Milan is a must-see when you travel to Italy. Whether you want to go there and see all the beautiful architecture or to get some fashion tips from the Milanese, learn about the art and history of Italy or go dancing and explore the unique nightlife that the city offers. One way or another, you will need to stop and eat some of the best food in Milan. Here are the traditional dishes you need to try when in Milan:
Risotto alla Milanese
Risotto is one of the most famous and traditional dishes of the capital of fashion. Since Northern Italy is the largest producer of rice in Europe, it’s expected that Milan would have a recipe with it. The base of the plate is Carnaroli or Arborio rice with saffron, and it can be prepared with additional ingredients in different ways.
There are different local legends for the appearance of this dish. Some say that one of the workers of the Duomo decided to add saffron (also used to color the glass of the windows) to add color to the white rice. Others say that the daughter of Maestro Velerio di Fiandra was getting married and they added saffron to make the rice look like gold.
Try the dish at Trattoria Masuelli San Marco in Viale Umbria, the restaurant opened in 1921 and uses the traditional recipe.
Ossobuco and Cotoletta
If you like meat, you’ll love Ossobuco and Cotoletta. Ossobuco is bovine meat with a bone with a hole, braised with onions, carrots, celery, white wine, and broth. Its flavor is unique and tasty. You can eat the Ossobuco alone or try the Risotto alla Milanese con Ossobuco or even Ossobuco with polenta. You can enjoy this dish at La Madonnina at Via Gentilino,6, a homely trattoria with a rustic ambiance.
Cotoletta is another traditional Milanese meat dish and has a unique flavor. It is a piece of veal which is flattened, coated in egg with breading fried in butter. Sounds simple, right? This dish has become so popular that you can find it easily in any restaurant in Milan. Go to an old-style trattoria, the restaurant Da Martino, which offers one of the best Cotoletta in Milan at Via Carlo Farini 8.
If you’re traveling to Milan during the holiday season, get ready to try this Christmas fruitcake. This sweet and soft bread has candied citrus and raisins and can be found in bakeries and supermarkets all over the city. Founded in 1936, the bakery Pasticceria Cucchi in Corso Genova 1, has been preparing Panettone for many years.
Traditionally, the Minestrone Milanese is made with beans, cabbage, rice, spinach, celery, carrots, and zucchini, but you can also find it with other ingredients, it depends on where are you eating. This soup is over 2000 years old, so it’s a must eat when in Milan.
Try the specialty at Bistrot con Cucina San Maurì in Via San Maurilio 4, close to the Duomo this new restaurant has an incredible version of the Minestrone Milanese.
One of the best and classical dishes of Milan, Cassoeula is made with Lombard pork and cabbage stew. It is more common during the winter months because it’s a perfect high-calorie meal after a day skiing or exploring the city. Try it at Antica Trattoria della Pesa at Viale Pasubio, 10, a traditional restaurant known for its typical tasty dishes.
Also known as popette or meatballs, this popular Milanese dish comes from the practice of not letting anything go to waste. Originally was made with leftover beef with sausage, fresh salami or mortadella, eggs, milk-soaked bread, Grana Padano cheese, garlic, and nutmeg. The mix of these ingredients creates a flavored dish that goes with salad or potatoes.. Try it in bars or in a park sometime, it is one of the local’s favourite street foods.
If you want to know about the traditional dishes in Italy, read where and what to eat in Rome, Venice & Milan: Places to eat in Italy.
Learning more about Milan
Now that you know some of the most traditional Milanese dishes and where to eat them, what about exploring the monuments of the city? Check out Milan sightseeing: the top tourist attractions in Milan and learn about all the incredible monuments and places that you need to visit.
Also, if it’s your first time in town, read about the best areas to stay in Milan for tourists and first-time visitors. And don’t forget that Veditalia offers over 15 different guided tours in Milan that will make your experience in the city even more unforgettable.