There are so many amazing places to eat in Milan. I mean, it’s Italy. And while it may not have the food reputation of Bologna or Rome or Florence, it does have some incredibly delicious restaurants in Milan Italy.
This list includes some of the best pasta in Milan, the best pizza in Milan (ok it’s Naples-style, but it’s still the best in Milan), as well as where to get top local foods like risotto alla Milanese.
If you’re going to be spending a few days in Milan, be sure to check out my itinerary for the city so you don’t miss out on all the best things to do in Milan, too.
What Food to Eat in Milan
If you are not familiar with Milan and its food culture, Milan is located in the Lombardy region of Italy.
One of the things I love about Italy is how unique each region and its cuisine and culture truly are. If you are in Naples, you can experience the coffee culture. In Bologne, you can have mortadella and crescentine flatbreads with a glass of wine.
In Milan, it’s all about the risotto.
Risotto alla Milanese is a creamy rice dish that is made with saffron, so it is easy to spot in a restaurant by its bright yellow color. In addition to saffron, it is also made with beef stock, plenty of butter, and a good serving of parmesan. It’s indulgent and delicious and you can usually find it on the menu paired with another local delicacy, ossobuco.
Ossobuco is a veal shank that has been cut so that the marrow of the bone can cook beautifully and be eaten along with the meat. You’ll find this dish all over the Lombardy region.
The other dish you’ll see on menus all over Milan is the Costoletta alla Milanese. This simple dish is one of the oldest in Milan. There are documents mentioning this dish that were written in the 12th century!
The Costoletta alla Milanese is a veal cutlet that has been pounded until thin and tender. It is then coated in breadcrumbs and fried until crispy and still juicy.
What to Know About Eating at Restaurants in Milan Italy
I mention this in all articles about restaurants around Italy in case you have never visited the country before, but there is a cover charge that almost all restaurants in Milan (and all of Italy) charge simply for sitting down at a table.
This is true of all restaurants where you sit for dinner. You may also see this charge if you sit at a table in a bar rather than standing at the bar or if you sit at a table in a cafe rather than taking your coffee and pastry standing along the counter.
This cover charge can range between €2 and €4 depending on the restaurant. It will always include bread and sometimes includes a bottle of still water (mostly because it’s just tap water). It does not include sparkling water, which will likely cost you more than your glass of wine.
You cannot “opt-out” of this by saying you don’t want bread. You must pay this tax. Think of it as part of the tip you pay at a restaurant in Milan.
You may also notice that most restaurants in Milan have lunch hours and dinner hours. It is quite hard to find a sit-down meal between 3pm and 7pm, so plan accordingly.
Take a Food Tour of the Best Restaurants in Milan
While Milan is an incredibly easy city to travel, even if you don’t speak any Italian, sometimes it’s nice to put the decisions into the hands of a local.
There are so many options out there depending on what you are looking for. These are some of our top picks.
- Milan Food and Wine Tasting – This tour is a wonderful combination of food history and tasting incredible dishes. It includes tasting local wine, sampling locally made risotto, trying unpasturized cheese, and then finishing with a 5-course meal. Book that tour here.
- Complete Food Tour – This food tour will allow you to taste 10 different local dishes including both sweet and savory. This is a true introduction to Lombardy cuisine. Book that tour here.
- Italian Traditional Food Tour – This is both a history and food tour that will take you to four different locations where you will learn not only about the foods you are eating but also about the history of the food and its importance to the culture of Milan today. Book that tour here.
Best Places to Eat in Milan Italy
Under the description for each of these awesome restaurants in Milan, you will find a Google location link. This will allow you to see exactly where the restaurant is located and will allow you to pin/favorite the location so that you can access it while you are traveling around Milan yourself.
1. Il Solferino
Il Solferino was one of the first restaurants in Milan that I ever ate at and one I have returned to again on a more recent trip. This restaurant is where to come for local dishes like all of the Lombardy specialties I mentioned above. I particularly love their risotto all Milanese here.
They also have a huge wine selection of wines from this region as well as many other wines from around Italy. The staff couldn’t be friendlier and the quality of the food is exceptional.
They also make one of the best negronis I’ve ever had (except Bar Basso, which I’ll talk about below). If you like cocktails, be sure to ask your waiter. They don’t have a cocktail menu, but they make some fantastic spritzes and cocktails.
