Paolo Marchi

Once upon a time, Paolo Marchi was a journalist in Milan that wrote about sport and, on occasion, food and wine. Then in 2004, he came up with the idea to organise Identità Golose, Italy’s first congress dedicated to food and pastry. It was a success and was followed by additional congresses in London and New York, restaurant guides and the influential food and wine magazine of the same name. He is proudly Milanese and passionate about showing others where to find the true tastes of his city.

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Welcome To Milan

Milan is the most cosmopolitan city in Italy and a long way from the stereotypes of classic tourist cities such as Venice, Florence and Rome. The Milanese – and I’m one of them – think that people in Milan are the only people in Italy that work day and night. That’s probably where that annoying superiority attitude comes from. On the brighter side, the typical Milanese is a curious being and ready to jump on new trends. Although attached to the city’s gastronomic traditions, the Milanese want to be taken by surprise: so much so that it’s easier to find sushi than risotto. After Expo 2015, pizza took over Milan, and not just Neapolitan-style. For those of you that have the patience to keep reading, a couple of caveats: Milan is the land of the aperitivo (aperitif) but it is not a ritual I love, so I’m not the person to ask for suggestions on the best one in town. You won’t find suggestions for a decent Japanese or good Chinese restaurant, either. To me, the people that visit Milan, first and foremost, want to eat Milanese food – meneghino as we call it – as well as Italian cuisine. This will be my thread.

The Best Cotoletta in Town

Watch out for the letter s. If you read costoletta on the menu, your steak will have a bone attached to it. Without the s, it becomes cotoletta (cutlet) – without the bone – and your dish could be pork or chicken. You’ll find the best – veal, of course – at the Trattoria del Nuovo Macello in via Lombroso, prepared by chef Giovanni Traversone. The cotoletta here is thick, pink in the middle and is served on the bone. Some advice: pre-ordering the costoletta in advance is essential.

Pizza: The City’s New-Found Passion

Milan developed a passion for pizza when the master bakers arrived in town. From those first seeds, beautiful novelties such as Crosta, flowered. Pizzaiolo Simone Lombardi tends the oven while Giovanni Mineo is in charge of the bread. Round pizzas are only available in the evening. During the day, Crosta serves breads, cakes, pastries and square-cut pizza at lunchtime.

Cesare Battisti, Milan’s King of Risotto

Cesare Battisti is the chef-patron of Ratanà at the foot of the Bosco Verticale residential towers and surround by lush greenery. He specialises in contemporary Milanese cuisine and his menu features plenty of meat, freshwater fish and prime quality risotto: not just saffron risotto with ossobuco, but lots of different styles and varieties.

Meat And Potatoes, Milanese-Style

In the last few years, steakhouses are opening across Milan one after the other. The best is La Griglia di Varrone. Owners Massimo Minutelli and Tony Melillooffer diners a variety of beef cuts served raw or grilled, plus salumi and charcuterie. A single side dish – mashed potatoes – is offered in more than 10 variations.

A Bakery That Delights From Sunrise To Sunset

At Pavè, pastry chef Giovanni Giberti enchants customers from early morning to late evening with extraordinary croissants, incredible single-serve cakes and cooked dishes for lunch. His brioche 160 – a pastry filled with apricot jam – is not to be missed.

The Next Chapter Of A Local Institution

Following the retirement of original owners Aimo and Nadia Moroni, the legend of Luogo di Aimo e Nadia continues with Fabio Pisani and Alessandro Negriniin from the kitchen. The restaurant’s new direction features less Tuscan flavour and more diverse Italian influences. The spring onion spaghetti is an eternal masterpiece.

A New Direction For A Seafood Favourite

The star of chef Viviana Varese is shining brighter than ever following the transformation of Ristorante Alice – her seafood restaurant inside Eataly Milan that that overlooks Piazza XXV Aprile – into Viva. The restaurant still serves very good fish, but the menu now includes more outstanding vegetable-based options and diners are very happy with the change.

Refinement And Rare Elegance

Carlo Cracco, a prodigy of Italian fine dining, has treated himself to a luxurious lounge in the centre of Milan at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Cracco in Galleria is home to four storeys of goodies where everything is refined and of rare elegance: from the wine bar to the patisserie, from the bistro to the fine dining restaurant.

Compare And Contraste

At Contraste, Uruguayan chef Matias Perdomo serves clever, playful tasting menus that sidestep the rigid conformities of Italian cuisine. His food is constantly surprising and free of meaningless elements.

Diego Rossi and The Trippa Phenomenon

In Italy a new, more contemporary concept of trattoria is growing: one that refuses to repeat the same classic dishes without any critical thinking. The best representative of this new movement – new because in Italy tradition is almost everything – is Diego Rossi and his restaurant Trippa, in the Porta Romana area. Offal might be the star of the menu, but he also serves the best ever vitello tonnato (poached veal in tuna sauce).

Food Meets Fashion

On the roof of an old warehouse, chef Elio Sironi and his four business partners Guglielmo Miriello, Marco Civitelli, Edoardo Grassi and Luca Pardini, created Ceresio 7: a multifaceted reality with a swimming pool and a window into the magical world of fashion. You can enjoy an outstanding meal here, but most of the clientele don’t come here for the food.

Milan’s First Three-Star In Almost Three Decades

Enrico Bartolini is a Michelin Guide record-holder in Italy. Five of his restaurants are featured in the prestigious guide and his restaurants have a total of eight Michelin stars. Enrico Bartolini al Mudec – his restaurant at the World Culture Museum on Via Tortona – was just awarded its third Michelin star. Milan hasn’t had a three Michelin-starred restaurant since Gualtiero Marchesi closed his restaurant in 1992.

Guide last updated November 2019

Our guides are fact-checked and updated every three months. Read more here.

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