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Emma Harper

Emma Harper

Contributor, Milan

Emma Harper is a Milan-based editor and writer specializing in arts and culture, travel, history, food, and design. She was previously an editor at Culinary Backstreets and Cornucopia Magazine, based in Istanbul. As well as writing for Time Out she has contributed to BBC Travel, Hyperallergic, Paste magazine and Roads & Kingdoms.

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Articles (10)

The 16 best restaurants in Milan

The 16 best restaurants in Milan

The Milanese look pretty darn good, so it stands to reason that they all happen to be eating pretty well, right? Right. Few cities do good food like this stylish spot in the north of Italy, and gastronomic greatness is found across the city, from neighbourhood trattorias to high-end Michelin magic. Eating a good meal is an integral part of the perfect day in Milan, every bit as important as checking out the famous attractions and indulging in some world-beating shopping. The city kitchens are Milan’s great equalizer, where the celebrity chefs rub shoulders with homely history, and the results are delicious. Here are the best restaurants in Milan. RECOMMENDED: 📍 The best things to do in Milan🚂 The best day trips from Milan🏡 The best Airbnbs in Milan🛏 The best hotels in Milan This guide was last updated by Michelle Schoenung, a writer based in Milan. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines. 

The 22 best things to do in Milan that are actually worth it

The 22 best things to do in Milan that are actually worth it

Magnificent, marvellous Milan. Milano has an intangible quality that cannot be faked, an undeniable sense of style that permeates almost every neighbourhood and flows through the veins of those from here. Beautiful buildings and hotels are everywhere, the food is a triumph. Shopping? Oh, baby, get ready to splash the cash and flash the plastic because Milan is where people go to be seen. Oh and make sure you don't miss out on its incredible Airbnbs if you need somewhere to stay, too. The best thing to do in Milan is to look your best and feel more stylish than ever before, but the city also packs in a fabulous number of more traditional tourist activities to sink your teeth into. Follow our guide and Da Vinci’s canals, and you’re in for a darling of a time. RECOMMENDATION: ⏱ How to spend the perfect weekend in Milan🍴 The best restaurants in Milan🛏 The best hotels in Milan 🏠 The best Airbnbs in Milan

Public transportation in Milan

Public transportation in Milan

Milan is a great city break, but it’s definitely not the easiest city to get around in. And there’s so many things to do, you’re sort of bound to lose your way a bit at some point. Luckily, its transport system is simple to get on board with (with a few tips).  Italy’s shopping capital has an easy-to-use, well-integrated public transportation system covering four metro lines (M1, M2, M3 and M5, logically), trams and buses, with affordable tickets and passes available. Our local writers have used it many, many times, so they’re well qualified to give you advice. Here’s how to do transport in Milan.  RECOMMENDED:⏱ How to spend the perfect weekend in Milan🍴 The best restaurants in Milan🛏 The best hotels in Milan 🏠 The best Airbnbs in Milan Emma Harper is a writer based in Milan. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines. 

The 10 best day trips from Milan

The 10 best day trips from Milan

For food, fashion and culture, everyone knows how great Milan is as a city break. There’s a reason people love it so much, and if you’ve been there, you’ll know what we mean. But if there’s one thing that’s underrated about Milan, it’s how close it is to a load of other great cities. No, seriously. Spend a weekend here and you’re just an hour from a foodie capital, from one of the most famous lakes in the world, and a number of under-the-radar Italian spots you can show off about when you get home. We’ve compiled a list of the best day trips from Milan, all reachable by train in under two hours. Happy exploring! RECOMMENDED:🇮🇹 The best places to visit in Italy📍 The best things to do in Milan🍝 The best restaurants in Milan🛍️ Where to go shopping in Milan🏛️ Must-see attractions in Milan Emma Harper is a writer based in Milan. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines. 

The 10 most beautiful buildings in Milan

The 10 most beautiful buildings in Milan

Travelling is about experiencing new cultures, sampling new foods and getting out of your own bubble. But for the world’s most beautiful cities, a really big part of visiting is just taking in your surroundings and admiring the architecture (and, you know, potentially snapping a photo or two for the ol’ gram).  And if you’re a sucker for travel aesthetics, you’ll know that Milan is one of the top hitters. Its main selling point? The many, many incredible buildings, from the famous Duomo di Milano to the rather insane looking Bosco Verticale. Here is a complete guide to Milan’s architecture. Happy snapping.  RECOMMENDED:📍 The best things to do in Milan🍴 The best restaurants in Milan🛏 The best hotels in Milan 🏠 The best Airbnbs in Milan This guide was written by Emma Harper, a writer based in Milan. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines. 

