Serpentine stone streets and quintessential Milanese charm characterize the alluring Brera neighborhood close to Sforza Castle. Historically, artists and intellectuals flocked to its many cafes to smoke, eat, converse, sketch, write and do their typical “artist café” thing. Here’s a look at some of the best restaurants in Milan’s Brera, and you can also check out our picks for the nearby Corso Garibaldi.
The neighborhood is easily reachable from the historic center. At Teatro La Scala, walk down Via Giuseppe Verdi until you hit Via dell’Orso, and you’re there. Turn down any of the side streets on your right, and you’ll soon see artisan shops, cafes, design stores and more!
The area’s main attraction is the Pinacoteca di Brera art museum. While art snobs might argue that the collection doesn’t boast the grandeur of, say, the Uffizi or the Vatican, Pinacoteca di Brera holds its own with work from Caravaggio, Raphael and Piero della Francesca, among others. If you’re in the neighborhood or visiting the nearby Sforza Castle, here are five of the best restaurants in Milan’s Brera or its immediate surroundings.
Latteria di San Marco
Arrive by the 7.30 pm opening time to get one of the six tables; otherwise, be prepared to wait as Latteria doesn’t take any reservations. But trust us, it’s worth it! Chef Arturo Maggi and his wife Maria run this adorable restaurant in a historic former latteria, or dairy. The menu changes daily; Arthur does the cooking while Maria handles the dining room in a no-nonsense manner. If you can’t make it for dinner, drop in for lunch.
- Via S. Marco, 24
- +39 02 659 7653
- Monday-Friday: 12.30pm-2.30pm; 7.30pm-10.pm
- Closed Saturday and Sunday
CASH ONLY LARTE
Situated in the Brera outskirts, just a few steps away from Teatro La Scala on Via Manzoni, Larte is a multi-function venue with something for everyone. Take a café and pastry for breakfast in the front café, or drop in for a spremuta during the afternoon. Enjoy lunch or dinner in the restaurant, which offers salads, pastas, meats, fish and sandwiches. The excellent wine list features an ample selection of Southern Italian bottles.
- Via Manzoni 5; +39 02 890 96 950
- Monday – Saturday: 12:30pm – 14:30; 7:30pm – 11pm
- Bar opens at 8am
RISTORANTE EMILIA E CARLO
If you’re looking for more of a formal meal, then reserve a table at Ristorante Emilia e Carlo. The rotating menu features precious dishes such as Tuscan ham with figs, spaghetti with clams & bottarga and Chianina beef mille-feuille, while the wine list showcases mostly Italian bottles rounded out by some French and a handful of New World options.
- Via Giuseppe Sacchi 8; +39 02 862100
- Dinner Monday – Saturday
- Lunch: Monday – Friday
FIORAIO BIANCHI CAFFÈ
This 40-year-old locale boasts a French-style ambiance, offering an experience unlike any other in Milan: flower shop meets café. The beautiful floral collection, displayed as thoughtfully as one would curate a museum exhibit, is also for sale. Open for lunch and dinner; the seasonal menu has included items such as red tuna roe with buffalo ricotta and asparagus, Iberico ham with Manchego D.O.P. pecorino, and veal sirloin with potatoes and herbes de Provence.
- Via Montebello 7; +39 02 2901 4390
- Monday to Saturday: 8 am to 12 am
- Monday to Saturday: 12 pm – 3 pm and 8 pm to 12 am
- Closed Sundays, but open for brunch only on the last Sunday of every month
Although not vegetarian, legumes and vegetables take the lead on this delightful restaurant’s menu, which specializes in organic and biodynamic ingredients. The menu of simple, flavorful food changes daily while to drink; you may choose from a considerable selection of all-natural wines.
- Via dell’Orso 2; +39.02 890.966.64
- Monday – Friday: 12 pm to 3pm; 7:30pm to 11pm
- Saturday: 12pm – 3pm; 7:30pm to 11:30pm
- Sunday: 12:30 to 2:30
Young 30-something chef Daniel Canzian, a Gualtiero Marchesi alum, serves exciting, flavorful contemporary Italian fare. The chef’s table in the open kitchen is the best seat in the house. Dinner averages around 60 euro per person for food, so this is something definitely on the more upscale side, but there is a lighter menu available at lunch.
- Via San Marco angolo Castelfidardo; +39 02 6379 3837
- Monday-Friday: 12pm-3pm; 6pm-12amt
- Saturday: 6pm-12am
- Closed Sunday