Milan Best Eats during Milan Design Week 2016

From my favourite Naples style pizza and panini to the best coteletto (11 - 16 Apr 2016)

We – that is myself with good ol’ Y and R finally arrived in Milan as the final leg in our Italy trip for some real business- that is walking till we drop during the annual Milan Design Week, or otherwise known as Salone Del Mobile, which happens during early April every year. It was quite exciting to be back here for the fair since 2013, and we definitely needed to recharge ourselves with lots of food since we definitely needed the energy to walk and explore pretty much the entire Milan during the week. Kid you not, but Y lost weight despite all the eating which you will see below after the trip, because we were walking at least 5 – 8 km every day. Anyway, we got to try some new restaurants – mostly good which I can’t wait to share with you in the list below.

From breakfasts to dinners – here’s my list of Milan’s Best Eats.

Pave Via Felice Casati, 27, 20124 Milano (Area: Porta Venezia) T. +39 02 9439 2259. Open Tues – Fri 8 am – 8 pm, Sat – Sun 8.30 am – 7 pm. No reservations.

For breakfast in Milan, making a slight detour to this cool bakery in the Porta Venezia area, is well worth it. Started by 3 passionate males, it serves up one of the best pastries in Milan. It was voted by Food and Wine magazine – Gambero Rosso as the top 20 bakeries in Italy as well. They have designed the space likened to eating in a grandmother’s home, and has a casual European feel to it, it could almost feel like the bakery is in Paris or even in places like Copenhagen, and it’s kitchen is called a Food Lab where young passionate bakers churn out amazing pastries daily. You can choose from their wide selection of home made breads, croissants, tarts, eclairs, even jams and chocolates, and they have their own merchandise with witty slogans such as “Bread or Death”. We had a selection of ham and cheese croissants and also sweet pastries to share, but when we wanted to order more, it was sold out. So yes don’t think too long when you are here, you can always take away the rest that you can’t finish, but it be hard to resist not eating them all. They have also recently opened a Pave Ice Cream too at Via Cesare Battisti, 21, can’t wait to try that the next time I am in Milan!

At Pave Milano – indulging in some amazing croissants and pastries

Bar Luce at the Foundazione Prada 2 LARGO ISARCO, 20139 MILANO (Area: Morivione, 3o mins by car from Milan city centre)
T. +39 02 5666 2611. Open Mon, Wed – Sun from 9 am – 9 pm. Extended hours to 10 pm from Fri – Sun. Closed on Tues.

The Fondazione Prada Milan is an exhibition complex established by the design house – Prada, and is dedicated to contemporary art and culture, housed in a former distillery. I definitely enjoyed the architecture here much more than the art – some which was probably a bit too abstract for my liking, but the highlight here has gotta be Bar Luce for me. It’s rare to get good food and a chic restaurant in a museum other than possibly Moma in New York, but they have done it here and really well. Bar Luce has a chic feel of a traditional Milanese cafe, and is designed by Wes Anderson of my favourite Grand Budapest film. The choices of colors and aesthetics, and furniture referenced from Milan in the 1950s to 60s have been used here, complete with the retro arcade games, and pops of candy in bubble gum colors line the back walls of the bar. It’s a beautiful inviting and fun atmosphere to just hang out in – perfect for a casual lunch. Plus the paninis are surprisingly good! The hardest part will be making a choice on what to have as they are all so good!

The famous “Haunted House” at Foundazione Prada painted in 24 carat gold leaf. 

Pizzeria Sibilla Via Mercato, 14, 20121 Milano (Area: Brera/Porta Nuova) Tel: +390286464567
Tue – Sat 12 pm – 2.30 pm & 7 pm to midnight. Closed Mon. Reservations a must, or be prepared to queue.

For my all time favourite Naples style Pizza in Milan. The restaurant is super casual but the atmosphere is always so bustling, and the staff are friendly. This is a fantastic place to stop by when you are in the Brera area which is one of the key Design Districts, making it a perfect rest stop after all that walking during Milan Salone Del Mobile.

I first came here with Y in 2013, and we could only eat one pizza on our own, but we were glad to be back with our friends and we could try more stuff this time. We were also curious if the pizza is still as good as we remembered as I had raved in my review back in 2013. It didn’t disappoint at all. The dough was light and fragrant and is just one of those pizzas that you just want to eat more of, unlike horrible thin crust pizzas which I really don’t enjoy. I didn’t get to try the Calzone which seemed to be ordered by quite a few people, will save it for next time. The price point here is really friendly, all pastas and most of the pizzas are 10 euros and under. They also have a decent selection of vegetarian sides and meat courses.

Recommend: Margherita, Diavola pizza, Fried Mozzarella, Penne All’ arriabbiata, Tiramisu

Pizzeria Sibilla’s smiley chef making their signature Naples pizza.

Da Martino Via Carlo Farini, 8, 20154 Milano, Italy Tel: +39 02 655 4974. Open for lunch and dinner on all days except Weds which is closed. Reservations a must.

