Where to find Milan’s best local food scenes is one question you’d ask when going on a culinary adventure in the Italian city. First, about the food. Milan’s culinary tradition has strong ties with the surrounding land and history. Rice, a crucial ingredient in the local cuisine, was imported from Asia by the Viscontis who found that it grew well in the water-rich area. The generous streams meant lush meadows ideal for grazing cattle, eventually producing cheese.

    Cutlets, tripe and Gorgonzola became key elements of the local cuisine. Pork, used to make traditional cassoeula stew has been produced here since the Celts. The level grounds, once covered with oak forests, produced the acorns that were used to feed the pigs. Discover the Milanese specialities that make good use of such ingredients through these best local restaurants in Milan.

    1

    Premiata Trattoria Arlati

    Dine where the legendary Lucio Battisti used to sing

    • Food

    Premiata Trattoria Arlati is a go-to if you’re looking for somewhere to dine with a rich history in Milan. Delights include cured ham from Parma with buffalo mozzarella and a Milanese style pate with croutons. Besides offering a varied menu with delicious local dishes, it pleases your eyes and ears too. The trattoria was a gathering place for artists and musicians back in the 70s.

    The walls are covered in vintage paintings and photographs, while the lower floor hosts live concerts for emerging artists. Legendary Italian singer Lucio Battisti used to sing here, as have pop-rock band Formula 3, Loredana Bertè, and Renato Zero. The tavern served Pirelli workers and factory operators in Biccocca and was thus bolstered somewhat to become the lively music rendezvous it is today.

    Location: Via Alberto Nota, 47, 20126 Milan, Italy

    Open: Monday–Friday from noon to 2.15 pm and 7.30 pm to 11 pm, Saturday from 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm

    Phone: +39 02 643 3327

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    2

    Al Garghet

    Experience Milanese fine dining

    • Food

    Al Garghet is a restaurant in Milan whose authenticity and tradition are evident as soon as you sit down and look at the handwritten menu. The highly sophisticated interior is split into several rooms, each with different furniture and features but all arranged with the same care and attention. In summer, you can dine in the garden surrounded by flowers.

    Here you can feast on genuine homemade pasta and desserts. The menu is seasonal, ensuring fresh and natural ingredients are used. The house special is Milanese breaded veal cutlets (cotoletta) that's as thick as its bone and cooked in butter. The restaurant is set in a leafy, out-of-the-way setting south of the city.

    Location: Via Selvanesco, 36, 20141 Milan, Italy

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 7.15 pm to 10.15 pm, Sunday from 12.15 pm to 2 pm and 7.15 pm to 10.15 pm

    Phone: +39 02 534 698

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    3

    Osteria La Piola

    Traditional Milanese flavours in a youthful setting

    • Food

    Osteria La Piola at Casa Famiglia PIOLA is a typical Milanese trattoria with straw chairs and red-and-white chequered tablecloths. The cuisine is also traditional, with recipes passed down through generations. Specialities include risotto with cross-cut veal shanks (risotto con ossobuco) and pears and gorgonzola (pere e gorgonzola).

    The menu also includes a crispy rice pancake called riso al salto, which is a Lombardy recipe invented to use up leftover saffron risotto. This dish now features on restaurant menus, with flavours that transport you to times gone by. You can find Osteria La Piola in the Città Studi area. Despite its traditional ambience, it's managed by a group of young people who've created a cheerful and lively atmosphere. The desserts are also prepared on-site, including a must-try, thoroughly homemade tiramisu.

    Location: Viale Abruzzi, 23, 20129 Milan, Italy

    Open: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 7.30 pm to 11.45 pm, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 11.45 pm (closed on Wednesdays)

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    4

    Osteria Conchetta

    Discover the flavours of Lombardy

    • Food

    Osteria Conchetta is one of the best places in Milan to try classic Milanese risotto. Here, the rice is mixed to a creamy consistency with crunchy onions. The Lombardy countryside itself has been home to rice paddies since the 15th century. Growing rice was so common, laws were introduced to impose a minimum distance between rice fields and populated areas.

    Other local dishes are also available under the mains. For dessert, there's zabaione made from egg yolks, sugar, and sweet wine. Another excellent way to round off your meal is with a traditional pudding. You can find this local Milanese restaurant near the Pavese Canal. The atmosphere's both rustic and refined with exposed brickwork, and wine bottles making up an integral part of the furnishings.

    Location: Via Conchetta, 8, 20136 Milan, Italy

    Open: Daily from 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm and 7.30 pm to 11 pm

    Phone: +39 02 837 2917

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    5

    Trattoria Madonnina

    Eat like in the good old days

    • Food

    Trattoria Madonnina is a unique restaurant in Milan that seems to have frozen in time when you'd visit the osteria to discuss politics or a Mazzola goal. From the outside, you could easily mistake it for an antique shop, with its window full of vintage miscellanea. But go in and join the queue, and you'll realise it's a quality eatery.

