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It’s hard to find typical Milanese cuisine in Milan. There are, however, many restaurants serving regional dishes are easier to come by, were you can taste the delights of Italy, from North to South, without moving from the metropolis.
Eating regional food does not necessarily mean going to simple trattorie, and the new generation of regional restaurants prove it – from excellent raw ingredients, to refined décor, and outstanding service. They’re cooking up traditional recipes with a modern twist. Here are five addresses offering regional Italian cuisine around Milan that you’ll want to add to your plans.
Nothing folkloristic, no photographs of trulli houses and no horse braciole. The new Pugliese cuisine in Milan is at Olio – Cucina Fresca and has nothing to do with the stereotypical grandmother’s food. The idea comes from two Apulian youngsters transplanted into town to attend Bocconi University and is found in the Porta Venezia district with modern furniture to accompany their contemporary approach. The Frantoio Muraglia oil is the undisputed star, with a 50-ml bottle gift available when dining, to use and then take home. They offer carefully selected ingredients, especially seafood, fish, and dishes which alternate tradition with more creative proposals. Enjoy the appetizers, first courses and try the almond and olive oil ice cream.
When you see the Maserati parked outside, you have arrived at Chef Filippo La Mantia, a Sicilian celebrity chef who moved to Milan. You can eat classics like arancini, aubergine caponata, almond and citrus pesto and ricotta cannoli for dessert – an exquisite menu. The restaurant is modern, stylish, and loved by entrepreneurs and VIPs, but don’t be alarmed, you can eat very well at a fair price. For lunch and on Sundays, a buffet of Sicilian specialties is available. The bar area is open from morning until late evening with all Sicilian options – perfect for a quick snack or breakfast.
ToscaNino is the place for steak lovers, namely the thick Tuscan “Fiorentina”, cooked medium-rare. It’s not only a restaurant, but also a bakery, food takeaway, bar, wine bar and a shop – a concept store selling exclusively “Made in Tuscany” products, including design objects and furnishing – all in a very elegant and welcoming atmosphere. The steak is a must, to be shared according to size. Then there are main courses such as pappardelline with cinghiale (wild boar) sauce, tortelli Mugello with white sauce, ravioli with tomato sauce topped with melted Pecorino cheese and Toscanelle olive powder. Fish is also served. Guests can have a drink at the bar before exploring the refined wine list options.
The environment at Volemose Bene is kitsch, looking somewhat like a Rome-themed amusement park. But the food is good, and it is centrally located, so it’s an address to consider if you want true, hearty Roman cuisine. On the menu: cold cuts, Roman fritto misto with supplì rice balls and artichokes, pasta in large portions, and offal like the classic pajata, coratella and tripe.
The trattoria Bolognese da Mauro is an old-fashioned institution, just behind the Navigli district. Since 1969, they have been making fresh pasta and cooking traditional dishes, served in large portions with no bells and whistles. You can have fried gnocchi and cold cuts, butter and sage ravioli, tortellini in broth, tagliatelle with ragù sauce and then – an exception to the menu – a huge cotoletta (breaded veal cutlet) to share. To drink, guests get the house wine served in glass pitchers, like the regional, chilled Lambrusco or Gutturnio.