Milan Best Eats

A Food Journey during the Milan Design Week (Apr 2013)

This is taken at the balcony of Cerva 16 apartments, a service apartment we leased for a week during the design week. What's best about it is it is within 5 mins walking distance to all the wonderful shops at Via Monte Napoleone. This is taken at the balcony of Cerva 16 apartments, a service apartment we leased for a week during the design week. What’s best about it is it is within 5 mins walking distance to all the wonderful shops at Via Monte Napoleone.

I personally prefer Paris to Milan as a city but it has some nice lovely restaurants which I need to share with fellow Italian food lovers. Y didn’t do much shopping in her trip here time time, cos’ she decided to “hang” her wallet after the Paris leg over the weekend just before Milan. This was more a time to relax, eat, and check out all the design events that was happening around town. Here’s my run down of Milan best eats.

EATS

1. THE SMALL
Via Paganini Niccolo 3, Tel: 02 20240943

This is like walking into someone’s home and having them fuss over you, making you feel at home to make sure you enjoy their food and their company. It was definitely a funny, strange but great experience coming to this place late night after Y and I arrived from Paris to meet R. Even the fellow diners were so friendly, they were telling us what to order and try. Wouldn’t mind coming back to this place in future when we are feeling less tired, as Y was running a fever when we came here.

Owner - Alessandro, very quirky, fun, friendly, very passionate and makes you feel so at home. Great service and attitude, almost hard to find in city of Milan. Owner – Alessandro, very quirky, fun, friendly, very passionate and makes you feel so at home. Great service and attitude, almost hard
to find in city of Milan.

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The tiny restaurant has a lot of interesting artefacts and displays ranging from Barbies to teacup sets to Gollum. Very eclectic indeed.

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The food here was simple and hearty – it’s what you would imagine eating going to some Italian Mama’s home in the South. We had a lovely tomato soup, and a Burrata cheese dish that we shared. We were so tired that we didn’t have much energy to eat further, but Alessandro wanted to give us a dessert on the house, which we couldn’t refuse.

2. DA GIACOMOVia P Sottocorno 6, Tel: 02 7602 3313

This original location fashioned in a typical trattoria style has a laid back vibe and was so busy when we got there. It serves great seafood which you see displayed as you go in, and they have a dessert trolley for you to choose your choice of desserts if you are still game for something sweet at the end of the meal.

Grilled lobster with lots and lots of vegetables and tomatoes.. my kind of food! Grilled lobster with lots and lots of vegetables and tomatoes.. my kind of food!

They also have a more formal branch called Giacomo Arengario in the Duomo square, which is very “chi chi” with more upscale modern interiors. We tried going back there for a drink later in the week but it was booked out because of all the design events happening.

3. ALLA CUCINA DELLE LANGHE
Corso Como, 6, Tel: 02 6554279

We read that this is Tom Ford’s favourite place to dine in during Fashion Week especially, so of course we had to check it out. A rather traditional large restaurant located just near the famous Corso Como store. The most memorable dish here has to be the Barolo Rice. Really worth the carbos!

Barolo rice
Barolo rice

4. DA PEPPINO
Via Durini, 7, Tel: 02 781729
This is a great find on Y’s part with her google search skills. It’s located along the street with all the design shops, very near THE shopping haven like Via Monte Napolene. It’s a great lunch spot and they have nice wonderful grilled seafood.

Yumsss.. grilled prawns with zucchini tempura. Lovely!
Yumsss.. grilled prawns with zucchini tempura. Lovely!

