The Botanical Club
If gin’s your thing, book it over to the only spot in Milan cooking up their own sauce. This good-looking Isola micro-distillery has plenty of other booze lining the shelves, and the cocktail list is no slouch – just make sure you pick from the menu, as leaving your order up to the bartender tends to stick you with a super-sized bill.
This charming little spot tucked behind one of the city’s architectural gems, the Rotonda della Besana, serves up simple, fresh food inspired by the spirit and directly delivered from the heart of Umbria. Small, simple plates of meats, cheeses and their famous Torta al Testo (flatbread stuffed with pork) are great for a post work aperitivo. It is a perfect all-day cafe but those busybees without time for a piccola pausa will be happy to discover that PreTesto also delivers— one of the few spots in the city to do so.
Those looking for a drinks menu as colorful as a Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dress, should head to Dry. We love the French 75 and the Hanky Panky and the crispy flatbreads are a lifesaver when you’re already half way through your second.
Those looking to avoid carbs, beware: Princi is a treasure trove of dough-based delights, from morning brioche to that olive baton breadstick you crave at 3pm. We also love the thin-crusted focaccia. One of the few places in Milan that also sells single apples and oranges—fast snacks for the fashionista.
With the feel of a mom-and-pop trattoria but contemporary like a mini-market (they take credit cards!), Abbottega is a convenient stop for fast, fresh food that tastes like grandma’s but looks like something that grand cuoco Cracco could cook up.
Owned by the two charming grandsons of historic patisserie family Alemagna, centrally located and divinely decorated by of-the-moment architect Vincenzo de Cotiis, T’A does first-rate modern Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner and desserts that will destroy your diet plans. It’s a crime to skip the homemade chocolates with your afternoon macchiato. Sweetening the deal is their first shop of T’a-branded artisan chocolates inside the Bistrot.
Mandarin Oriental Bar
Milan has a loyal following when it comes to posh accommodation but just as new seasons welcome new designers, there’s another player in the luxury hotel game. We love the new Mandarin Oriental not just for the sleek design but for the bar, set to become the new late-night hotspot in town. Delicious cocktails and bouncing DJ sets—all enjoyed in the lush garden—will make you feel miles outside of the city.
A Negroni is fun for a Friday night but a good Vermentino will never let you down. Wine aficionados looking to bring home some titles to beef up their cellar need look no further than Enoteca Cotti in the heart of Brera. More than 1,000 labels can be found here with the added bonus that grappaworshippers can retire to a dedicated room where there’s nothing but the strong stuff.
Drop into high-end smoke shop Giacomo Tabaccheria. The Tabaccheria is the newest addition to Giacomo’s Sottocorno Empire, adding a cozy, wood-and marble-lined nook alongside the fancy-pants restaurant, casual bistro, and opulent pastry shops that already rule the block. Grab a coffee or a glass of wine, pick up a cigar plus packaged delicacies, hot snacks, and a pastry. Come anytime– it’s open all day long 8am to midnight, 365 days a year.
Swirl & Stand up with your Espresso at Café Sissi. Cucchi. Cova. Marchesi. We love them all but we have a soft spot for Sissi, tucked away just slightly outside the bullseye of Milan’s city center. Nowhere else in the world could a cafe with light pink walls and tables covered in lacy doilies attract a mainstay crowd of hot Italian men and gossipping older ladies at the same time. Those who take their caffeine and their nicotine very seriously will appreciate the back garden that is open year-round.
Nurse an evening Aperol Spritz at Bulloni. This aperitivo spot is so real-deal Milanese that they close at 9pm– in other words, it’s for aperitivo and basta! We’re talking classic chips and olives here– not the dinner spread of new school bars. But they’ve been stirring the best spritzes in town since 1933, with an original Futurist mosaic behind the bar and a huge selection of Italian wines.
The two chefs, Misha Sukyas and Matteo Simonato, took off from cooking at a double Michelin-starred restaurant in Holland to open a spot in our own Milano, where they create a new market-driven menu from scratch every single blessed day. Plates are small, ideas are big, and the flavors can span Italy, Morocco, or Japan, depending on the mood of the chefs. Like most great-tasting places in town, the décor could use an upgrade, but this is the spot to taste high-concept cooking at low-end prices.
Juices and smoothies cropped up in Milan a few seasons ago but nowhere, we repeat, nowhere knows the fundamental difference between a blender and a Vitamix. Nestled a few blocks from Armani-land is VitaminChic, opened up by a French-born, L.A.-based Goddess of Health. This neat and clean take-away spot has an armory of herbs and ingredients to tackle those Fashion Week ailments. The list of options is longer than a Philip Plein runway and they’ve got hot soups and detox deliveries to boot.
If gin’s your thing, book it over to the only spot in Milan cooking up their own sauce.This good-looking Isola micro-distillery has plenty of other booze lining the shelves,and the cocktail list is no slouch– just make sure you pick from the menu, as leaving your order up to the bartender tends to stick you with a super-sized bill.
We cannot find a single fault with this tiny, modern wine bar, a passion project started by four Italian buddies. Everything’s simple here, from the minimal utilitarian décor to the curated selection of Italian wines (almost all of the bubbly variety), including our big fave Franciacorta (Italy’s answer to champagne) flowing by the glass.
Mantra Raw Vegan
Stop the presses! Kale has come to Milan, and it’s in a variety of plates. Open from breakfast through dinner, this vegan rarity serves uber-healthy foods including a spaghetti substitute, zoodles, made from zucchini. Beyond the wide range of herbal teas, they even sell coal to add to your water for a total cleansing situation.