Seven trendy spots for a break.
Written by Parissa Venturini
With the upcoming Milan Design Week (or ‘Salone del Mobile’, as it’s called in Italian) in April, you might want to consider a trip to the Italian capital of design. There is no better time to visit Milan than in the spring, when the city comes alive with sleek design installations in every corner, and you can finally start enjoying some sunshine. As with any trip to Italy, a (large) part of it should be dedicated to the food, which is why we’ve rounded up the trendiest places that offer a unique design and culinary experience, all in one.
La Rinascente As the saying goes, ‘Milan l’è semper un gran Milan!’, ‘Milan is always a grand Milan!’. Nothing beats the magnificence and architectural perfection of the Duomo Cathedral and all of the buildings surrounding the Piazza. There’s no better place to soak up all the grandeur than the panoramic terrace of famous luxury department store, La Rinascente. Perfect for a light lunch in the sun or an aperitivo at sunset.
Marchesi 1824 Founded in 1824 and currently owned by Prada, Pasticceria Marchesi is one of Milan’s oldest and most traditional patisseries. Famous for ‘panettone’, freshly baked pastries and hot chocolates, it’s the perfect retreat for a chic afternoon tea. As soon as you step into the plush patisserie, with its decorated ceiling and velvet chairs, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a different era. Top tip: if you visit the venue inside Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (there are several locations) ask to be seated by one of the windows for a view over the gallery’s luxurious designer stores.
10 Corso Como Founded by former fashion editor and publisher Carla Sozzani, 10 Corso Como is a unique blend of art, design, fashion and music hidden inside a quiet courtyard. The art gallery and bookstore are at the core of this concept store, that also features luxury fashion shopping and a stylish café restaurant. The garden café is surrounded by plants and seasonal flowers, and is ideal both for a snack and a smoothie on the go, or for a proper meal. The lunch/dinner menu favours fresh seasonal ingredients and offers a choice of vegan and gluten-free options.
LùBar Located inside Milan’s Modern Art Gallery (GAM), the innovative LùBar Café is inspired by traditional Sicilian street food. The restaurant décor is an original mix of styles and cultures, from the Moroccan tables and vases to the made in Berlin recycled plastic bar counter. Palm trees and cacti, among other plants, dominate and decorate the antique architectural arches together with touches of modern furniture. Lùbar often hosts live music in the evenings. This is the right place to go for a meal or an evening drink in a unique setting.
Frida The ‘aperitivo’ is a sacred ritual for the inhabitants of Milan; a moment to unwind and share a few jokes over drinks at the end of a long day. Typically, the traditional ‘aperitivo’ formula allows free access to a large buffet with all sorts of food. Bohemian bistrot Frida is a big favourite with locals in the Isola district. From 6pm onwards both its indoors and outdoors areas come alive with music and laughter, and go on well into the night. A great spot to have a drink (the menu boasts over 80 cocktails), and to make new friends.
Terrazza Triennale If you’re into design and architecture, you shouldn’t miss the chance to see what’s on exhibit at La Triennale Design Museum, inside the Sempione Park. If you’re on the lookout for a quick bite, the Cafè inside the garden offers a vast selection of snacks, whereas if you’d like to savour a fine meal, the upstairs restaurant offers a more refined choice. The sleek glass walls of the Terrace restaurant allow a beautiful view over the Sforza Castle and a good share of Milan’s skyline. Both traditional and creative Italian dishes are prepared on the spot by a team of Michelin star chefs.
Canteen Fact: Tequila bars never go out of style. This trendy Mexican spot opened less than two years ago and is always packed (tip: prebook before your trip to make sure you get a table). Canteen is hidden inside a courtyard, and set on two levels. Outdoors, the décor is cool and minimalistic, and diners are surrounded with greenery and plants. Inside, the stairs lead to an underground Tequila bar, decorated with candles and chandeliers. Post dinner, the Mexican restaurant turns into a hip bar and a dancefloor, with a Dj. Canteen is one of the trendiest places to be in Milan.