Like any Italian city, Milan is chock full of restaurants, bistros, trattorias and establishments going by any number of labels but which serve food of vastly differing quality. Here are selections of my favourites which are among the best, although any further recommendations are welcome.
Il luogo di Aimo e Nadi
This place matches an ultra-modern setting with a fresh and innovative menu. The atmosphere can be rather clinical because of this although the staff are very friendly and the food delicious. This is a restaurant to try if you want to get away from the twee, faux rustic ambience in so many Italian restaurants and try food that builds on Italian traditions but isn’t in thrall to them. It is located a little outside the city centre at 6 via Montecuccoli, the owners recommend taking a taxi but the restaurant is a short walk from the Primaticcio stop on the metro’s red line. Il luogo di Aimo e Nadia is closed on Saturday lunchtimes and on Sundays.
Mom Cafe is both a bar and a restaurant so if great for those later evening meals. The decor, while still modern, is warmer than the luogo above. In summer especially the Mom Cafe has a great atmosphere, although many of the local patrons prefer to take their drinks outside so it doesn’t get too loud and raucous while you are eating inside. The cafe is located at Viale Monte Nero 51, is open until 2 a.m. and is closed on Sundays.
For more classical Milanese dishes, although the menu also ranges across the Mediterranean region, try La Rondine at via Spartacus 11. The simple and youthful atmosphere here is aided by its location in the most fashion conscious areas of this fashion loving city. The restaurant is small and can therefore get quite crowded but no one seems to mind too much, although booking is recommended. Italian friends tell me that the waiters in La Rondine are excellent at recommending new dishes that are not on the menu and their taste is usually exquisite so feel free to experiment.
Tano passami l’olio
One of the most interesting restaurants in Milan is Tano passami l’olio, which manages to combine a minor elegance bordering on pretension with quiet modesty. The main attraction here is the selection of over 40 different types of extra virgin olive oil, which explains the original name. The menu is modern, sumptuous and quite extensive, with all the delicious flavours brought out by the oils. The owner and head chef is a great believer in pairing the right oil with the right dish, and the selection of wines is also good. The restaurant is quite small and it is also quite a way from the centre, so you should call ahead to avoid disappointment.
Photo of bottles of wine by Adnan Yahya.