Milan, Eating

Right around the corner from our hotel, there is this god-blessed bakery called Luini Panzerotti. It churns out delectable Italian pirozhki called panzerotti. They are deep-fried dough pockets stuffed with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, salami, pepperoni and other Italian goodness. They are hot out of the oven. Need I say more? We have had them every day the place was open. On Saturday, the line stretched across the street, had to go without on Sunday :-(( They are my favorite food here in Milan.
The first night in Milan, we dragged our tired feet and bodies for dinner at Montina Trattoria recommended by Fodor’s. Our dinner reservation was for 7:45 PM. We arrived half an hour earlier hoping to be seated ahead of time only to find the place dark and two gruff-looking men smoking on the porch. They informed us that they open at 7:45. In the rain, we walked up and down the deserted Via Giulio Cesare Procaccini and finally hid from the rain under the cover of a bus stop and waited out the endless half an hour enveloped in the cigarette smoke of the waiting passengers.
Finanlly, at 7:45 on the nose, the light in the trattoria went on and we rushed in. One of the gruff smokers turned out to be the owner, and a friendly one at that. When he heard that we had just arrived this morning, he said “Oh, so you are going to have an early dinner and then go to bed”! An early dinner at 7:45?
Well, other “early birds” trickled in at 8:30, and only at 9 people started gathering in earnest.
How can they eat so late, and all this pasta, and stay so fit, that is what I would like to know!
The next day we discovered the time-honored Milanese tradition called Aperitivo.
A number of bars in the city, in fact, a large number of bars and eateries, serve Aperitivo – a happy hour lasting several hours, where you buy a drink (in our case, a glass of red wine for 7 or 8 euro) and then help yourself to an array of complementary, all-you-can-eat appetizers. The display of appetizers ranges from eatery to eatery. The first aperitivo we attended was at cafe Radetzsy recommended by someone on the internet. The place was unattractive, but apparently popular with the young crowd, as it was rather full. The display of food was minimal. We then went to the Arco della Pace and found a street full of attractive-looking bars with tremendous displays of food, hot and cold. There were mostly 20-somethings hanging out inside and outside, sitting on the ground, standing, walking around with drinks and plates laden with food.
But my Laplander blood does not allow me to consume more than one drink a night, so we went for pizza instead. A middle-aged Italian man at the table nearby knocked down his beer, which spilled on the floor between our tables. He could not stop apologizing, we kept telling him it was ok, but when we asked for a check, we found out he paid for our dinner! Italians are such nice people!
The next day we had aperitivo at Victum Cafe en route from the outlet. This place was quiet and classy, with an older, quieter crowd and a lovely, albeit not a huge display of appetizers.
A great lunch spot was a Mozzarella bar called Obika. We liked it so much, we went there twice. They serve buffalo mozzarella and most wonderful buratta with the freshest of greens and tomatoes accompanied by fine olive oil and Balsamic vinegar.
And last but not least is gelato. Gelato shops are not as ubiquitous in Milan as they are in other, more touristy towns, but in Brera I stumbled into a gelato shop, La Sorbetteria Castiglione, where an Italian stud was mixing gelato by hand in the back of the shop. I splurged and ordered 3 flavors, and had the smoothest, most flavorful, exquisite ice-cream that was so soft that I ended up wearing some of the flavors on my fancy outfit.


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