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Autumn and winter have arrived, and you find yourself seeking refuge in the flavors and comforts of traditional recipes from your childhood. While finding a good place to eat in Milan is not a difficult task to take on, eating good Milanese food in Milan is a little harder to find.
That’s why we rounded up our top 10 places you can’t miss for traditional Milanese cooking.
Via Giuseppe Mercalli, 3
One of our favorite Milanese trattoria, this restaurant makes its pasta dishes (macaroni and gnocchi) fresh in-house and by hand every day, served under traditional sauces, such as gorgonzola and pistachio, sausage and tomato, and roasted chicory. Their main plates are to die for, treating their customers with excellent ossobuco, a tasty pork cutlet, and a slew of hearty stews. The size of their desserts is impressive, almost to the point that you’ll have to phone a friend to help you finish (the tiramisu deserves to be singled out here). At Antica Hostaria della Lanterna, you are guaranteed to leave satisfied.
Via Gentilino, 6
Madonnina is your local trattoria with a rustic ambiance that can’t help but remind you of home. There are plenty of tables both inside and out under a pergola that overlooks the courtyard. Stepping into this authentic Milanese trattoria feels like taking a trip back in time. Although the menu is updated daily, Madonnina serves a concise selection of brilliantly executed traditional Milanese fare. These guys have mastered the Milanese pork cutlet, ossobuco, and risotto.
La Pesa trattoria dal 1902
Via Giovanni Fantoni, 26
A remarkably charming yet modern trattoria, the menu is steeped in Milanese tradition, serving (you guessed it) pork cutlet. Here, you can order your cutlet thick cut or standard. Milanese tradition dictates that your pork cutlet should be at least one finger’s width, but once you’ve tried the thicker cut, you can’t go back. La Pesa is also renowned for stellar starters and marvelous main dishes, including their creamy risotto, tender ossobuco, fried dumplings, and nervetti.
Via Stampa, 8
Located behind the chaotic Via Torino is where you can enjoy a delightful gastronomic experience. Although the Milanese risotto and veal ossobuco in gremolata command respect, they fall among the ranks of various terrific main plates, including the cotechino (a local sausage), stuffed squash, salted codfish, smoked trout, polenta with braised beef, vegetable minestrone, and tortellini.
Via Palermo, 21
Located in the heart of the Brera district in Via Palermo, La Libera has been serving authentic Milanese and Lombard cuisine for years. Here, you can taste Milanese authenticity in its well-known dishes, such as risotto al salto and (what else but) the pork cutlet in a warm and cozy environment. La Libera serves the classics and serves them right.
Via Laura Solera Mantegazza, 2
You won’t find a more genuine Milanese restaurant than Al Matarel. Al Matarel’s antipasti is a flight of nervetti, onions, salami, and mushrooms. The risotto with ossobuco teeters near perfection, cooked so tender and soft that it falls off the bone. At this joint, the Milanese pork cutlet is called the Orecchia di Elefante (elephant’s ear), which should give you some idea of what the portion size will be like going in. Make sure you’re hungry!
Via Castelfidardo, 2
Since 1909, Il Solferino has delighted both casual observers and fiercely loyal regulars of the Milanese culinary tradition with a menu that emphasizes the Lombard tradition. Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, you can choose between dishes from the land and sea, although this trattorias’ unsung hero is its selection of vegetarian side dishes. The restaurant was recently renovated, but still retains the quaint elegance and pleasant atmosphere that characterizes their traditional culinary offerings. Internationally renowned chefs Savino Antonacci and Francesco Centaro bring the flavors of their hometowns to the kitchen, and in the dining room, maitre d’ Gianni di Buduo provides customers with a warm welcome upon entering.
Viale Pasubio, 10
Everyone has their favorite place for ossobuco, but there’s one reason Pesa stands out: the atmosphere. Wooden tables and sideboards, white tablecloths, cream tiles, and brick walls invite warmth into every room, much like your childhood home. The staff is naturally elegant, and every dish they present makes you feel at ease.
Via Alberto Nota, 47
Founded in the 30s by Luigi and Modesta Arlati, this trattoria is now led by Leopold, the third generation representative of the Arlati dynasty. Leopold’s father transformed what was once a local tavern into a restaurant frequented by all walks of life from Milan. For music lovers, the restaurant also offers live music nights (from jazz to rock) performed on the tavern’s stage.
Via Selvanesco, 36
Whether you choose to go there to hear Christmas music on the piano surrounded by lights and a roaring fireplace, or in summer, when you can sit at the tables in the beautiful gardens, Al Garghet is a timeless Milanese gem. The menu is featured strictly in the Lombard dialect and written by hand on school notebook paper. Some of their starters include gristle, paté with crostini, fried dumplings and sausages, and fried zucchini flowers. Among the pasta dishes, you can find mushroom risotto, Milanese risotto, buckwheat ravioli, chestnut flour tagliatelle, and potato gnocchi. The main dishes are even more impressive with one of the largest pork cutlets in Milan, as well as cassoulet with kidney beans and sweetbread.