The Congress President’s Favourites: An Insider’s View on Dining in Milan
It is a real pleasure and honour to welcome you in my home town on the occasion of the 28th Annual EAU Congress. Over the last several months, the EAU Scientific Office has put together a terrific scientific programme for the 2013 meeting and I am sure that all the attendees will enjoy each and every session. The congress will offer a wonderful opportunity to learn about the novelties in our field and to meet the world’s leading experts in the field of urology.
After the busy days at the congress, you will have an opportunity to enjoy Milan, and here I would like to share with you some very personal suggestions – The Congress President’s Favourites - that you may find useful during the stay in Milan.
There are many excellent restaurants in Milan and there is a wide opportunity to taste the cuisine of all the regions of beautiful Italy. Booking is always essential and I would recommend you to plan your evenings and make your reservations well in advance. The following are some of the restaurants where I enjoy to have dinner with my family and friends:
Via Victor Hugo
The two-star Michelin restaurant is located minutes away from the Duomo, the largest gothic cathedral in the world. Although the chef Carlo Cracco is a real star of both Italian and international cuisine, he can be found at his restaurant almost at all times. If you decide to go there for lunch or dinner, please do not forget to ask for him and, in case he is not there on that specific day, for Matteo, his second man in the kitchen. My recommendation is to ask him to guide you in making your dinner choices. There is always something special which cannot be found on the official menu and that deserve to be tasted. If you love caviar and you are ready to spend your money ask for the “Cold spaghetti with caviar” which will be unforgettable. More simply, go for the “Yellow saffron risotto” which is one of the most typical Milanese dishes. Carlo Cracco’s way to cook the “Cotoletta alla Milanese” – the pan-fried veal - is also heavenly. The wine list is never-ending. Please, bear in mind that it is closed on Sunday.
Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia
Via Raimondo Montecuccoli 6
Aimo and Nadia Moroni came to Milan from Tuscany in the 50s and step by step climbed up the stairs of cooking excellence, up to the current 2 Michelin stars. Aimo is almost always in the dining room while his wife Nadia spends her time in the kitchen. Nicola, the restaurant director and Stefania, Aimo’s and Nadia’s daughter, will take excellent care of you. My favourites include the “Spaghetti with sweet onion sauce” and the “Young pork from Siena”. The wine list is excellent. Last but not least, if you love espresso coffee you will taste there at the end of your dinner what I consider the best espresso in town! Please, bear in mind that it is closed on Sunday.
Via Senato 7
+39 02 781255
Restaurant Il Baretto is located in the heart of the city, in the middle of the shopping area called “the gold square”. The owners are two brilliant and very kind gentlemen called Ermanno and Vincenzo and they will explain for you the menu of the day. In my opinion at Il Baretto one can taste the best of the best of traditional Milanese cuisine. Risotto is cooked in a number of different ways and all are delicious. “Ossobuco” and the “Cotoletta alla Milanese” are also wonderful. Seafood is always very fresh, so ask the owners about the best catch of the day. Excellent wine list. Atmosphere is very warm and don’t be surprised if you meet some international movie stars there. Always open.
Piazza Risorgimento (at the corner of Via Carlo Poerio)
This restaurant, located in the center of the city is owned by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the world known fashion designers and if you decide to go, there is a chance to meet them there at dinner time. Food is very good, with Sicilian dishes having a first line place in the menu (Domenico Dolce himself comes from Sicily). Although both starters and main courses are excellent, in my opinion the top of the top are the desserts: you do not want to leave without trying them! Very friendly atmosphere, music in the background, a very nice bar to start the evening with an “aperitivo”. If the singer Madonna is in town, you will most probably see her there. Closed on Sunday.
Osteria I Valtellina
Via Taverna 34
This is a wonderful restaurant located close to Milan Linate airport where the cuisine from one of the nicest areas in Northern Italy, Valtellina, is at its best. Start with the antipasto of raw meet, prosciutto, bresaola and mushrooms. A large tray with all these delicacies will be served and you will start one of the most interesting and delicious gastronomic trips of your life. My personal favourite at “Ai Valtellina” is the “risotto rosso” which is made with a very light red wine and sausage sauce. Main course is always meat cooked in different ways but you may also want to try the “polenta with cheese” which is another one of my favourites. Excellent red wines coming from the north of Italy. Closed on Friday.
Via Guglielmo Marconi 1 (Piazza Duomo)
If you decide to go to Giacomo Arengario you will have lunch or dinner with one of the most extraordinary views in the world as the main façade of the 13th century cathedral and the entrance of the “Galleria” will be located just in front of you! The food is very good and you may taste both meat or seafood. My favourites include the “Paccheri” a very particular type of pasta and the “Pempura of seafood and vegetables”. Excellent wine list, service is efficient and friendly. If you like quiet restaurants do not go there! Always open.
