Milan has never been the first city anyone thinks of when talking about foodie destinations, but there is something that makes it totally worthy of a spot on any such list: the northern Italian tradition aperitivo.
Aperitivo Tour Around Milan
While the rest of the world celebrates happy hour, Milan’s aperitivo could be called the happiest hour. Aperitivo is usually between 6 and 9 in the early evening. For those few hours the bars and restaurants of the city fill up with people socializing over a drink and some tasty snacks.
For the tiny price of a cocktail or a glass of wine you get to enjoy wide varieties of snacks. Some restaurants are happy just serving some focaccia or small pizza bites while others turn to salad, charcuterie and cheeses. But find the right place at the right time and you might find a whole other level of tasty treats!
Most of the best aperitivo spots are in the Brera neighborhood or in the Naviglio, where the canal lined streets are full of restaurants and bars with outdoor patios. This is where aperitivo starts turning into a party in the later hours of the night.
Panzerotti di Luini, Via Santa Radegonda 16
Panzerotti di Luini is not an aperitivo place, but this tiny spot serving street food on a narrow alley behind the Duomo deserves a special mention. I’ve been a huge fan of their panzerottis for a decade, and they continue to be one of the tastiest (and greasiest) treats the city offers. Unfortunately the story got out and the place always has massive lines. Still, a great place to start this bar crawl.
10 Corso Como, Corso Como 10
This is Milan in miniature size. Here you can find some of the best shopping opportunities, a fantastic art gallery, a wonderfully curated bookstore and a charming inner courtyard where you can enjoy some aperitivo, with insanely overpriced drinks and insanely beautiful model types, of course.
Head south through the Porta Garibaldi and you’ll find yourself on Corso Garibaldi, one of the best streets for aperitivo fans. Here you can find several fantastic options, like Radetzky Café (Corso Garibaldi 105), Moscatelli (Corso Garibaldi 93) and Marc Jacobs Café at nearby Piazza del Carmine.
The next logical step would be to hop in a cab and head to Naviglio Grande!
Mag, Ripa di Porta Ticinese 43, Naviglio Grande
Mag is a very atmospheric speakeasy type of bar with delightfully beautiful staff, delicious cocktails and lots of aperitivo snacks. They also have the last terrace that gets a dose of sunlight before dark!
El Brellin, Alzaia Naviglio Grande 14
This is perhaps the most popular aperitivo spot in the Naviglio, but if the weather is nice most customers will spread out onto the streets. Grab a drink and a plate and meet some new friends by the canal!
Turbigo, Alzaia Naviglio Grande 8
Just a few steps away is one of the best restaurants of the neighborhood. If aperitivo has done its part and made you hungry, head here for a delicious dinner…
Spritz, Ripa di Porta Ticinese 9
…or if you still crave more aperitivo, head here for a wide drink list (mostly variations on Aperol Spritz). Try a liquorice or banana flavored spritz and gorge on their aperitivo buffet, which usually has a huge bucket full of Nutella as its crown jewel.
If you end your aperitivo tour drunk and full, you’ve done something right!