The 13 best bars in Milan

The 13 best bars in Milan

As a city, Milan is achingly cool. It’s full of hidden art galleries, culture spots and a fabulous food scene too, plus it’s the place for a serious shopping trip, where you can snap up vintage bits and designer gems. But when your itinerary is this packed, what’s the one thing you need? That’s right, it’s a drink.  Luckily, Milan’s bar scene is as cool as the city itself, with enough aperitivo, swanky wine bars and poppin’ tunes to keep you going through the night. So once you’ve spent your day traipsing round Milan, soaking up the culture and having an all-round wonderful time? Pop into one of its best bars. You won’t regret it. Here are the best bars to drink at in Milan.  RECOMMENDED:🛍️ Where to go shopping in Milan🍴 The best restaurants in Milan🍕 The best pizza in Milan🏘️ Where to stay in Milan🏠 The best Airbnbs in Milan

How to eat like a local in Milan

How to eat like a local in Milan

It’s easy to follow a few guides and eat at the most recommended places in a city, but if you’re in Milan, you’ll need a step up. In Milan, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to do your research beforehand, and truly immerse yourself in the foodie culture here. When in Rome, you might do as the Romans do, but in Milan, you’ve got to eat what the Milanese eat.  Well, luckily for you, our experts in Milan do a hell of a lot of eating, and we’re here to give you the inside scoop. Think sweet treats, soft bread and cheesy, meaty main dishes. Think quick lunchtime snacks and hearty dinners. Whatever Milanese food you’re desperate to try, we’ve rounded it all up right here (and exactly where to get it, for good measure). Here are the best local foods to eat in Milan.  RECOMMENDED: 🍴  The best restaurants in Milan🍕  The best pizza in Milan🛍️ Where to go shopping in Milan📸 The most Instagrammable places in Milan🏘️ Where to stay in Milan

7 must-see attractions in Milan

7 must-see attractions in Milan

Fashion-obsessed and packed with culture, Milan is a city that shows the power of being brave enough to combine style and substance in equal measure. The best attractions in Milan showcase what this place is all about, from forward-thinking galleries to grand old buildings of importance. Milan is a true cultural Mecca, packed with museums, restaurants and shopping. Milan is, in a word, marvellous.There is plenty to see and do here if you scratch below the surface, but ticking off the bucket list sites should be the first thing on the to-do list. These seven are where you should start.

Os melhores restaurantes em Milão

Os melhores restaurantes em Milão

Conhecida como a capital da moda, Milão tem sofrido uma grande transformação na última década. À medida que a cidade tem vindo a crescer, têm aumentado também os restaurantes de qualidade. Dos mais tradicionais e familiares aos mais modernos e inventivos. Em Milão, encontram-se alguns dos melhores ingredientes e também algumas técnicas muito particulares na cozinha. Eis os melhores restaurantes de Milão. Recomendado: 48 horas em Milão

The best time to visit Milan

The best time to visit Milan

Follow the lead of Milan’s trendsetters and visit the city in the spring or fall, which is when Milan Design Week and Milan Fashion Week, respectively, are held. Unlike summer, when the air becomes soupy and the mosquitoes come out to play, spring and fall offer bright sunny days without the excessive heat and humidity–perfect for exploring the city's attractions on foot and enjoying sidewalk seating at the city's top restaurants. There’s always the chance of rain, but like London, Milan has a charm of its own on wet days. Winters are usually foggy and gray, but not overly cold, making it a good time to get lost in the city’s many art museums, galleries and cozy bars. RECOMMENDED: Your essential Milan travel guide

Listings and reviews (38)

Dongiò

Dongiò

This old fashioned trattoria in Porta Romana serves Calabrian dishes to a perennially packed dining room full of locals who come to chatter away with friends over plates of hearty food. Family-run, Dongiò is a vanishing breed, one of those typical trattorias that you can count on for good food at reasonable prices. The kitchen specializes in southern home cooking, like the restaurant’s signature dish, spaghettoni alla tamarro, a fresh pasta dish with tomato sauce and n’duja sausage, a spicy spreadable sausage paste commonly found down south made of pig shoulder and belly, as well as organ meat. If you’re vegetarian, order their parmigiana di melanzane, the Italian precursor to the popular Italian-American dish eggplant Parmesan—it’s a gooey reminder that the original is almost always better. Time Out tip: To reach peak relaxation before your meal, head to the nearby QC Termemilano, a spa in Porta Romana where you can float in hot pools and steam yourself in a converted tram.

