A place where fashion and art collide, Milan is a place where the streets are paved with history as freshly baked brioches waft through the morning air.
I am a bit geographically challenged (which is ironic, I know, for someone who wants to travel the world), but when I realized just how close Milan is to Zurich, my boyfriend, Michael, and I decided to take a weekend trip there.
Friday morning, we packed our bags and headed off to the airport. For some reason, we decided to fly there and book a train for the way back. I wish we had just booked a flight round-trip, though, because the price was only a 40 franc difference and the train ride home was hell (but I’ll get to that in another post).
As anyone who has ever been to Italy knows, it’s hard to cover an Italian city in just a few days. When a country is so riddled with history and culture (and food!) it feels next to impossible to see everything you want to see. However, Michael and I jammed packed our weekend with all of the activities that gave us the perfect weekend in Milan.
When we arrived, the smell of fall mixing with the street exhaust and mid-afternoon rain filled our noses. We dropped our bags off at our Airbnb, dried ourselves, and set off to find food. I love Italian food. This is no secret to anybody. After I left Sicily, I was basically a bowl of spaghetti in a dress. This time was no different.
Before I travel anywhere new, I always try to make a list of places I want to eat because that’s generally where my priorities lie. So, of course, the same rules applied in Milan.
We walked the streets, hand in hand, umbrellas in air, our stomachs rumbling.
If you’re just going to spend a weekend in Milan, I suggest trying to gorge yourself on as much of the food as possible because it’s the kind of food that makes your soul feel full.
Throughout the entire weekend, we ate as much as possible.
For breakfast, we had flakey, just out of the oven chocolate brioches at Pasticceria Marchesi, an old antique cafe filled with locals.
We tried fried panzerottis at Luini Panzerotti which, despite feeling like a tourist attraction, was worth the wait in line.
For just 7 euros, you can bite into a pillow of fried cheese, fresh tomato sauce, and pesto. It’s flooded with flavor and comes in both sweet and savory options.
We even had sushi at this place called Shion Sushi Bar, which I know does not seem like the thing to eat in Italy, but Michael had never had it before and our Airbnb host recommended one nearby. Switzerland is not known for it’s Asian cuisine, so I have to be honest that I just had a craving for sushi and needed to get my fill.
I could write an entire post dedicated to each place we visited, but the one restaurant I really want to give a shout out to is Ristorante Il Caminetto, a family owned restaurant nestled on a side street near Stazione Centrale.
This place exceeded my expectations. After an apertivo and a quick run to dry off at our Airbnb, we decided to walk to the restaurant in the rain. I am not sure why we were compelled to walk over taking the metro, but my god, this place was worth the walk.
We walked in, our hair and clothes soaking wet, and were instantly met with the smell of garlic and spices, a warmth grazing our skin as we were met by a very tall, balding, overexcited Italian man in a white shirt and black apron.
The experience of eating is often mixed with the taste and smell and look of the food as well as the dining experience, and let me tell you, we had one hell of a dining experience. Roberto, the lively man who sat us, was instantly captivated by us. After he took our drink order, he brought out way more wine than I had ordered with a wink and an antipasto on the house.
The plate was covered with fresh bruschetta, arancini stuffed with beef, and fresh bread with olive oil for days. Both Michael and I ordered the house special, a risotto with osso bucco. Roberto was so delighted by this that he clapped his hands together and gave Michael a thumbs up.
“Where are you both beautiful people from?” he asked us.
“I’m from New York,” I said.
“And I’m from Switzerland,” Michael added.
Roberto got so excited then that I thought he was going to ask us to marry him. It turns out that he had misheard Michael and thought that he was from Sweden, which is an honest mistake, especially since he has that whole blonde hair, blue eyed thing going for him. Michael was too polite to correct him so when Roberto started raving about the Swedish football team, Michael joined in. Roberto had such an energy about him that it if he had raved about an off brand toilet paper, we would have gotten excited.
Roberto took off, after a high five for Michael and a kiss on the hand for me, and what he brought us was the biggest portion of risotto I have ever seen in my life.
I’m not a huge fan of risotto normally, but if you’re going to learn to love risotto anywhere, it would be at Il Caminetto.
The risotto had this dark, creamy orange texture to it and the dark, deep texture of the Osso Bucco (veal shank cooked on the bone, a traditional Milanese dish) leaked into the risotto in a way that caused a flavor explosion on your tongue. It was filled with spices but was not overpowered, and the consistency of the risotto was just right. Not too watery, not too stiff. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. I could talk about this risotto until I die.
I ate until I literally could not eat anymore and Roberto stepped in, offering us some dessert.
If you know me at all, you know that I will never, ever, say no to tiramisu. If I could take tiramisu to Vegas and marry it, there is a likely-hood that I would (sorry, Michael). So, even though my stomach was filled with risotto and my eyes were starry eyed with wine, I said yes.
Michael is stronger than I am, so he said no and laid back in his chair, rubbing his belly, looking incredibly content.
The tiramisu, as I expected, did not disappoint. The chef brought it out to us personally and Roberto looked on, a little jealous that we were giving our attention to someone else on the staff that wasn’t him. It was light and fluffy and as the chef topped up my wine, I felt as if I was dining in the clouds.
As we paid the bill (a cheap 50 euros total), Roberto, the chef, and another server came out to give us kisses on the cheek and say goodbye. I am rarely full, but the food we had there left me completely stuffed till the next afternoon.
If you’re going to eat anywhere in Milan, go to Il Caminetto.
The place is so vivacious and every single guest is treated like family. It has the kind of family values I look for in an Italian restaurant and carries a level of authenticity you can’t find anywhere else-unless, of course, you’re dining with your Italian grandmother.
We left that night, our stomachs full, eyes droopy, high off the thrill of good food. In Milan, we learned, the adventure never ends.
With that thought in mind, we went to bed that night, cuddled together, in love with each other and the city in which we slept, dreaming of what the next day had in store.
To Be Continued
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What’s Your Favorite Place to Eat in Milan? Let me know in the comments down below.