Milan is a great city for sampling traditional Italian food with many local specialties. Be sure to ask your Milan transfer driver where to find these dishes.
Food is an integral part of any holiday and a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture. This is particularly true with Italian food and the great city of Milan, which is famed for its culinary specialties and traditional restaurants. These are the dishes that I recommend trying for an authentic Milanese experience.
Chances are you’ve had a simple Minestrone soup before, but it’s something else in Milan. In addition to the basic vegetables like beans, potatoes and onions, many places improve the recipe by adding minced lard and rice. This adds a creamy thickness to the soup. If you’d like to sample the soup, my restaurant recommendation is Refettorio Simplicitas, which is a quiet eatery right in the heart of the city.
Cassouela is a hearty dish of pork and Savvoy cabbage. It is not everybody’s favourite as it makes use of the feet, tail and nose, but meat lovers are sure to love its distinctive taste. Manna Ristorante is my preferred place to try this dish. The cooks roast the cuts for added flavour and add a splash of vinegar to help cut through the fat.
Risotto alla Milanese
The saffron-infused golden hue makes the Risotto alla Milanese a tantalising dish to look at, but it is the creamy consistency and rich flavours that make this the pride of the city. Risotto alla Milanese is served everywhere, but Ratanà is heralded as the best place for it. The chef here is known as “The King of Risotto”! Simple yet luxurious, this dish will leave you feeling very content – be sure to accompany it with a glass of red.
Those with a sweet tooth will be in their element in Milan. Panettone is a sweet bread that is mass-produced around the world so you might have tried it before, but it does not compare to the authentic Milanese version. Panettone, a simple recipe of eggs, butter, sugar, raisins and candied fruit, has a light and fluffy texture, which makes it great for picking at. Unquestionably, the best place to buy it is Pasticceria Martesana, a pastry shop that serves some of the best Panettone in Italy.
It is not just Italian food that you need to sample – the locals also know how to make a great cocktail. Legend has it that a Negroni Sbagliato resulted from a busy bartender accidentally mixing a Negroni (gin, Campari and red vermouth) with Prosecco instead of gin. Over the years, mixologists have taken inspiration from this, creating many variants all over town. I recommend going to the birthplace of the drink, though: Bar Basso.
How to Get There
You have a few options for getting to Milan, but I would suggest flying from London into Malpensa (MXP). There are 104 flights made a week, taking just under two hours. The airport is approximately 50km outside of the city, so pre-book a Shuttle Direct transfer and one of our drivers will be waiting at the airport for you. The drive takes around 50 minutes, so sit back, relax and think about what Italian food you’d like to try first.