Ravioleria Sarpi

Ravioleria Sarpi

This takeout spot in Chinatown is a hole-in-the-wall, Milan-style: the sleek glass and metal counter is recessed into a clean white exterior wall. In Milan’s street food desert, Ravioleria Sarpi is an oasis. Owner Hujian Zouh (Agie to his friends), who partnered with local butcher Walter Sirtori to source high quality meat, oversees the minimal kitchen, which consists of three experienced home cooks. Their pork, beef and vegetable dumplings are delectable, but the oversized baozi (steamed bun) is the standout dish. The dough is pillowy and slightly sweet, which contrasts nicely with the fatty, juicy beef filling—you’ll see people munching on one as they walk up and down the pedestrian street. Other dishes are lighter, and with arguably more complex flavor profiles, but are not as easy to eat while strolling. Time Out tip: Milan’s Chinatown is home to the oldest and largest Chinese community in Italy and, as a result, if you prefer a sit-down meal, some excellent hot pot and dim sum spots can also be found in the area.

Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo

Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo

Gino Sorbillo, the Milan outpost of one of Naples’ best pizzerias, is a stone’s throw from the Duomo and one of the few places in the area where you’re guaranteed to get quality food at a good price. It has the feel of a family-run pizza parlor, albeit one that’s incredibly efficient and operates with all the latest technology. There are around a dozen pizzas on the menu, and all of them are crafted with carefully chosen ingredients—some of which are even labeled as Slow Food “Ark of Taste,” a designation given to heritage products that are unique to a region. If you’re a pesto lover, be sure to order the Pesto di Basilico, a pie slathered in the bright green sauce. But be prepared to wait; the line for a table often stretches out the door, particularly during the lunch hour rush. Time Out tip: Pizzas are large, so you should share one if you don’t have a big appetite. This is especially true because the pizza, which is only in the oven for a short period of time, is best when eaten hot and fresh.

Casa Ramen

Casa Ramen

With only a few tables, this ramen joint in Isola is worth the inevitable wait if only to taste an Italian chef’s take on the Japanese noodle dish. While the rest of Milan is enamored with sushi, owner Luca Catalfamo fell in love with ramen, seeing a similarity between the Japanese staple and Italian cuisine. His broth is rich and certain versions, like Miso On Fire, have quite a kick to them. But ramen purists should be forewarned that Catalfamo likes to tinker with his ramen formula, evident in his decision to make his noodles with durum wheat flower, which is traditionally used to make pasta. Time Out tip: Isola has some funky street art, so while you’re waiting for your table, walk down Via Carmagnola and Via Angella della Pergola to take it all in, and then stop by Frida, a funky café, for a drink.

Pescaria

Pescaria

With its all-white interiors and fisherman-basket lampshades, seafood sandwich shop Pescaria looks like it was plucked from a small seaside town and dropped down in the middle of Milan, just steps away from the city’s shiny new high-rises. And that’s not too far from the truth—a much beloved eatery in Polignano a Mare, a picturesque town on Italy’s southern Adriatic coast, Pescaria launched its Milan outpost in 2016. The narrow eatery is crammed with fashionable locals who are willing to brave the long lines for a bite of the restaurant’s transcendent sandwiches, which combine the freshest seafood with an array of unexpected ingredients, like pesto, fried turnip greens and crunchy artichokes. Go for their signature octopus sandwich—the lightly fried octopus is the right balance of crispy and juicy and pairs beautifully with a rich ricotta cheese. Time Out tip: The line is long to put in your order, so by the time you get to the cashier you may already be hungry. If that’s the case, pick out a few seafood bites from the glass display case next to the till—they are served immediately and make for a nice appetizer while you wait for your food to arrive.

Un Posto a Milano

Un Posto a Milano

The seasonal menu at Un Posto a Milano is simple, fresh and elegant, much like its digs in a restored 18th-century farmhouse hidden among Porta Romana’s apartment blocks. Chef Nicola Cavallaro sources produce from local farms and crafts dishes that ooze an understated excellence. In the summer, grab a table on the outdoor patio or in the front dining room, a vaulted space with exposed red brick walls, outsized windows and muted color accents: sea green Formica tabletops, Eton blue chairs and apricot orange and straw yellow wall panels. In the winter, hunker down in the back room, where the low ceilings and a massive fireplace, when combined with one of the restaurant’s homemade pastas, make you feel as warm and snug as an oversized wool jacket. Time Out tip: Check out the events board at the entrance to the farmhouse, which is also home to a guesthouse, flower shop, farmers’ market and exhibition space. You just might find yourself spending an entire day there.

The Botanical Club

The Botanical Club

Although The Botanical Club in increasingly hip Isola is technically both a bar and restaurant, don’t bother with the back dining room; instead, hunker down at the retro green and metal bar in the front of the house, where you can spend a night in cocktail heaven. Owners Alessandro Longhin and Davide Martelli, who opened The Botanical Club in 2015, are serious about their spirits, opening Italy’s first gin micro-distillery on the premises. Their signature cocktail menu changes every month, but be sure that whatever you try is made with one of their limited edition gins. And come early if you want a seat, as the small bar fills up fast. Time Out tip: If you have a bigger crew, go to The Botanical Garden outpost on Via Tortona, which has a much larger bar and seating area. As a bonus, you can order from their raw bar—talk about rarefied bar snacks!

