Every April, Milan is overrun with designers from all over the world who come to exhibit and experience the “Salone del Mobile,” an international furniture and design fair. Generically dubbed “Design Week,” the happenings outside the Salone (or “Fuorisalone”) have become as important as the ones inside. I live in the Zona Tortona area of Milan which is the central hub for all things Fuorisalone. So, in honor of design week I decided to share some of my favorite spots in the neighborhood, for those of you who might find themselves in the area next week.
Ofelé, Caffé & Coccole. Via Savona 7. This cosy café offers delicious homemade cakes and muffins for breakfast, bagel sandwiches and salads at lunch, and is famous for its weekend brunch. Special bonus: the owner has most of my cookbooks and often uses my recipes for the shop!
Hambistro. Via Savona 13. Besides a great classic hamburger, this little place offers veggie burgers, avocado toast and gourmet hot dogs.
Maido! Via Savona 15. If you’re looking for something different, you must try this tiny restaurant that specializes in Japanese street food. Get the okonomiyaki, a kind of cabbage-filled pancake topped with shrimp, veggies or pork belly.
Trattoria Aurora. Via Savona 23. This very classic Italian trattoria has a beautiful outside terrace and specializes in traditional dishes from the neighboring Piedmont region.
Sorbillo Olio a Crudo. Via Montevideo 4. Fancy and delicious pizza from the world-famous Neapolitan pizzaiolo Gino Sorbillo. They don’t take reservations, however, and there is often a long wait for dinner.
Al Fresco. Via Savona 50. The highlight of this upscale restaurant is the delightful inner courtyard which is the perfect place for a meal on a sunny spring day. The menu is creative and seasonal, with fresh produce, mediterranean flavors and a focus on low-temperature cooking.
Gogol and Company. Via Savona 101. This is an adorable bookshop and café. I’ve never actually eaten here but they have great coffee and atmosphere.
Basra Sushi. Via Tortona 12. Solid sushi restaurant with Japanese-inspired desserts.
Osteria dei Binari. Via Tortona 3. This classic Italian trattoria specializes in Milanese cuisine.
Morna. Via Tortona 21. This is not a restaurant but a great happy-hour spot. Sit on the terrace to watch the old-timers play bocce while you sip a great cocktail.
God Save the Food. Via Tortona 34. This massive restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, aperitivo, dinner, and everything in between. They also have fresh juices and generally something to please everyone.
The Botanical Club. Via Tortona 33. This is a hot aperitivo spot as they distill their own gin, make great cocktails and offer creative small plates for snacking while you drink. They’re also popular for lunch and dinner, I often order the octopus poke when I’m in the mood for something healthy.