While most Americans think they know Italian food, the truth is that what we commonly think of as Italian cooking is actually based in traditions frequently found in Southern Italy. In the south, there’s an emphasis on olive oil, tomato bases and mozzarella cheese as opposed to the Mascarpone-, butter- and cream-based dishes of northern cities like Milan. However, your clients need not be disappointed. Having traveled often to Milan, I’ve never been less than impressed with the city’s range of delicious and satisfying foods. Even if your clients find themselves pining for a good red sauce during their visit, the good news is that this forward-thinking city literally has something delectable for every appetite, from pizza and pasta to even (gasp!) sushi.
© Al Garghet 2010
If you find yourself homesick for the brick walls and red-checkered tablecloths of your neighborhood pizza joint, the homey ambiance of Al Garghet is sure to please. But, unlike your local haunt, this former monastery has handwritten menus, carefully paired wine selections and, according to locals, the best veal Milanese in the region. www.algarghet.it
Il Lattughino // © Il Lattughino 2010
When you can’t bring yourself to wander from your hotel, Il Lattughino will bring a surprisingly delicious array of soups, salads and sandwiches to your door without blowing your budget. This new catering chain puts an emphasis on fresh ingredients, fair prices and healthy-but-tasty meals so, just as that chef salad or veggie burger won’t blow your budget, it won’t blow your waistline, either. www.lattughino.com
La Cantina Compagnoni
For a traditional Milanese feast, La Cantina Compagnoni embodies the best parts of the city in which it’s located. The decor is modern and sleek and yet, the restaurant still feels homey, especially once the wine begins to pour. You won’t miss your traditional red sauce once you’ve had ravioli in sage butter, delicately roasted meats and some of the best table bread you can imagine.
Sometimes, lunch on the run can be one of your most deliciously decadent meals of the day. While shopping near the Piazza del Duomo, consider stopping in at this always-crowded storefront for a panzerotti, a calzone-like creation that’s a little sweet, a little savory and always deep fried. Get the traditional tomato sauce and mozzarella combo, but consider trying the funghi (mushroom) or fig, nut and cocoa versions to get the complete experience — something that Milanese locals have been enjoying since 1948.
The Small Sushi Store
© The Small Sushi Store 2010
While it isn’t exactly typical Italian food, Milan’s increasingly diverse population has resulted in a growing variety of international cuisines popping up on the foodie circuit. American sushi lovers will be happy to discover familiar favorites such as California and Philadelphia rolls available for eat-in or take-out, although the more adventurous will want to try the riso Cantonese (peas, prosciutto and eggs) or Thay noodles (curry with chicken and zucchini). After a light lunch, shoppers can pick up unique ceramics, cookies or other gourmet foodstuffs (but, thankfully, no raw fish).www.thesmall.it