Bar Basso

Bar Basso

With its chandeliers, ornate bar and wooden wainscoting, Bar Basso is an impeccable example of Milan’s old world glamour, a place where an eclectic mix of students and professionals, designers and neighbourhood locals go to drink in style. The negroni sbagliato (a “wrong” negroni where spumante instead of gin is mixed with Campari and vermouth) was first created at this classic Milanese cocktail bar and is still served today in an enormous glass. Located in Città Studi, an area buzzing with students, Bar Basso fills up during Salone del Mobile, the annual design week, when it becomes the after-party venue of choice. Time Out tip: The close connection between Bar Basso and the global design community dates to the 1980s when Maurizio Stocchetto, the bar’s owner, befriended a group of English designers. The normally packed bar is even more difficult to navigate during Salone del Mobile, so be sure to check the calendar before you go (unless literally rubbing elbows with designers strikes your fancy).

Cantine Isola

Cantine Isola

Occupying a small, den-like space in Chinatown, Cantine Isola has an interior that’s more cozy than cramped, with a narrow bar along one wall and floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves packed tightly with wine bottles grouped according to region and country. Below most of the bottles are handwritten notes describing the contents’ origins and flavor profile. One has the sense that there’s a unique bottle of wine that perfectly suits each guest’s tastes and personality. Best of all, the barmen speak English and can guide you to that perfect glass or bottle based on your stated preferences (and no need to be a wine connoisseur—they will listen patiently as you fumble for words to describe the wines you like). Even though foreigners are welcomed with open arms, the crowd is an equal mix of regulars and visitors, more proof that this spot is the real deal. Time Out tip: If the small selection of nibbles on offer at Cantine Isola doesn’t sate your hunger, pop across the street for steamed pork buns at takeout stand Ravioleria Sarpi. They make for a rather unexpected but tasty accompaniment to a bottle of vino.

Bere Buona Birra

Bere Buona Birra

More clubhouse than bar, this craft beer spot in Porta Romana is upfront about its priorities: its name translates as “Drink Good Beer.” The informal bar occupies a small storefront featuring playful art on the walls and littered with stools and a few nondescript wooden tables. But most people congregate around the bar’s six taps and the two coolers full of bottled craft Italian and European beer; crates on the opposite wall showcase bottles you can buy and take home. Owner Filippo is equal parts friendly and knowledgeable, making him an excellent guide on your quest to find your perfect beer. There are certainly plenty of options—by eschewing contracts with specific breweries, Bere Buona Birra has the freedom to buy from a wide range of vendors, rotating some of the best Italian and European craft beers through their taps. Time Out tip: Ask Filippo to give you a tour of their reserves in the cellar—it may sound creepy, but it’s a beer lover’s dream come true.

Ceresio 7

Ceresio 7

Perched on the top of an imposing 1930s building in between Porta Nuova and Chinatown and steps from the Monumental Cemetery, Ceresio 7 attracts a well-heeled crowd who are drawn to its fashion roots and striking views. This lofty venue, with its two pools, cigar room and sleek interiors, is owned by Canadian fashion designers Dean and Dan Caten, whose label Dsquared2 is housed next door. Come at sunset, so that you can see Milan’s relatively new skyline awash in pink light. The bar doesn’t accept reservations, so come early to grab a poolside couch for aperitivo, when your drink order will be accompanied by a few small plates. Time Out tip: If you want to look your best before joining the fashionable crowd at Ceresio 7, book a spa treatment at the Ceresio 7 Gym & Spa in the same building. Both single and multiple entry passes are available.

Rita & Cocktails

Rita & Cocktails

A reliable spot for inventive cocktails, Rita & Cocktails stands out in the Navigli: the canal area is teeming with mediocre establishments, and this contemporary bar is like a port in the storm. The specialty here is fresh, quality ingredients and clever flavour combinations. Outside of the glass-encased patio, the main focal point is a bespoke wooden bar that practically fills the room; its light-coloured wood and under-bar lighting gives the space a crisp and modern feel. Pull up a stool and order yourself a Gin Zen, a refreshing cocktail made of gin, freshly crushed ginger, lime and soda. Or you can place your trust in the hands of the friendly staff by telling them your likes and dislikes and letting them craft a drink perfectly suited to your tastes. Time Out tip: Take the time to walk along the canals—the Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese—that give this historic area its name. Constructed over hundreds of years, with input from Leonardo da Vinci himself, Milan’s system of navigable and interconnected canals granted the landlocked city more access to the outside world.