Polished and sophisticated with an edgy underbelly, Milan has got to be Italy’s most stylish city. Its fashion pedigree goes back centuries and the high standards of the refined Milanese gentleman aren’t just sartorial – they extend to architecture, food, coffee and cocktails.
Calexico Director Nicky and her husband, Jamie, have visited Milano a bunch of times, and they say the uniquely Milanese appreciation for aesthetics and experiences shines through in the sensational eateries, bakeries and bars that pepper its streets, palazzos and roof terraces.
Here are a few of their ‘would highly recommend’ faves if you’re planning a trip to glorious Milano.
Coffee & Breakfast
Do yourself a favour and sit down with a cappuccino and croissant in this tiny place with pink walls. Without a doubt the best croissants in the city!
Marchesi, Via Santa Maria alla Porta 11/a
This Prada-owned bakery is worth a detour for pastries and panettone. While the original branch is our pick, there are a few locations around town – uniformly great.
Bar Luce, Fondazione Prada, Largo Isarco 2
It’s no surprise that Italophile film director Wes Anderson designed this very cool café with interiors inspired by a classic tabaccheria circa 1955. There’s lots of formica, terrazzo and all the good stuff to admire while you sip your cappuccino.
Pavè, Via Felice Casati 27
So many unbelievable cake shops, so little time! Pavè was once awarded the best cafe in Milan and is regularly rated among the 50 best patisseries in Italy, yet the atmosphere here is very relaxed and welcoming.
Lunch & Dinner
As the name suggests, Trattoria Milanese is a classic Milanese restaurant with a wood-panelled dining room and loads of old-world charm. The perfect place to get a taste for the Lombardy region, so to speak.
Langosteria, various locations around town (all *chef’s kiss*)
Seafood fans will find it’s worth the trip to Milan for this restaurant alone. Langosteria and its various incarnations around town are famous for their fresh fish and shellfish dishes. Where else would you find pink and blue lobster? Not to mention monkfish, snapper, baby squids and Galicia octopus.
This cosy former creamery has been open since 1965 and accepts walk-ins only, but it’s 100% worth the wait to eat at one of Chef Arturo and Maria Maggi’s tables. The menu changes daily, with a focus on seasonal vegetables grown locally.
Warm, welcoming trattoria specialising in mouthwatering pasta and meat dishes, plus excellent house wine and dessert.
Da Giacomo, Via Pasquale Sottocorno 6
Recharge from a morning’s sight-seeing at this upscale Milanese trattoria with vibrant graniglia floors and outstanding fish dishes. Conveniently located in the Piazza Duomo, within the Museo del Novecentro.
Grab a table al fresco on the terrace of Garibaldi district’s historic Enel building (also the headquarters of Dsquared2) and soak up the view of swimming pools and greenery while feasting on chef Elio Sironi’s superb creations.
Tuck into Nonna’s authentic Tuscan steaks and pasta paired in a cosy, down-to-earth space. Known for its fussily fresh ingredients.
Ratanà, Via Gaetano de Castillia 28
Fabulous restaurant in a grand castle serving creative interpretations of favourites from the Lombardy region. The philosophy here is all about slow cooking, seasonality and sustainable food culture.
Aperitivo & Cocktails
LùBar, Via Palestro 16
You must go here for a pre-dinner drink because it’s the best vibe and so, so beautiful. Make a dinner booking elsewhere because the drinks are better than the food.
A Milanese institution for aperitivo. Inside or outside, there’s no bad table here among all the flowers and foliage.