One of the classic Milanese dishes is Cotoletta, and this trip, I made it a point to seek out the best one by researching and also trying it out at some other places which I didn’t even bother to mention as it didn’t make the cut for me. Da Martino is a super nondescript restaurant located quite near the Chinatown area of Milan and also not too far from my favourite cool shop – 10 Corso Como. Run by the son and grandson of the original Martino, this place serves a mishmash of Milan, Neapolitan, Tuscan and Piedmont cuisine. One can see the wood fire oven as they enter, and the tiny dining room that probably sits extremely tightly less than 20 pax. The much awaited bone in Cotoletta is made with pork, and was thin, yet so juicy and fragrant, and serve with a generous portion of marinated tomatoes with arugula leaves and lots of garlic and oregano, that was so good that we got the chef to tell us the recipe for the marinade which R has been making for me and Y at home since. Definitely a place I will return for sure when I visit Milan. The prices here are really reasonable with most starters and mains ranging from 6 – 15 euros. Just be very hungry when you come here as the Cotoletta is big!

Must trys: Cotoletta with the signature marinated tomatoes, Asparagus with egg, Vitello Tonnato

Exterior of shop sign

Tiny dining room.

Where delicious things are made.


Il Carpaccio Via Lazzaro Palazzi, 19, 20124 Milano (Area: Porta Venezia) Tel: +39 02 2940 5982. Open for lunch and dinner from Tues – Sun. Reservations a must.

A old fashioned family trattoria that feels inviting the moment you walk in. Fresh flowers with lots of antipasti on a table greet us on the left, while on the right sits the fish trolley and lots of alcohol with photos of the owners in the background. Rather loud and boistering, it’s known to be quite a locals restaurant. It seems they are quite known for their seafood based dishes, which we were looking forward to trying. Generally, the food didn’t disappoint and it’s a nice casual, decently priced restaurant that I won’t mind returning to.

We ate: Carpaccio with rocket leaves, orange and fennel salad (highly recommend), Tagliatelle with tomato sauce and prawns (my fav pasta here), Spaghetti vongole, Grilled prawns and scampi (great choice for seafood lovers) and grilled seabass.

We spent 120 euros for 3 pax and a bear (including a bottle of 18 euro wine).

Antipasti table with fresh rustic flowers at Il Carpaccio.

Restaurant Giacomo Arengario Via Guglielmo Marconi, 1 – 20123 Milan (Area: Duomo) Tel: +39 0272093814. Bar open daily from 12 pm to 12 am. Reservations a must for lunch and dinner.

Located on the top of the Museo del Novecento, this tastefully designed art deco restaurant is quite a favourite with the art and fashion crowd. If you are looking for a nice place to people watch and enjoy views of Duomo, it’s a good option. But for me I list it at the bottom of my list as I still prefer their original restaurant – Ristorante Da Giacomo which I reviewed in my 2013 trip, which is more trattoria style with the menu being more traditional Italian and rustic. Food here is more elegant and fine dining style with a price tag to match, but it’s a great place to chill out, just remember to request for a table that faces the Duomo if you want to make your trip here more worth it.

Tasting the Cotoletta here, not too bad but I prefer Da Martino’s one.

Take 1 of Duomo.

Take 2 of Duomo.

Cioccolati Italiani Multiple locations in Milan.

Not forgetting the sweet stuff, when in Italy, it’s almost a sin if you haven’t tried gelato here. I definitely wasn’t gelato-d out yet despite eating tons of it in Florence, and in Milan, I discovered a new gelato – Cioccolati Italiani which has a few locations in Milan (including one in the Duomo area) and even overseas. After checking out some cool design shops in the Cinque Vie area, we decided to cool down with some yummy gelato at their shop at Via Nerino, 11. I was concerned it might be quite touristy but honestly after trying it out, it was pretty good. It was a pity the seats were full, as their sundae concoctions looked so amazing, if you are taking away, be sure to try the chocolate covered cone, or like me I opted for gelato in a cup with a chocolate coated wafer, as the gelato melts pretty fast!

Gelato with a chocolate coated cone.

So many flavours to choose from, and the home made chocolates are worth buying too.

Pasticceria Marchesi Via Monte Napoleone, 9, 20121 Milano (Area: Montenapoleone) Tel: +39 02 7600 8238. Open daily from 7.30 am – 9 pm. 

This classic Milanese pastry shop, founded in 1824, is well known for its panettone, traditional Italian sweets and chocolate. Interestingly, this brand was acquired recently by the Prada Group, a rather interesting move by the fashion house but I think a very wise one indeed. The Montenapoleane location is a perfect stopover for a well-deserved coffee and sweet break amidst the shopping along this famous Milan shopping belt. I didn’t have a chance to dine in here, but they have an amazing selection of sweets that are great presents to bring back, all packaged in candy colored hues of blues, greens, pinks and yellows. My favourite is the Gianduiotto which they sell in different sizes, and let you choose your preferred color of box. The shape looks like an upturned boat, wrapped in a thin gold foil, and has a superbly creamy texture of hazelnut chocolate flavour. It’s best consumed at room temperature, and makes a perfect gift for yourself and your loved ones.

Beautiful packaged sweets and candies in pastel hues at Pasticceria Marchesi.

Couldn’t help but eat some at home while writing about the Gianduiotto.

This write up on Milan eats is making me hungry, I hope it did make you hungry too, and was useful in giving you some tips on where to eat the next time you are in Milan. I will leave you here with some fun shots below I took while staying at an apartment near Chinatown during the Design Week, I definitely lived like a local.

Figuring out the traditional lift and posing in my balcony of our apartment. 

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