Five Noteworthy June Meals

Restaurants Milan June 2024
Asparagus with kefir, dried tomatoes, and sumac at Botoi restaurant in Milan

Once again, June was a month chock full of good eats. Below, in no particular order, you’ll find five memorable meals I had at different restaurants in Milan last month. Coincidentally, they all happen to be just a swift walk from casa mia. I want to give a shout-out to Silvano, which is offering a special summer weekend lunch menu. I didn’t include it here because I dedicated an entire post to my June lunch there, which you can read about here.


I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to get to Botoi – especially since it’s just a 5-minute walk from my house. Lodovico Rosselli’s one-man show belongs on everyone’s Milan list. From the greeting to the seating to the order-taking to the cooking to the serving to the clearing to the farewell, Rosselli, an upbeat thirtysomething, does it all with a smile. You feel like more like a house guest than a restaurant patron, a sensation enhanced by the cozy ambiance, which incorporates an open kitchen near the entrance, retro 1960s chairs, and a flower-filled disused fireplace whose mantle is topped with wine books. The menu was concise–just eight dishes–-so, like my April lunch at Gloria, we ordered everything. The lovely food bears a simplicity enhanced by solid techniques to contrast flavors and textures. Highlights included asparagus with kefir, dried tomatoes, and sumac (cover photo); delicately briny gnocchetti alla Busara; umami-rich tomato ravioli stuffed with almonds, black olives, and thyme; and tender Lamb kofta (a Middle Eastern meatball) atop a bed of agretti (monk’s beard) alongside a dollop of carrot and tahini puree. Botoi is a veritable labor of love, and I can’t wait to go back. website

Restaurants Milan June 2024 Botoi
Botoi’s gnochetti alla Busara

Denis Porta Venezia

One could make a case that Milan is Italy’s pizza capital based solely on the varied styles found in the Lombard capital. Denis Lovatel, a pizzaiolo from the Dolomites, has become known for the pizzas with a delightfully thin crust. It’s not Roman-style crispy, but it’s thin and sturdy, without getting soggy and collapsing below the toppings. During a recent lunch, I had the Ficus d’Estate–ficus is Latin for fig, so the pie technically means “summer fig.” A white pizza (no tomato sauce), the fior di latte-topped pie was spangled with Taggiasca olives and fig jam and finished with graded pecorino cheese–a crave-worthy combo. Oh, and we started with golden potato croquettes, taut and compact with a crispy crust and dreamily mushy interior. website

Restaurants Milan June 2024 Denis Porta Venezia
Ficus d’estate (summer fig) at Denis Porta Venezia


I’ve been smitten with Pavé since before I even moved to Milan, and I’m so blessed that it’s just a 15-minute walk from my house these days. A couple of weeks ago, I popped in just before 12:30 for a quick solo lunch following a nearby doctor’s appointment. That’s early for Italian lunch (which usually starts at 1pm), so, except for one two-top on my right, I had most of the place to myself. So, I went for a sandwich: the pastrami club on house-made shokupan with mixed greens, caramelized onions, and pickles drizzled with sweet honey mustard – a glorious indulgence that was light, flavorful, and truly hit the spot. “Breakfast Revolution” is painted on the walls, but I also think a “Lunch Revolution” is in order, and this sandwich is a testament to it. I devoured it, and I’m grateful that they keep napkin dispensers on the table, otherwise I would have left a mess. I happened to be facing the shelves selling the savory biscotti, so I grabbed a bag of the cacio e pepe on my way to the cash register. website

Restaurants Milan June 2024 Pavé
Pastrami club sandwich at Pavé


This historic Japanese restaurant is just five minutes from my front door, so I popped in one day on the way home from an appointment for a quick solo lunch – it was mobbed, but thankfully there was a seat open at the sushi bar. I opted for the sushi lunch menu, which came with miso soup and a ramekin of lotus root with sesame sauce. As I’ve mentioned, I can’t resist lemonade, so I ordered the Ramune – an effervescent Japanese lemonade. It was my first experience opening a codd-neck, or a bottle sealed with a wee marble to preserve the carbonation. The smiley server assisted me with the procedure, demonstrating how I had to remove the cap, place it on top of the marble, and then push it down forcefully. There was a subtle pop, and the marble sunk to the bottom of the bottle. The mix counted seven nigiri, three hosomaki, and three uramaki, and the sushi chefs had worked the wasabi into the nigiri – one less thing for me to do, and I appreciated that. (Btw, the server had asked me if I wanted wasabi, so if you’re not a wasabi person, just say no.) The lunch menu also comes with dessert, a choice between a scoop of black sesame or green tea gelato–I went for the latter. I can’t wait to go back! website

Restaurant Milan June 2024 Shiro
Sushi lunch at Shiro


This pizzeria in Porta Venezia is bigger than it looks — the interior runs deep with a massive wood oven dramatically exhibited along the back wall. The ambiance is warm and vintagey, with lots of white contrasted against colorful portraits, burgundy wainscotting, and high white wall shelves crammed with books with backward-turned spins, an aesthetic that could befuddle a curious bibliophile like myself who’s always eager to scour titles. It’s not a TV show set, so copyright infringement shouldn’t be an issue. Perhaps, it’s all about the surprise–pick a book, any book, as you would draw a card from a face-down deck. Anyhoo, I digress. So, the menu features Neapolitan-style pizza ringed with a substantial crust, and all the pies have old-schoolish Italian female names. I went for the Giacomina–it initially caught my attention because Giacomina is the Italian version of my name, then the pasta alla Nerano-like toppings (zucchini, provolone del monaco, and basil) sealed the deal. website

Restaurant Milan June 2024 Giolina
Giacomina pizza at Giolina
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