Outdoor dining in Milan

Outdoor dining in Milan
Un Posto Milano at Cascina Cuccagna, photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani

Now that the new normal is underway and restaurants are reopening, outdoor dining in Milan is more appealing than ever. ever. The Lombard capital is famous for its courtyards and green spaces, and any given year, locals and travelers can take their pick from dozens of restaurants with outdoor seating. But, given COVID-19 and our dear Lombardy having been the epicenter for a good part of the pandemic, there’s just something about 2020…

Restaurants have reopened with social distancing measures in place, and to their businesses thrive, chef and proprietors haven’t forsaken the delivery and take-out options introduced during the lockdown. Whether you’re seated on a spacious sidewalk or a secluded garden, here (in no particular order) are 12 of the best restaurants for outdoor dining in Milan. Reservations are strongly encouraged for all.

1. Erba Brusca

A bucolic gem in southwest Milan along the Naviglio Pavese, Erba Brusca features an exquisitely cozy seasonal menu prepared by the deft hand of chef Alice Delcourt. I dined here in 2012 (before I moved to Italy) and each subsequent visit has never failed to impress me as much as the first. Website

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCMEsQRlK_R/

2. Innocenti Evasioni

The Zen Garden at this Michelin-starred restaurant is the best place to sample chef Tommaso Arrigoni’s inventive interpretations of classic Milanese cuisine. Website

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkA-8AEFO2-/

3.Un Posto a Milano at Cascina Cuccagna

Chef Nicola Cavallaro fittingly serves his farm-to-table zero-kilometer specialties in a farmhouse that once upon a time sat on the city-proper’s outskirts. Website

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBnzLzIKoBz/

4. e/n enoteca naturale

This natural wine bar is not only a natural wine bar. The kitchen cranks out delightfully simple satisfying fare that you can enjoy alongside your bottle(s). Sit in the sprawling courtyard of this former 1940s schoolhouse. Website

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bz3X1psCVK9/

5. Cittamani

Chef Ritu Dalmia has set up sidewalk seating at Cittamani (one of my faves!) so that you can enjoy her cuisine that couples the flavors of India with Italian ingredients. (I swear the flavors dance vibrantly on your taste buds.) Website

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCldgH3qVkB/

6. Al Fresco

It should come as no surprise that you can dine outdoors at a restaurant with this moniker. While I can’t speak for the current state of the food (I haven’t been there since before chefs Fabio Pisano and Alessandro Negrini of Il Luogo di Aimo and Nadia severed ties with the establishment), I can say the ambiance of this urban oasis is rather transportive. Website

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCVysBlKvRP/

7. Ratanà

If you know me, you know this restaurant is a veritable posto del cuore. I dined here in the dead of a Milanese winter in 2012 and Cesare Battisti’s contemporary take on contemporary Milanese fare stole my heart, cleaving itself in there so indelibly that I still remember that entire fateful meal. It never disappoints any time of the year but is even better during the warm weather months when you can bask in its vast outdoor space. This year, in particular, they’ve inaugurated a long communal table (that adheres to social distancing of course) to offer a rather singular experience. (Fun fact: I actually had what was then my unknowingly last pre-shutdown restaurant meal here.) Website

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCTieYlFPKH/

8. Al Cortile

Part of that inimitable complex that also contains Fonderie Milanese, Al Cortile is a gem. Even if you’re just popping by for an aperitivo, the outdoor unparalleled ambiance is rare for a bustling city. Website

https://www.instagram.com/p/CAVQuFkI9iY/

9. Tipografia Alimentare

Yes, yes, yes! I love this place and if I had a car, I’d drive myself there every day. From the natural wine selection to its artisan products to Mattia Angius’ nuanced dishes to the warm presence of Martina Miccione, Tipografia Alimentare has it all. If you’ve never been, believe me when I say it’s so worth the schlep to the Naviglio Martesana. Get comfy at one of the canal-side tables. Website

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBVDvA5KBve/

10. Mesté

Another one of those places I don’t get to enough. With its super cozy, feels like home vibes, Mesté, an enoteca con cucina (wine bar with kitchen), has a perfect selection of comfort food and natural wines.  They’ve got a dandy set-up going on outside so drop by during lunch, dinner, or aperitivo to enjoy it. Website.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CB0xohMl9XU/

11. Particolare

Characterized by a 100 square meter (1075 square feet) in the heart of Porta Romana, Particolare specializes in Mediterranean cuisine crafted from carefully selected ingredients and is the brainchild of the following trio: chef Andrea Cutillo, sommelier Luca Beretta, and manager Mino Traversi. It’s relatively newish so I haven’t been here (yet) so I can’t speak for the food, but this patio beckons. Website

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBftzMilAHQ/

12. Al Garghet

Looking to get out of the city? Located on the southern outskirts of Milan in the “realm of fields and frogs” (“garghet” means the croaking in Milanese dialect), Al Garghet has seating in a gorgeous onsite garden in which many of the vegetables served are grown. Website

https://www.instagram.com/p/CB8ZCCsJRlK/

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