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 is one of the coziest atmospheres to eat in Milan. 28 Posti (28 Seats, the name says it all) is a contemporary bistrot in the heart of the Navigli where sustainability meets chic.
Trattoria La Madonnina
We love our home down on the Navigli but we’re the first to admit there’s a lot of crappy fake trattoria tourist traps. Thankfully this is not one of them.
Antica Trattoria della Pesa
La Pesa, as the Milanese call it, is one of Milan’s most-loved culinary spots and one of the oldest restaurants in town, placed right next to Corso Como’s buzzy nightlife.
Trattoria Masuelli San Marco
Far from the hectic scene in the center of town, you can always find inner culinary peace in this classic trattoria that has been run by the Masuelli family for over 90 years.
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.
After checking out the impressive and thought-provoking exhibition in the museum’s main space, head upstairs for a light (and arguably pricey) meal in the fabulous new DesignCafé, which makes the entire Triennale experience a whole lot cooler. Or grab a quick but chic aperitivo on the garden terrace, where you can enjoy the view of Giorgio de Chirico’s Bagni Misteriosi, which finally has water in its fountains after 50 years.
Founded in 1947 by mid-century architectural gods Ignazio Gardella and Luigi Caccia Dominioni, this sophisticated little shop carries re-editions of classic pieces from the ’50s and ’60s. Known for iconic pieces from crescent-shaped velvet side chairs to sensationally simple brass doorknobs that populate top Milanese homes, Azucena is a humble altar for some of Italy’s most coveted design objects.
Antique, vintage and modern furnishings come together in a large, bright showroom that will inspire even ardent feng shui believers to re-do their entire home or office in the stile Italiano. Owner Garau has impeccable taste and presents jumbles of mixed-style chairs, tables, lamps and carpets in intriguing tableaux.
If you’re looking to dodge dough-ball city, this casual charmer isn’t for you. Otherwise, indulge in rich deliciousness like trofie con pesto, and then waddle out to the bocce court in the back garden-meets-terrace area.
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.
You have to ring a bell to enter this vintage inspired restaurant where no two plates, cups, glasses or forks are the same. It’s a bit pricey for what it is- simple, traditional, Italian food- and it is a bit off pieced from the city center but the experience is totally worth it.
For those who didn’t secure a table at the fashion-packed and over-priced Langosteria, there’s a simple and elegant alternative just down the street, complete with starched white tablecloths. Traditional Italian dishes like bollito and cotoletta come with an extensive wine list served by waiters from another era.
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.
Cucina del Toro
Not far from the Castello Sforzesco, this uber-Italian locale recalls the charm and minimal-chicness of a modern country locanda. It’s all about tradition plates such as gnocchi, salted codfish, and Piedmont beef and cheeses complemented by a simple but curated wine list.
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.