Milan Restaurants and Dining
(Milan, Lombardy, Italy)
Milan, Italy is full of wonderful and exciting places to eat out, with a wide choice of every kind of food imaginable. The many stylish locations in Milan and wide variety of superb, mouth-watering menus, often with an emphasis on fish, make Milan dining an enjoyable experience.
Pasta, combined with excellent local produce, such as fresh tomatoes, olive oil and rich Italian cheeses, all combine to create the wonderful and delightful flavours associated with Italy. Whether you are looking for a romantic meal for two or trendy, lively Milan dining, the only problem is deciding where to go as there are so many restaurants in Milan to choose from!
Bars and Cafés
There are plenty of bars and cafés in Milan, whether you are going out for an aperitif, cocktails before dinner or simply for a snack. The choice will vary from area to area and in the popular Brera quarter and the Navigli, the bars usually have tables outside in the summer and it is possible to forget that you are in the busy commercial city of Milan.
Prices vary depending on whether you are seated at a table and being waited upon, or simply standing at the bar - which can be as much as half the price. Typical bar foods in Milan include such treats as panini sandwiches and tramezzini, which are large white bread sandwiches, flattened and toasted and other Italian specialities, such as pizza slices, pasta dishes and tasty salads, often served with Italian cheeses. Also, for breakfast in the city, croissants and cream pastries are popular in most Milan cafés.
Most locals tend to eat lunch (pranzo) at around 13:00 to 14:30 and dinner (cena) from 20:00 onwards, although many Milan restaurants do serve dinner earlier, mainly for tourists. Milan offers a wide range of types of cuisine and alongside traditional Italian cooking you can also find excellent restaurants specialising in Asian, North African and Mexican food.
Both lunch and dinner usually follow the same pattern in traditional Milanese restaurants:
- To start with, an antipasto, or hors d'oeuvres, which may be seafood, olives, crostini (toasts), beef carpaccio, ham or salami is served
- Primo follows, which is either soup, rice, risotto, polenta or pasta
- The main course (secondo) will be fish or meat, either served alone or with vegetables (contoni) or salad (insalata), usually at an extra cost
- To finish with there may be a choice of fruit (frutta), pudding (dolce) a cheese selection (formaggio) or possibly some Italian ice cream
- Finally, coffee is the last course and Italians always drink espresso at the end of the meal
In most restaurants in Milan there will be a menu of some description, which in cheaper establishments may just be simply chalked up or explained by the waiter. You will also find a good menu of some of Italy's finest wines to enjoy with your meal and fixed price meals may include a bottle of wine.
There are many different types of food served in Milan's restaurants, but amongst the most popular are pizzas and pasta. Pizzas can be either eaten in a pizzerie, where large, round, thin pizzas are cooked in traditional wood-burning ovens, or alternatively, you can order pizza by the slice in a 'pizza à taglio' and either eat it at one of the small tables or take it away and enjoy it, whilst admiring the nearby architecture of the city. Other food sold at takeaway outlets in Milan includes a variety of sandwiches, rolls and snack food. Pasta comes in an enormous array of shapes, colours and styles. Served with sauces, including olive oil and garlic, or rich tomato and basil, these pasta meals are simple, but very tasty. Many gnocchi dishes are also usually available and are often served with a meat sauce.
For vegetarians, there are plenty of alternatives in most restaurants in Milan and these usually include wonderful fresh vegetables and cheeses. There are also a few restaurants that specialise in vegetarian cuisine, serving some delicious and tasty meals.
Eating out in Milan is something that should not be rushed and meals tend to range from good to exceptional. Most restaurants in Milan offer standard traditional Italian dishes, some quite regional, although many offer much more besides. Prices are generally very reasonable and a meal is Milan is usually money well spent and very filling.