Hours: Daily noon-2:30pm and 7pm-10:30pm
For one of the best pizza restaurants in Milan, get yourself to one of the Berberè locations.
They have several branches around the city, but I like the casual vibes of the one by the Milan central train station. The pizzas are all made with fresh sourdough and locally sourced organic ingredients.
Another thing that makes this place great, besides serving incredible pizza, is that they also have an extensive beer selection.
As an avid beer lover, it’s one of the things I struggle with most when I travel around Italy. I would much rather have a beer with my meal (or without a meal for that matter), than a glass of wine.
Berberè is run by people who believe you should wash your pizza down with a cold beer that tastes great. They have a few beers on draft and tons more by the bottle.
Hours: Daily 12:30pm-2pm and 7pm-11:30pm
3. Panini De Santis
For a simple, no-frills panini, De Santis is your place. This cozy little spot has about 5 tables and some counter space to prop while you have your sandwich.
Everything is served on flatbreads that have been toasted with whatever filling you choose. The restaurant has a selection of what seems like 100 different sandwiches. It feels impossible to choose, but whichever you choose will likely be absolutely delicious.
One of my favorites is the Ronny which is made with Proscuitto di Parma, mozzarella, brie, white truffle cream, lemon juice, and black pepper. My mouth is watering just thinking about the truffle cream dripping out onto the plate and mopping it up with the last of my bread.
You can view the entire menu before going to the restaurant and panic-ordering on their website here.
Hours: Daily noon-midnight
4. All’Antico Vinaio
If you have ever been to Florence, then you will likely have heard of this famous sandwich shop. In Florence, you can wait over an hour to get a sandwich at All-Antico Vinaio.
It’s not much different here in Milan. You may wait more like 30-45 minutes for a sandwich which I guess is progress, but it’s still a long time to wait for a sandwich.
If you have no intention of going to Florence and you want to know what all the fuss is about, it is worth the wait (just get in line before you actually get hungry).
The sandwiches are made with a bread that is slightly fluffier than what you get at De Santis and they really pile the meat on. I couldn’t even finish my sandwich when I got one here (which also makes it great value for money as a budget traveler). There are no tables, you have to get it to-go, but the fillings are of such good quality and the sandwich is truly one of the best you’re likely to ever have.
Hours: Daily 10am-10pm
5. Panzerotti Luini
A panzerotto (panzerotti for more than one), is basically like a small calzone. They are usually fried and filled with things that you might find on a pizza like tomato sauce, cheese, and meat.
At Panzerotti Luini, you can try tons of different varieties both fried and baked for about €2.50 each.
If you plan to have them for lunch, then you’ll want to have at least two per person. However, they also have a nice selection of other foods like arancini balls (rice balls with cheese), focaccia, and sweet pastries.
They also have a few vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options on the menu, so it is suitable for budget travelers and groups with lots of different food requirements.
Since they’re so small and it’s located only two blocks away from the Duomo, I think it’s a good spot for a mid-afternoon snack after a day of exploring the museums and sights around the city center.
Hours: Daily 10am-8pm, closed Sundays
6. Marchesi 1824
I think some of the best places to eat in Milan are the bakeries and pastry shops. Marchesi 1824, as you may have guessed from the name, has been around for about 200 years serving up cakes and beautiful (and delicious) pastries.
There are a few locations, but the one that is most fun is the one located inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It’s just about the only thing inside this shopping center that I want to spend my money on (ok, also at the Campari bar).
In addition to cakes and pastries, they also make their own chocolate and chocolate-covered candies. If you are buying souvenirs for anyone, this is where I would be buying mine from.
Hours: Daily 8am-8pm
7. Panettoni Giovanni Cova & C.
One of the best places to eat breakfast in Milan. Panettoni Giovanni Cova & C serve up exceptional coffee and one of the best stuffed croissants you’ll find in Milan.
They have a nice selection of pastries that are mostly a breakfast option here in Italy, so come early if you want to have something to save for later in the day. The pistachio-stuffed croissant is a personal favorite, though I’m partial to anything pistachio-flavored in Italy (gelato, cakes, cookies, etc). The flavor is just so intense and never too sweet.
