Let’s face it, the food and drink is the real reason I went to Milan. Everyone kept telling me I’d love Italy for this reason most. And I can tell you, they were right. The food during our trip was SO GOOD. As was the coffee, Aperol and vino. Yep, we pretty much aced almost every food and drink decision we made. We tried some fab spots! Here’s a roundup of where we tried and what we thought..
This was our first food stop in Milan. My first ever proper Italian food. We stumbled across Sgroi Bistro whilst wandering to find another spot which caught our eye on Google Maps. We were hungry for something savoury after just arriving, yet wanted something in the nearby area, and were so happy we walked down that way.
You could tell the bistro was authentic, by the fact that as you entered hardly a word of English was spoken. Chris took charge, and ordered us two pizza topped Foccacia-style bread. Both were margarita, with fresh and rich tomato sauce, and it wasn’t overloaded with cheese. It was absolutely delicious! They came to just €5.15 or £4.60. So cheap for a light lunch!
This is THE spot for breakfast. It’s a little touristy and VERY busy but worth the short wait – we only waited 15mins for a table for two on a sunday.
Pave is an espresso bar not far from the central station. It serves coffee, freshly baked pastries and breads (moving into sandwiches, salads, soups and cakes for later in the day). Its pretty minimalist, with natural colours and wooden furniture inside what feels like a converted warehouse. Pave has an open kitchen so you can see the food being prepared. The smells fill the bar. The service is pretty good too – on occasion slow, but friendly enough, even for someone who knows little Italian.
The coffee was fab. Really smooth, and genuinely delightful. We both had large lattes and I only wish they were bigger because I didn’t want it to stop.
As for the food well…
The pastry itself was super buttery and so tasty! I actually understood for the first time why people enjoy pastries so much for breakfast. They were flaky, yet softer inside. Absolutely amazing. The ham & cheese one didn’t hang about long with Chris. He said the cheese was nice and mild, making it delicious. The ‘La Rossa’ croissant, a special, with 100% raspberry jam and raspberry streusel on top, is what changed my mind on turning down pastry in future. It had plenty of jam in the middle, and the dried raspberries on top added extra sweetness and just something a little different.
The winner of the show though was the Tonka Toast. Toasted strawberry and Tonka panettone, served with tonka flavoured mascarpone, it was dreamy. The toasted panettone was lightly toasted, super soft, almost like brioche. It was delicious by itself. But with the creamy, vanilla mascarpone, it was even better. You HAVE to try this!
The orange juice was fab too. Very fresh and zesty. Loved it.
Altogether we spent €24.70 (approx (£22) on all of this which isn’t too bad when you consider how much we ordered!
Cantine Isola is a 120-year-old wine bar. It’s in the heart of Chinatown which is a little odd, but still nice to sit outside in the cute little spot they have. Inside the walls are filled with bottles of all price ranges. It’s definitely a sight to be seen.
The team behind the counter were super friendly and chose a glass of vino for us based on our preferences. We got to taste before they poured a full glass, and we enjoyed outside on the wooden veranda along with a few of the nibbles from the bar – these come free with the wine! Aperitivo I’m told. At €12.40 (roughly £11) it’s quite pricey for a glass of wine in Italy, but worth the experience and service, and it is a lovely spot to relax in.
Miscusi is, simply put, a pasta restaurant. There are a few in Milan, but having not heard of it overseas, we didn’t want to let that put us off as reviews looked good.
The menu allows you to choose your type of pasta, sauce and if you’d like to add anything atop. There are a few sides too. Drinks-wise it’s pretty limited but all reasonably priced.
The house white was delicious and very easy drinking. We ordered a 500ml carafe, followed by another 500ml because it really was good.
The Burrata was incredible. Super creamy, and fantastic with the fresh basil, and semi-dried cherry tomatoes. A fab starter which cannot be missed.
As for the pasta, they did turn up just warm, but I thought perhaps we overcook our dishes at home as I like everything piping hot. They were still tasty! The cacio e pepe which we had on tagliatelle was superb. It was strong from the pecorino, almost a little creamy (even though there wasn’t a sauce as such), and was absolutely dreamy in flavour. A classic Italian dish, we loved this. The Pesto Genovese was almost just as tasty – again, a fab flavour and plenty of pine nuts.
The service was a little hit and miss, but nothing which couldn’t be ignored. The bill (sharing starter, two pasta dishes and 1l white wine) came to €43.50 (roughly £38.70) which is great. We would go back if we were there for an extended period of time for sure!
