When in Milan, order the Risotto!

A visit to Milan is all about shopping, wandering through the Duomo, seeing the Last Supper, exploring the Brera and eating risotto.

Whilst most of Italy eats pasta, Northern Italy is well known for its rice dishes.
The Po River flows from Venice to Turin, and its’ valley is the main rice growing area of Italy. As we drove through Piedmont, we would often pass beautiful green velvet fields of rice. Arborio rice is the most common rice grown but between Milan and Turin, you will see carnaroli rice grown. This as well as vialone nano rice have a higher gluten content and are the preferred types of rice to use for risotto.

The classic risotto dish of Milan is Risotto alla Milanese, a creamy saffron infused dish that is either served straight from the pot or ‘al salto’ which is lightly fried. I love it when it is served with osso buco and at restaurants such as Trattoria Milanese you can order a serve of half risotto milanese and half osso buco. Delicious.

I had read about a small restaurant on the edge of Milan that specializes in risotto, so now was the time to investigate. Feeling like locals, we decided to catch the train there and ten minutes later, we found Trattoria Temperanza Da Abele, tucked away in a side street not far from the Pasteur train station.

Trattoria Temperanza da Abele, Milan

Trattoria Temperanza da Abele


Decorated with caricatures, posters and movie memorabilia, this busy little neighbourhood restaurant exuded a relaxed and casual atmosphere and not a tourist in sight!

Da Abele, Milan

Inside Da Abele


Three different risotto dishes are offered every night as well as the usual meat and fish dishes. Knowing how filling risotto can be, we decided to skip the meat dishes and enjoy an antipasti and primo instead. Mussels with tomato and pecorino were the perfect start to the night’s meal

Mussels with tomato and pecorino at da Abele, Milan

Mussels with tomato and pecorino


The risotto dishes followed. We shared a risotto with mushrooms, potato and pesto and a risotto with cuttlefish, calamari, artichokes and broad beans. Perfectly cooked risotto is hard to beat!

Risotto dishes at da Abele, Milan


After our previous night’s success, we decided to head to the suburbs the following night and try RistoranteΒ Piero e Pia, a restaurant that had been recommended to us by the Milanese owner of our B&B in Modica….. Taxi!

The inside of the restaurant is still a mystery! It was such a beautiful night, we joined everyone sitting outside.

Ristorante Piero e Pia, Milan

Outside the restaurant


Our starter of risotto with peas and broad beans was delicious. With two of my favourite vegetables, a hint of saffron and perfectly cooked rice, it couldn’t miss.

Risotto with peas and broad beans ar Piero e Pia in Milan

Risotto with peas and broad beans


Traditional vitello tonnato and a fabulous capretto cacciatore followed.

Piero e Pia in Milan


We couldn’t resist ordering the zabaglione semifreddo and caramel sauce. A perfect finish to a delicious meal.

Zabaglione semifreddo at Piero e Pia in Milan

Zabaglione semifreddo


There are rewards for detouring from the well trodden tourist paths!

Do you have a favourite restaurant in Milan?


Trattoria Temperanza “Da Abele”
Via Temperanza, 5
Tel: 02 2613855


Ristorante Piero e Pia
Piazza Aspari,2 (corner Via Vanvitelli)
Tel: 02 718541



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12 Responses to When in Milan, order the Risotto!

  1. Krista January 17, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Everything sounds fantastic!! I’ve never actually eaten in Milan, but I did get to explore a vialone nano rice farm owned and run by a Milanese family. They served several risotto dishes and they were incredible. πŸ™‚

    • atasteoftravel January 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      It would have been great to see the rice farm and how it all worked.
      There’s nothing quite like a fabulous risotto! It’s always fun trying new restaurants – even better when they’re a success!

  2. marina January 17, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    It doesn’t get much better than this, does it? Local restaurants, delectable local produce, gorgeous interiors. I wish I could give you a favourite restaurant in Milan – I haven’t been there! I am hungry… for travel and a good meal πŸ™‚

    • atasteoftravel January 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

      No Marina- it doesn’t get much better. I love looking for new restaurants and get very excited when it all works! Milan is often overlooked for the more popular Italian cities but I always have fun there. Hope you get to travel soon!

  3. Johanna January 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Risotto … mmm delish. I’ve always been stuck on seafood risotto, but now see how varied it can be. Love the look of those al fresco restaurants in Milan πŸ™‚

    • atasteoftravel January 19, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Thanks Jo. Da Abele changes their 3 risottos every night so the variations are huge! The traditional Risotta alla Milanese is fabulous as well. We need more al fresco restaurants here, don’t we

  4. Meenakshi January 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Wow! I’ve eaten quite a few risottos, but never the real thing in Italy. I didn’t know that risotto came from the north…thanks for the geographical tidbit. After looking at the pictures, I’m really hungry. Like REALLY.

    • atasteoftravel January 24, 2012 at 12:25 am #

      I always order risotto in the north and pasta everywhere else- though having said that I did have a couple of great risottos on our travels around Sicily! Good food is good food wherever you are, isn’t it!
      I look forward to delving more into your blog- I just spotted a couple of curries from Kerala that sounded great!
      Thanks again.

  5. Miret January 5, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    Me LOVES risotto! πŸ™‚

    Risotto alla zucca, ai porcini, agli asparagi,… so yummy!

  6. TennisWeBlog.com February 20, 2013 at 1:36 am #

    Oh man, I miss my city so much. I love risotto, all kinds !! Italian cooking is definitely the best, just like the whole country πŸ˜‰

    • [email protected] February 20, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

      I would miss it too Marco. Milan is a a fabulous city and the risotto is the best! One of the reasons I keep going back!

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