5. SOLFERINO
Via Castelfidardo 2, Tel: 02 2900 5748

We met up with R’s friends from Holland, a lovely couple – Jurien and Hortense, for a meal at Solferino. We ordered quite a few things to share. Y of course wanted to try both the risotto and the bottarga pasta amongst many other things. We also had an interesting anchovy salad dish, surprisingly refreshing and wasn’t as salty as I had imagined. (see pics below)

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6. AIMO E NADIA
Via Privata Raimondo Montecuccoli, 6 Tel: 02 416886

The entrance to the restaurant somehow was a little nondescript, we took the taxi driver on a merry go round, insisting the restaurant was somewhere else. Anyway once we were inside, had to say the decor was really strange, it just looked like a throwback in a bad way to some super 80 or 90s bad decor. However, the food more than made up for it. Y had researched this restaurant and it was covered on a few foodie blogs also as it’s a “reliable” Michelin star rated restaurant. Why I say reliable, is sometimes we can’t blindly go to any Michelin star rated place, as they are sometimes not even that great in terms of the quality and cuisine, just very overhyped. The sommelier recommended us a lovely wine to go with our degustation menu, which was rather seafood centric at the start but ended off with a lovely roast pork. R and Y happily dug into that. Of course we had to end off with their wonderful souffle.

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7. D’O
Located around 30 mins drive from Milan, we decided to come here for lunch on the way back from Lake Como, great planning by Y. The chef was really personal, he came out to greet us, and explained to us the menu, as the other staff only spoke Italian. R decided to try his recommendations, while Y did the degustation. The most memorable dish must have been the caramelized onion tart which was the first course. They also didn’t want us to take any pictures of the food, so as a form of respect to them, won’t post too much here.

Cubic decorative leather piece on the table
Cubic decorative leather piece on the table

Beautiful onion tart - most memorable dish here
Beautiful onion tart – most memorable dish here


8. Pizzeria Sibilla

Via Mercato 14 | Brera/Porta Nuova | +390286464567
Tue – Sat 12:00 – 15:00 & 18:00 – 00:00

Y loves loves naples style pizza, and was so obsessed with finding one in Milan she researched online and said that this is the one to try. Thank goodness we didn’t have to queue for long to get a table as they don’t take reservations. We learnt that it’s best to go promptly at 12pm to get a table, or go bit later like at 1.30, 2 pm for second seating. We shared a table for 4 with an elderly Japanese couple, and ordered a classic Margherita pizza to share. Oh well, Y pretty much ate it all by herself, very impressive, she must have been really hungry! Was nice how they bothered to do some cute coffee art with the cappuccino for a simple pizzeria.

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9. Gelato
Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, 117, 20121 Milan, Italy

When you are in Italy, you must have a gelato, it’s great for anytime of the day. For a good one, head down towards Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi after pizza at Pizzeria Sibilla and you will find it on your left, a tiny shop, mainly for takeaway. This is located in the Brera area, which has a great, bohemian feel to it, especially felt during the Milan Saloni week. If you are feeling up to it, you can walk down from Via Monte Napolene, takes about 30 mins on foot.

That's Y holding up a cone of Pistachio and Chocolate flavour ice cream to share with me.
That’s Y holding up a cone of Pistachio and Chocolate flavour ice cream to share with me.

STAY

1. Cerva 16 Apartments
Via Cerva, 16, Milan City Centre, Milano, 20122, Italy
Tel: +390236555708

This service apartment located within an enclosed compound, is not posh or anything, but considering it was Milan Saloni week and with its amazing location near wonderful boutiques, think it was pretty value for money. And our room can sleep up to 4 people, if the other 2 don’t mind the sofa bed. It’s great for a week or longer as it’s got a living and kitchen area for us to dine and lounge in, so feels like home. Even coming back to it everyday made us feel like we were living like a local.

Me peering out onto the street of Via Cerva from our bedroom balcony.
Me peering out onto the street of Via Cerva from our bedroom balcony.

Relaxing on the couch in the living room
Relaxing on the couch in the living room

2. Bvlgari Hotels
Via Privata F.lli Gabba, 7b, 20121 Milan, Italy Tel: +39 02 805 805

Compared to Armani Casa where I stayed in 2012, I preferred Bulgari just in terms of overall feel and interiors. It’s location is also great, so near the shopping streets of Via Monte Napolene. A pity we could only enjoy this room for a short night before heading back to Singapore the next day. The breakfast has to be one of the most expensive we ever had in Europe, but we decided to pamper ourselves.

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