Carlo Passera

For much of his career, the editor-in-chief of Italian food magazine Identità Golose covered politics professionally and dabbled in food on the side. Nowadays, Passera does exactly the opposite which makes him very, very happy. While the magazine’s scope is global, our man’s recommendations are for the thriving metropolis of Milan.

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Modernising Tradition

When industry friends visit, I want to take them to places that express Milanese tradition, but at the same time are contemporary. Don’t forget, Milan is the city of design. Ratanà is a modern trattoria where you can eat the best classic dishes of North-Italian cuisine, very different from the Mediterranean-style found in the south of Italy. Trippa is a new format of trattoria, and a very successful one. This is where you’ll find some of the best chefs and food journalists eating in their spare time. Daniel Restaurant offers classic, modern cuisine by chef Daniel Canzian, the last pupil of the great Gualtiero Marchesi, the father of modern Italian cuisine.

A Sitting With Milan’s Queen Of Wine

I have a very special place in my heart for Al Pont de Ferr, a restaurant in the Navigli area. The owner is Maida Mercuri, also known as the queen of wine of Milan. Maida has collected great bottles throughout the years – she started in the early 80s – and here you can taste a selection of fantastic wines while eating good food.

Cooking With Italy’s Best Ingredients

Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia is a special place that for decades has been serving excellent cuisine thanks to its continuous selection of the best products from all over the country. The owner and previous chef, Aimo Moroni came to Milan at the end of the Second World War, and opened the restaurant in 1962, starting a history of great gastronomic success. Nowadays, the kitchen is in the hands of young chefs Alessandro Negrini and Fabio Pisani who express the richness and the variety of Italian tastes, but in a modern, sensational way.

Elegant, Fine Dining

We’ve been waiting a long time to have a three Michelin-starred restaurant again here in Lombardy, however, the city still has a very large haute cuisine scene. For visitors interested in experiencing this kind of food in amazing locations, I would suggest the following. Cracco in Galleria is located in the amazing Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, in the city center, next to the Duomo Cathedral. The chef, Carlo Cracco, is one of the most popular chefs of Italy. Enrico Bartolini al Mudec is located inside the Mundec Museum of Cultures, a completely renewed monument of industrial archeology, close to the famous Navigli area. The chef, Enrico Bartolini, is the most starred in Italy. He directs a lot of restaurants around the country, but in my opinion, this one is the greatest.

Cocktails With A View

I love to go to Ceresio 7, a great rooftop cocktail bar and restaurant. There you can enjoy one of the best views of the city. This place is a very fashionable and fancy one, but I can assure you that the cocktails are the best in Milan.

New Interpretations of Italian Cooking

A recent opening in Milan which is very interesting is Restaurant Serica, an original fusion of Italian and Chinese fusion cuisine that’s unique, but very delicious. Contraste is located in the Bocconi University area, close to the city center, and the chef is Uruguayan, Matias Perdomo. He makes a great combination of Italian products with an international view.

Where I Go To Celebrate

For special occasions, my favourite place to go is Osteria Francescana in Modena, Emilia Romagna, about 90 minutes by car from the city. As you know, it has been voted as the best restaurant in the world by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

A Fine Dining Getaway

I love Casadonna Reale in Abruzzo. Chef Niko Romito has an essential but highly creative idea of cuisine, and the place is wonderful: an ancient monastery far from everywhere. You can also sleep there, and the atmosphere is magic.

Where Vegetables Are The Star

At Piazza Duomo in Piedmont, chef Enrico Crippa makes an elegant cuisine based on extraordinary vegetables. I strongly recommend visiting during white truffle season.

The World’s Youngest Three-Starred Chef

When Restaurant Le Calandre in Veneto was awarded its third Michelin star in 2002, Massimiliano Alajmo – who was aged 28 at the time – was the youngest three-starred chef in the world. His magical touch has only continued to grow and he brings new ideas and empowering creativity to his dishes.

The Future Of Italian Dining

In a few words: Chef Riccardo Camanini is a genius. Lido 84 on Garda Lake in Lombardy is the one restaurant that will grow into the future of Italian dining, and the view from the lake while eating is poetic.

New-Wave Pizza

Italy is experiencing a new wave of “pizza gourmets” throughout the country.  Two of my favourite restaurants that are great examples of this are Pepe in Grani in Campania and Restaurant I Tigli from Simone Padoan in Veneto.

Guide last updated August 2019

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