The croissant itself is so light, so flaky, so buttery. I ate the pistachio croissant with my coffee and I was so in love with the croissant, I bought another to have later that day because when in Milan, right?
This is one of the cafes where you pay slightly more if you want to sit down rather than drinking your coffee at the bar. You pay for your order and then bring the receipt to the barista at the end of the counter to have them make your drink.
Hours: Daily 7am-8pm, closed Sundays
8. Salsamenteria di Parma
For a truly wonderful Italian food experience, I really recommend having a meal at Salsamenteria di Parma.
Salsamenteria is sort of the Italian word for delicatessen, although it’s so much more than that. But you can be sure a restaurant that calls itself a salsamenteria is going to do some fantastic charcuterie boards.
They have delicious panini with locally sourced meats and top-quality proscuitto di Parma. They also have polenta dishes, another local classic of this region of Italy. The polenta is formed into something of a fritter and fried to be eaten alongside your meats and cheeses.
One of the great things about this menu is that they have a picture of a pig and then a list of the different meats they offer so you know exactly what you are eating and what part of the animal is comes from. The food here is truly top-quality and is such a wonderful place to meet up with friends for a long meal of different courses and drinks.
In addition to the incredible meat, cheese, and fried polenta that you can have here with drinks, they also have a full menu of pastas, risotto, and meat dishes like ossobuco.
Hours: Daily noon-3pm and 6:30pm-11pm
9. Bar Basso
Milan restaurants and bars are famous for their aperitivos. This is a ritual that takes place before dinner and is observed by most bars and restaurants around the city.
You show up and order a drink at a slightly higher price than normal. The first drink is usually between €10 and €15 depending on the restaurant, and included in your drink price is access to a large buffet or lots of plates of different foods that are brought to your table.
Bar Basso is one of the most famous spots in the city for aperitivos, but not because of their food. You come to Bar Basso for the negronis (and other cocktails if that’s not your cup of tea). In fact, they now have over 50 cocktails on the menu at Bar Basso.
However, the signature is definitely their Negroni, made with Campari (which is from the Lombardy region), sweet red vermouth, and gin.
Hours: Daily 9am-1:15am, closed Tuesdays
10. Gino Sorbillo
This without a doubt one of the best places to eat Pizza in Milan if you love Naples-style pizza.
Gino Sorbillo is a chef from Naples and wanted to bring his beloved pizza to other parts of Italy. He opened this location in Milan and locals and visitors have been flocking here ever since. You can’t make a reservation, so you may have to wait if you come here on a Friday or Saturday night in particular, but they are eager to get people in and will likely just set up another table for you somewhere in the restaurant.
It’s a very casual pizza place that is constantly abuzz with people and waiters and the smell of light, fluffy dough being cooked to perfection in one of their pizza ovens. They have a huge selection of pizzas and the menu is only in Italian, so be sure to download the Italian dictionary for Google Translate if you don’t speak Italian.
However, there are waiters that speak a bit of English, so you shouldn’t have a problem getting the pizza and drinks that you want. I personally loved their Calabrese pizza which is slightly spicy and made with ‘Nduja sausage. They have several vegetarian pizzas, some with nice local sausage, and even some seafood pizzas on the menu.
The size of the pizza looks quite large, but you should still order one per person because they aren’t quite as filling as they look. The crust is thick but the bottom of the pizza is very light and thin.
Hours: Daily noon-11pm, until 11:30pm Fridays and Saturdays.
Another fantastic place to eat in Milan for breakfast, Gelsomina is a very popular cafe that is a short walk from the Milan train station. I picked up some of the pastries and cakes when I was leaving Milan and wish I had tried it at the start of my most recent trip so I could have gone there every single day.
The pastry that they are most well-known for is their Maritozzo. This is a very fluffy bread-like pastry that is filled with the lightest cream you will ever taste. When you look at the pastry it looks like SO much cream, but when you start eating it, it’s not too sweet, it’s so full of air and joy. It is really one of the most surprising pastries I had in Milan and I will definitely be back to have it again soon.
In addition to delicious pastries, they also have a brunch menu of salads, quiches, and eggs on homemade bread and prosciutto as well as a full lunch menu of different healthy and less healthy things like panini, pasta, scallops, and fried potatoes with rosemary. You can see their whole menu here.
The coffee is also exceptional.
Hours: Daily 8am-6:30pm