For me Navigli is the nicest area in Milan to spend an evening. The canals and old buildings give it a certain atmosphere you won’t find elsewhere. The canal side is lined with buzzing bars and interesting little vintage shops. It’s also home to my favourite restaurant in the city…
Trattoria Milanese (Intermediate A), 30 Viale Gorizia, Tel. 02 835 7670, www.trattoriamilanese.com
This local institution is the best place to come for traditional Milanese fare that I know of. It’s old school and atmospheric; popular with locals and tourists alike, and is the latest entry in my list of favourite restaurants of all time.
I like the staff and the old school ambience but the food is just fantastic.
I reserved a table for when they opened at 7.30 on a Tuesday fearing I wouldn’t get in. I needn’t have worried as there were only other two tables in by 8. However, everyone else arrived at 9 and there wasn’t an empty chair in the place. I’d imagine it’s still probably a good idea to book if you’re going at the weekend though.
I’m usually pretty good at understanding Italian menus but this one defeated me, with lots of dishes and food words I’d not come across before, all local specialities.
I started with Insalata di Nervetti (A), a tasty combination of onions, cannellini beans and veal cartilage, which was the best I’d ever tasted.
Ok so it was only the second time I’ve ever had it (see Altri Tempi in Palermo) but it reinforced my opinion that you should try offal in good places like this as you may be pleasantly surprised.
The second dish of Polpettine di Sanato con Porcini (A), veal meatballs in boletus mushroom sauce with roast rosemary potatoes on the side (B+) was also excellent.
The half litre of Barbera d’Alba, one of the best house wines I’ve ever had, went with the food sublimely. With good legs and a great nose, it was a real bargain at only €7.
The only let down was the dessert, a slice of Meneghina cake with ice cream and Grand Marnier. I found it quite tasteless (C) which my reinforced my belief that puddings are one area where British cuisine excels that of the Italians (controversial I know).
I was cheered though by the five-year-old house grappa that I had with it, both glasses courtesy of the kindly waiter.
The bill came to a very reasonable €39. I left the place purring, and resolving to come back as soon as possible. After a gentle promenade along the canal I hopped on the metro back to the hotel and slept like a baby for eight hours, which is very unlike me. Such is the power of good food and drink. Trattoria Milanese is unmissable as far as I’m concerned.