The Lombardy region eats differently from the rest of Italy. Its food is influenced by neighbouring Austria and Central Europe.
Milan’s added status as a financial, industrial and fashion capital of Italy, infuses an element of richness and style.
Typical dishes are Risotto alla Milanese, cooked with saffron and served with mains such as ossobuco, veal shanks cooked in wine broth with vegetables.
Also popular is Cotoletta Alla Milanese, fried veal cutlet that has been breaded.
Milan and the Lombardy region cooks in butter and lard, very different from the southern Italian olive oil and tomatoes. Saffron is an important ingredient.
Stracchino, Gorgonzola, Grana Padano, Brescia - the region has many cheeses and typical meals always have cheese on the table.
Typical local desserts are Barbajada, a frothy drink of chocolate, coffee and milk; or Panettone sweet bread, candied fruit and mascarpone cream sauce.
Milan being the economic centre of Italy, is an expensive place to eat out.
There are cheap places too, as in every city, though on average expect to pay more in Milan.
It is typical of North Italy to head for an aperitif or aperitivo between work and dinner.
An aperitivo is commonly served along with a side like bruschetta, cheeses or sometime meat.
Happy Hour actually refers to the free snacks, not the usually understood reduced price or free drinks.
Locals in Milan favour Negroni, which is a drink made with gin, vermouth and bitter liqueur.
Or they take a Spritz, which is also popular in Venice.
Nightlife in Milan starts early with an aperitivo; along with mingling and lively conversations.
There are also places to party after dinner, and the overall nightlife style quotient is high, befitting a global fashion capital.
Popular nightlife areas in Milan are:
- Navigli : It is along the canals and is the heart of Milan nightlife, popular with the young who crowd bars and barges playing live jazz.
- Brera : This part of town is upmarket and arty, with a more ‘polished’ crowd who come by after an evening at La Scala or the galleries.
- Garibaldi and Corso Como : With famous pubs and stylish bars, here the celebrity quotient is high.