    It’s a stone's throw from Naviglio Pavese, in an unpretentious and down-to-earth part of Milan. Here you can taste risotto allo zafferano or saffron risotto as well as delights like gnocchi with gorgonzola cheese and cutlets. The dishes, like the restaurant's aesthetic, hark back to Milan's good old days yet they never grow old.

    Location: Via Gentilino, 6, 20136 Milano MI, Italy

    Open: Monday–Tuesday from noon to 2.30 pm, Wednesday–Saturday from noon to 2.30 pm and 8 pm to 10.30 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +39 02 8940 9089

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    6

    El Brellin

    Where tradition meets elegance

    • Food

    Head to El Brellin on the Alzaia Naviglio Grande canal for a classy evening in Milan's nightlife district. The welcoming interior includes several rooms with exposed beams in the ceilings. The warm yellow walls and tablecloths match the risotto with parmesan and saffron.

    The menu includes traditional classics like cross-cut veal shank with risotto or cassoeula which is a local highlight prepared with savoy cabbage and mixed with pork cuts. It's a well-known local classic that has many variations and is a must-try during your trip to Milan.

    Location: Vicolo dei Lavandai, Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 14, 20144 Milan, Italy

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 7.30 pm to 1 am, Friday from 7.30 pm to 2 am, Saturday from 12.30 pm to 2 am, Sunday from 12.30 pm to midnight

    Phone: +39 02 5810 1351

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    7

    El Barbapedana

    In the footsteps of storytellers

    • Food

    El Barbapedana's traditional roots is reflected in its name, inspired by the legendary Milanese storyteller who went from osteria to osteria entertaining customers with popular songs and nursery rhymes. The figure’s been lost and forgotten, but this restaurant near Porta Genova has sought to recreate the atmosphere of this bygone era, with wooden furniture and cuisine based on regional flavours.

    The menu has a wide range of risottos, from classics with sausage and bonarda or douce noir wine to more creative options with berries and taleggio cheese. Under the mains there’s the rustin negaa, made with veal loin chops browned in butter and pancetta, then slowly cooked in stock on low heat. To experience its full flavour, it’s best paired with a full-bodied wine.

    Location: Corso Cristoforo Colombo, 7, 20144 Milan, Italy

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm and 7.30 pm to 11 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +39 02 832 1732

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    8

    Antica Trattoria della Pesa

    A historic restaurant near the city gates

    • Food
    • History

    Antica Trattoria della Pesa is one of Milan’s oldest restaurants. In the 19th century, the site was home to a weighbridge for goods entering the city. On your way to the restaurant, you'll notice the nearby buildings of Milan’s Porta Garibaldi city gate. This was the entrance to the city centre, so you can imagine how bustling it used to be with vehicles carrying wares.

    The restaurant's decor seeks to preserve the ambience of those times. Traditional Milanese cuisine on offer include involtini di verza cabbage roll), rognone trifolato kidney cooked in olive oil, parsley and garlic, and foiolo which is a Milanese style tripe. If you just want a bite to unwind, next door is Piccolo della Pesa, perfect for an aperitif or a glass of good wine.

    Location: Viale Pasubio, 10, 20154 Milan, Italy

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm and 7.30 pm to 11 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +39 02 655 5741

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    photo by LucaChp (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    9

    Trattoria da Tomaso

    An anchor in a changing city

    Trattoria da Tomaso is a Lombardian restaurant in Milan that has stuck to its traditional origins, set against a backdrop of buildings in the Isola district near Porta Garibaldi station. It's a restaurant that stays open until the pot's empty. If you like home-cooked food from an ‘all-inclusive’ menu, you can try excellent but inexpensive dishes here.

    This family-run restaurant has an informal vibe, with tables that can seat larger groups. The flavours and atmosphere are reminiscent of a Milan of old, maintaining an irresistible charm even as the surrounding city becomes covered in glass and steel.

    Location: Via Gaetano de Castillia, 20, 20124 Milano MI, Italy

    Open: Monday–Friday from noon to 2 pm (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

    Phone: +39 02 668 8023

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    10

    Osteria dell’Acquabella

    A glimpse beyond Milan

    • Food

    Take a seat in Osteria dell’Acquabella if you'd like to try some local cuisine but are also tempted by flavours from other parts of Lombardy. Here you can order osso buco veal stew, cutlets and risotto with parmesan and saffron, tagliatelle with greens and cubed potatoes, as well as raspadura, a Lodi speciality made by manually flaking grana cheese. Finish off with a slice of sbrisolona or crunchy Mantuan tart.

    The osteria is just a stone's throw from Porta Romana and offers a real culinary journey through the flavours of Lombardy. The restaurant opened in the 1970s for local factory workers. The owners' children continued with the family tradition, reviving the atmosphere and flavours of their childhood.

    Location: Via S. Rocco, 11, 20135 Milan, Italy

    Open: Monday–Saturday from noon to 2.30 pm and 7.30 pm to 11.30 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +39 02 5830 9653

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