Via Carlo Ravizza 19
Gaspare, the owner of the restaurant and his son Andrea, keep up the tradition of Napolitan cuisine in Milan. A very informal atmosphere with pasta being cooked in many different ways, all of them delicious. As soon as you sit at the table, friendly waiters will offer you wonderful “antipasti”: don’t miss the “crocchette di patate”, panfried potato croquettes which are just outstanding. You cannot leave this restaurant without tasting one of the best seafood in town. Ask Andrea for his personal suggestion and you will be happy. Pizza is also served and it is excellent. Always open.
Palazzo Bagatti Valsecchi
Via Santo Spirito 10 / Via Gesu’ 5
The location of this restaurant, the courtyard and some of the main halls of the Palace Bagatti Valsecchi , is already a reason to try this place. It is located right in front of the Four Seasons Hotel, in the very heart of the city and it is run by the family Travaini. Overall food is excellent and the service is friendly and efficient. In my opinion, the restaurant will please you more at lunch as you will have the opportunity to admire the beauty of the palace and, if you wish, to visit the Bagatti Valsecchi museum which is located in the same building. Closed on Sunday.
Hotel Principe di Savoia
Piazza della Repubblica 17
If you want to have an excellent lunch or dinner in a sophisticated and quiet atmosphere, this is your place. The Acanto restaurant is located inside the Hotel Principe e Savoia, one of the most beautiful hotels in Milan. Food is excellent and the cuisine is quite inventive. The service is very meticulous but friendly at the same time. My personal favourite at Acanto is the Spaghetti alla carbonara which are cooked in front of your table by one of the expert maîtres of the restaurant. Excellent wine list. Always open.
Ristorante D’O di Davide Oldani
Via Magenta 18 – San Pietro all’Olmo / Cornaredo
30-45 minutes by car from Milan
Although it is almost impossible to find a table at Davide Oldani’s restaurant, it is worth giving it a try. Davide Oldani is one of the top disciples of Gualtiero Marchesi the Italian chef who invented the “new” Italian cuisine in the late 70s. After a number of stages in the top restaurants in Europe Davide Oldani came back to his own home town, 30 minutes by taxi from downtown Milan, where he opened a very nice but still a simple place. Dinner there is a unique experience as Davide is simply a genius. You do not want to miss the “Cipolla caramellata” (caramelized onion) and don’t be surprised if you realize that you have ordered it 4-5 times during the same dinner. Reservations for lunch are easier than for dinner.
Ristorante Da Vittorio
Via Cantalupa 17 – Brusaporto / Bergamo
+ 39 035681024
From downtown Milan you get there in 45 minutes by car. Please do know however that this restaurant would be worthy a 4 hours trip, same day! Enter one of the temples of the Italian cuisine with 3 Michelin stars. The owner and first chef Mr. Chicco Cerea is always there to offer you the best of the best of his revisited traditional Italian cuisine. I still remember the mushrooms or truffles menus - a heavenly experience. Seafood is also wonderful and obviously always very fresh. The desserts are a pure delight. Never ending wine list.
Via Montenapoleone 8
+39 0276005599 / +39 0276000578
Cova is one of the most historical coffee places in Milan. Located in the very heart of the city, it is open from early in the morning to late afternoon. If you want to start your day with a wonderful breakfast, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Cova. Espresso and cappuccino are excellent. Various types of croissants are served and they are all delicious. My favourite treat there is a special type of cookies called “Ungheresi al cioccolato”: buy a few of them and you will soon discover that they were not enough! You can also have a nice lunch or aperitivo with an excellent champagne and wine list. Closed on Sunday.
Corso Matteotti 7
Sant’Ambroeus takes its name from the patron of the city and it is one of the most traditional coffee places in Milan. It is excellent for breakfast, lunch and aperitivo prior to dinner. Croissants, chocolates, cakes are wonderful. If you go there for lunch, try the risotto or the “Cotoletta alla Milanese” which are always more than delicious. Closed on Monday.
Pre-dinner (Aperitivo) and Post-diner Drinks
Via Fratelli Gabba 7b
The bar at the Bulgari Hotel is one of the nicest places to have a drink either before or after dinner. The list of champagnes, cocktails and wines is never ending and the atmosphere is very pleasant. It is always very crowded with lots of young businessmen and models and if you want your own table don’t forget to call in advance. You can also have lunch or dinner at the hotel restaurant which is very good, with a very inventive cuisine.
Via Manzoni 31
The bar at the Armani Hotel offers beautiful views on the Duomo and the city centre if you go there during daylight. The list of champagnes and cocktails is impressive. The atmosphere is very nice and it is always very crowded. If you go, you will find here the young protagonists of lively Milan!
Four Seasons Hotel
Via Gesu’ 6/8
The Four Seasons Hotel in Milan used to be a very old monastery and the cloister is still there to be admired by the guests of the hotel restaurant La Veranda located on the ground floor. Right after entering the hotel, the bar is located on your left and it has a very warm atmosphere. If you decide to have a drink there, don’t forget to ask for the mini-pizzas and hand cut prosciutto which are indeed some of my favourites!