach and ricotta. Luini Panzerotti is famous for these little mouthfuls of bliss, but you’ll have to get in early to avoid the other tourists as it’s in one of the streets surrounding the duomo. I tried a perfectly flaky, sweet and sour ‘Nutella cherry’ Panzerotti which was simply divine (and left me wanting to try the rest of the flavours!)
Grom – for outstanding gelato
These guys are famous for all natural gelato without the added nasties, and have won plenty of awards for their efforts. Having tried tried them in Florence and Venice as well, I can safely say they are one of my absolute favourites. If you get the chance, the nougat and the egg creme flavours are unbelievably good and unlike any flavour I’ve tried back home!
Taglio – for modern Milanese food
Trying to find a table on a Saturday night is a nightmare (it seems like you have to be a Victoria secret model or own a Lamborghini to get a seat anywhere that’s not a tourist trap!). After being turned away by literally everyone, I was so thankful that Taglio took me in for one of the most sensational meals ever! For entree – the octopus. So tender you could cut it with a fork before it literally melted in your mouth, yet they managed to keep the outside crispy. For main – the gnocchi. They had me at “clams and muscles” but the addition of a garlic crumb makes it practically heaven on a plate. A medley of textures without overpowering the natural deliciousness of the seafood. For dessert – the bonet. This was a new one for me, a traditional Italian dessert that appears to be the glorious love child of a chocolate mousse and a brownie, with an almost cake-like consistency as well. Super rich and decadent but balanced beautifully with a hint of almond liquor, smooth vanilla custard and a hit of freshness with cranberries. What can I say? This place is incredible, not just for their inventiveness with food while still staying true to Milanese cuisine, but also their delightfully helpful waitstaff. All up my three course meal with a Campari soda, water and enough focaccia to sink a ship cost €45. I’d call that an absolute bargain for the quality of the whole experience!
Outlet Dolciario Buenos Aires – for stocking the PMS pantry
My pancreas did not thank me for this visit but oh boy, my palate sure did! If you thought the sales at Prada in Milan were manic, they’ve got nothing on a visit to this incredible outlet on Saturday afternoon. It’s filled with locals picking up every kind of glorious chocolate and sweet you can think of, as well as patisserie goodies like croissants and cannoli (the later of which are surprisingly tasty!). The prices are variable – some products have huge discounts, others are only marginal. You don’t have to buy in bulk either – you can buy individual Lindt chocolates and mix n match the flavours if you like. The visit is worth it, just to see the masses of chocolate available!
Pasticceria Marchesi – for something deliciously ostentatious
This cafe caught my eye due to a recent write-up in Vogue magazine – for this is not just any ordinary cafe, it’s owned by Prada darling! In a nutshell, the venue is posh, the people are posh, the coffee and cakes are posh – and the price is posh. But it’s an experience nonetheless!
Pernigotti – very decadent chocolate gelato!
I tried the ‘extra dark chocolate’ and pistachio gelati from these guys at Expo2015 in Milan. The rich consistency of the chocolate gelato was like a mixture between an ice cream and chocolate fudge, it was utterly decadent and absolutely divine! Track them down if you get the chance, otherwise try some of their amazing chocolates from the Outlet Dolciario.