This place was insane! Ok, there are queues. Be prepared for those. And yes, it’s filled with tourists. Us being some of them the weekend we travelled. But it’s worth the visit. Honestly.
Cioccolatitaliani is said to be the first Italian format completely dedicated to the world of chocolate. Cioccolatitaliani meaning “chocology”, they aim to mix the best chocolate in the world with gelato, pastry and coffee.
The menu in the Cioccolatitaliani we visited offered signature cones (different gelato flavour pairings), Revolution cones (crazy versions, huge waffle cones with sweet treats included too like chocolate cake or caramel brittle) as well as crepes in a cone (never seen this before in my life). They obviously did do gelato by the scoop too, but how can you just choose that when you have THAT menu..
We were mesmerised by the chocolate fountains along the back of the gelato bar, and the gelato artists who were twirling the gelato to ensure it was perfectly wrapped around for the neatest dollop atop each cone.
I went for the Happy Cone, a signature cone with milky cream ice cream and Nutella, caramel and milk chocolate, all atop a chocolate dipped wafer cone. The gelato artist (ok, I’m calling them this myself because wow the skills), spotted me taking videos and snaps, so popped a chocolate filled mini cone on top too. It was insane. I even had a touch of cream.. because well hols and all. The gelato was great quality. It looked amazing but tasted even better. And that chocolate. It was beautiful. The dark rich yet not too much so, and extremely smooth. Loved having Nutella in there too. The dream gelato!
Chris had the Happiness Revolution cone – think there’s a theme going on here. His huge waffle cone was filled with milky cream gelato with nutella, milk chocolate gelato, caramel brittle, cream and a miniature cone filled with chocolate too. It looked crazy. Crazy good. He was seriously impressed by he gelato too. The caramel brittle was delicious. His waffle cone was crisp and stayed so. And he loved the mini cone too – that chocolate really was something.
We were really impressed and would highly recommend. It was €4.50 for the signature cone and €7.50 for the revolution cone, so a little more expensive than we’d usually pay for gelato, but it’s worth the experience!
We actually stumbled across this little gelato spot, hungry and in need of caffeine. Lucky for us, Terra did both gelato and coffee.
They had quite the range of gelato including a few different nutty options which are my fave, as well as sorbets. Service was pretty friendly and efficient too.
The pistachio was divine. The hazelnut was fab too. And the salted caramel might have almost topped them. Really good quality gelato, so much flavour and so creamy.
We did go for a cappuccino even though it was the afternoon. I know, against the Italian way right?! But we needed that caffeine because the heat was making us sleepy. Great coffee here too. So smooth and a great froth.
We spent €9.60 (about (£8.50) which is really good for two medium, great quality gelato (two flavours each) and two cappuccinos. Definitely worth a visit if you’re nearby.
This spot was a recommendation from our Airbnb host so we had to give it a whirl. He said it wasn’t too tourist-y and did great authentic food – so we took his word for it, being an italian himself.
L’Italiano did feel a tad more chain-restaurant-like, with a gastropub vibe. The menu features pizza, pasta and burgers (which felt weird to have on an authentic menu but still). Having had pasta the night before, we knew it was a pizza night and so we both opted for one of the pizza options.
I had the Pizza integrale Dell’Italiano with Fior di latte cheese, tomato, baked eggplant, basil, olives and pecorino romano cheese. SO tasty (especially with a little chilli oil) but it didn’t quite beat Chris’ Calabrese with tomatoes, Fior di latte cheese, Italian sausage and porcini mushrooms. That had lots of flavour and topped mine by a mile!
We had to have Aperol too, because when in Italy… and they were made well too. We also tried a beer on tap, which was refreshing and delicious too.
Service was really friendly and efficient, even when it got busier towards the end of us dining. We paid €43 (roughly £38), which we thought was reasonable for two pains and four drinks, but perhaps a little more expensive than other spots.
I fell in love with Italian food! Definitely eat as much as possible – go with someone who will share so you can taste more, that’s always key! But try as many places as possible across the days you’re there. Even for coffee, pastry and gelato we always tried to go somewhere new and it was the best idea! If I had to pick ONE thing you should try, for food it’s the gelato from Cioccolatitaliani and for a drink, you HAVE to visit Cantine Isola for the experience.
Have you been to Italy? Where’s the best spot for food?