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Jan 22, 2011 09:11 AM


First, a general statement. You folks on Chowhound have been a great help to me in the past. Now I'm in the final stages of a trip next month to Milan, Venice (where I've rarely eaten well), Rome (about which I'm fairly well informed), Bari, Trani, Lecce, and on to Athens.

I know Milan was discussed extensively in a very recent post. I'll try to make this one a bit more specific, with my own criteria:

1. I need restaurants in the center city, my hotel on the via Spadari, near the Duomo.
2. I am interested in fine dining, and/or
3. authentic local cuisine.

Help me find restaurants that meet these three criteria. I'll arrive on a Thursday and depart on a Saturday morning.

I've tried to do my homework:

Michelin Italia has these recommendations with these stars:
** CRACCO, via Victor Hugo 4. Some of you have also recommend this place
** TUSSARDI ALLA SCALA, piazza della Scala 5.
Fred Plotkin mentions a place with the same address: MARINO ALLA SCALA. Are they two separate restaurants or the same?
* JOIA, via Panfilo Castaldi 18fish, rec by Plotkin also for fish. Judging from a map, it looks a bit further away. Fish, because I'll be in Milan on a Friday.

Fred Plokin's fine book recommends:
SAVINI, Galleria Vittorio Emauelle II
BOTTIGLIERIA DA PINO, Via Cerva 14, lunch only, low prices

Chowhounds have recommended:
AL MERCANTE at Piazza Mercanti

Please tell me if the places above meet my criteria. And tell me about any other places that do the same. Thanks beforehand.

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  1. How near to your hotel is near? Do you need to walk? Will you take the subway a few stops? What about a cab? I can't speak to your recommendations very thoroughly but I do have some info.

    1) Joia you'll need to cab or subway. I don't want to put words in her mouth but I do recall mbfant had a positive posting about it. I thought it was strictly vegetarian but in Italy I guess that means they probably serve fish.

    2) Trussardi Alla Scala--this is the same as Marino Alla Scala. I think that might be the name of the building. Good reputation though I have never tried it. Nice location within walking distance from your hotel.

    3) Savini got stale, closed down, and then reopened fully renovated in late 2008 or early 2009 if memory serves. It's in the Galleria so even closer than Trussardi. The chef there is young and worked at Cracco. I have not eaten there.

    4) Bottiglieria Da Pino--This place is casual and runs a nice lunch special. The food is well centered on the region and prepared well. It is a nice choice for lunch but it is not fine dining. I like it. On a side note, if you like Valextra leather goods, their poorly marked bad looking outlet shop is right across the street. This might be about a 10 min walk or so from your hotel.

    5) Aimo E Nadia is on the outskirts. You will need cab.

    6) Al Mercante is not really fine dining. It is a nice restaurant that serves Milanese and Northern Italian. I fear it may be a bit touristy.

    I don't know if you can trust Plotkin on Milan. I see he has a new edition of Italy for the Gourmet Traveler which I don't have but I found my copy from 2006 or 2007 was not updated very well when it came out. I'm not saying his opinions are wrong or bad, just the places he lists might not exist anymore. He posts on this board sometimes so maybe he can set us all straight.

    I'm looking forward to your follow up report.

    1. La Vecchia Latteria is a stone's throw from your hotel and it certainly is authentic local cuisine. Lunch only. Cheap, cheap, cheap. Vegetarian, but I seem to recall a few meet dishes, not fish.

      1. Al Porto is a very nice seafood restaurant out near the Canal District. It is right on the #2 street car line that runs very close to the Duomo.

        1. Many places in central Milano have the words "alla Scala" attached because they lend cachet. But they are not OF La Scala. Here is a place that is not in Italy for the Gourmet Traveler because it is of very recent discovery: Emilia e Carlo (Via Sacchi 8; tel 02/875948;; closed Sat noon and Sundays). Delicious food, gracious service, excellent wine list. A ten minute walk from La Scala. Moderately expensive. Even closer to La Scala is Don Carlos, in the Grand Hotel et de Milan. This is where Verdi lived his last days (his suite is upstairs and can occasionally be visited upon request). The rooms of the restaurant evoke opera in general and Verdi in particular. There is a lot of good Milanese and Lombard seasonal cooking and some occasional tendency toward chefiness which you should sniff out and avoid. Very expensive (Via Manzoni 29, tel 02/72314640;; closed August) @badwaiter...You can trust Plotkin. No guidebook that is 5 years old can claim to be fully up to date, which is why there are updates. In addition, I post latest discovered at

          1. A big THANK YOU to those who replied. Your advice helps very much. I am particularly honored that Fred Plotkin replied. I'll post my experience.