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From Aperitivo to Dolce

The restaurants mentioned in this guide mainly serve Italian cuisine as this would seem the most interesting for the tourist visitor (when in Rome .... ): first hand Italian food within reach! Take advantage! But we list also a few of the better foreign kitchen restaurants (Japanese, Chinese etc).

We have taken on board only a small part of the thousands of restaurants in Milan and made the selection based on mainly Italian customer reviews (and some personal experience as well).

To end up in this guide a restaurant had to have several recent and good reviews , and no more than a single bad one, if any. Price quality ratio has to be reasonable as well, and that is why some of the more classy and expensive ones did not make it in the guide.

Have a look at our selection of restaurants:

Al Cantinone

El Brellin

Although traditionally there were different types of restaurants, like osteria, trattoria, ristorante and the like, the difference between these types generally has blurred, so you do not really have to worry about the precise denominations. They all serve more or less the same type of food.

As a general rule you may find it worthwhile to stay away from the touristy areas (around the Duomo , the Galleria and the Scala ) and take the effort to go a little out of city center: prices drop and more importantly, the food usually becomes better. There are some exceptions of course and these are mentioned in this guide.

Italians dine later than in many other (northern) countries, so don't try to get a decent meal before 7 , but preferably go at 8 or even later. In case you really need to fill up in before, you might try one of the italian style Fastfood restaurants . But the aperitivo may be a better idea.

The traditional Italian menu offers a range of courses, from the antipasti (starters), via the primi piatti (first courses, pasta and/or risotto), secondi (meat, fish) with contorni (vegetables) to the dolci , fruit and/or desserts. Italian coffee and maybe a digestivo to round up! An exception to this rule is the typically Milanese piatto unico of the Ossobuco alla Milansese (meat with risotto) in which the first and second course are combined.

One usually doesn't eat one's way all through the menu, but restricts oneself to two or three courses ( antipasto+primo , primo+secondo , plus dessert if you like). This would generally already present a full meal. The exception to this are the meals on feast days and the traditional Sunday lunch (especially in the Oltrepò Pavese countryside).

In most traditional restaurants you do not tip, as this is already taken into account by the coperto you pay (usually a few euro per person). You also commonly pay at the cash-desk instead of at the table. If you are not sure, just look around and see what happens at other tables.

Have a look at the GoItaly section of for further info.

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Copyright (C) Stef Smulders. All rights reserved.

Published by Sutro Media





"A unique introduction to 'the Italian way"



A charmingly lighthearted recollection"





Living in Italy

expat italy

Would you dare to follow your dream
and move or retire to Italy?

Stef & Nico did, although their dog Sara had her doubts.
Now from your comfortable armchair you can share in
the hilarious & horrendous adventures they experienced
when they moved to Italy to start a bed and breakfast.


For lovers of amusing travelogue memoirs who like a good laugh
Glossary of Italian words included! Learn a bit of the Italian language along the way
Practical advice on how to buy a house in Italy pleasantly presented within the stories



A charmingly lighthearted recollection” Kirkus Reviews

A comical, often downright hilarious account” Reader’s Favorite Review

Smulders’ storytelling artistry is wildly entertaining” Blogcritics/Reader Views