Five Places To Eat And Drink In Milan (Part I)

As some of you already know, I was born and raised in Milan so I have gotten to know multiple key places to eat and drink in the city over the years. I have noticed that a lot of new bars and restaurants have opened in the last period of time, which can sometimes make it difficult to choose; on the plus side, contrary to what people often think, there are many different options and venues to suit all kinds of budgets.

I decided to create a top five of places to eat and drink in Milan (in no particular order) which remain among my favorites in the city; the list includes both bars and restaurants, so in some places you can even have breakfast or enjoy a quick snack. However, I think I will update this top five in the future because I like to discover new food locations and add them to my lists, so you can consider this article as a first part of my eating recommendations. 

Let’s get started!

Breakfast at Bar Luce (Fondazione Prada)

1) Bar Luce (Fondazione Prada): This is one of the most iconic bars in Milan, and I often find myself stopping by Bar Luce whenever I visit Fondazione Prada, a cultural institution dedicated to contemporary exhibitions and art declined in different forms, such as cinema, music and photography (so you will not be surprised to know that Fondazione Prada is one of my favorite cultural places in the city and I will definitely include it when I recommend my favorite museums in Milan). Bar Luce is part of Fondazione Prada and was designed by American director Wes Anderson in 2015. It has a vintage feel and looks right out of a set of the director’s movies! Located inside the first building at the entrance of Fondazione Prada, the décor and color palette, including the wallpaper, are reminiscent of the aesthetics of post-World War II in Italy and the economic boom of the 1960s. The bar also contains notable retro elements, such as a huge pink jukebox and a couple of pinball machines. I found out that among Anderson’s sources of inspiration in designing the bar are two movies belonging to Italian Neorealism, namely Vittorio De Sica’s Miracle in Milan (1951) and Luchino Visconti’s Rocco and His Brothers (1960). I love taking pictures at Bar Luce because it is such a special location; although it is very popular for lunch, with a menu that includes a wide variety of sandwiches (including vegetarian options), I really like the desserts it offers, especially the cakes, in typical pastel colors.

Bar Luce, Largo Isarco, 2 – 20139, Milan. Open every day except Tuesday, 8.30 am -8.00 pm (Saturday and Sunday 9.00 am – 8.00 pm) 

Asian Food World.
La Collina d’Oro (Asian Contemporary Food)

2) La Collina d’Oro (Asian Contemporary Food): This restaurant has been included in the list of the best Asian restaurants in Milan for many years, partly because it has been on the scene for 40 years (it opened in 1982). The restaurant has been renovated over the years and now has a distinctly modern feel. The ambiance is meticulous in every detail and offers a wide selection of dishes (always beautifully served, as you can see in the article I wrote about my five favorite foods, which includes photos of vegetable ravioli and California Maki I ate at La Collina d’Oro). I have often eaten at the restaurant with my family, especially with my father, who is a great lover of Asian cuisine. The products are very fresh and of high quality; the prices are perhaps a bit higher than average, but that is often the case, both for seafood restaurants and Asian food places. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the staff is friendly and efficient. The menu contains a wide selection of traditional products from different geographic areas of Asia, has vegan and gluten-free options and also includes a good selection of white, red, and French wines ( Terre di Franciacorta Bianco, Dolcetto d’Alba, and Chablis Vielles Vignes Venerables just to name a few). You can also order Japanese sake or choose from several varieties of tea.  The desserts are very good, and I particularly enjoyed a typical Chinese dessert made with azuki and rice flour. It is also possible to benefit from delivery service (with a minimum order of €35).

La Collina d’Oro, Via Rubens, 24 – 20148 Milan, Italy. Open every day except Monday. Check out the official website for opening hours.

Orange Passion.
Cocktail hour at Marchesi 1824 (Via Montenapoleone)

3) Marchesi 1824: Marchesi is one of the most elegant pastry bars in Milan and has several locations, in addition to the historic one on Via Santa Maria alla Porta (which I photographed here). I have also visited both the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and Via Montenapoleone locations (for breakfast and cocktail hour, respectively) and it is always a fantastic food experience (especially if you have a sweet tooth for cakes because Marchesi chocolate cake is delicious; you can see a picture of it on my Flickr). Marchesi is synonymous with excellence both in pastry production and in carrying on the Milanese tradition of Panettone (Christmas traditional bread). The “aperitivo” at Marchesi has been taking place since the early 1900s, when owner Angelo Marchesi began serving drinks at cocktail hour, accompanied by cakes and other desserts. Today Marchesi is owned by the Prada Group and, like the luxury fashion brand, has become one of Milan’s most iconic and recognizable symbols, attracting a cosmopolitan and elegant clientele (it also recently opened a location in Mayfair, in the heart of London). The pastry shop has remained true to old traditions, using high-quality ingredients and many handmade pastry products. Everything is taken care of down to the smallest detail, from the presentation of the pastries to the window displays and pastel-hued packaging; in addition to enjoying an excellent breakfast or aperitivo, you can also purchase a variety of products, including chocolate desserts, candies, and jams.

Marchesi 1824, Via S. Maria alla Porta 11/a – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – Via Montenapoleone, 9, Milan. Open daily. For opening times of the different locations check out the official website. 


My Five Favorite Musicals – West End Edition

West End musical booklets

I have always loved theater ever since I was a child; in my teenage years I also studied acting for a while, and I still enjoy reading theatre plays. Growing up in Milan, I had the chance to see the Italian version of some theatre musicals (I remember among all Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which I saw many years ago) but my most unforgettable theatre experience is seeing my first Broadway musical, An American in Paris, which I saw in 2015 with my mother during a trip to New York (I will probably talk about this experience in a future article). 

Instead, I want to dedicate this article to five of my favorite West End theatre musicals that I have seen in London over the years; most of these date back to the time I lived in London and to some holidays I spent in the city. These are famous musicals that got a lot of press coverage because they were West End classics or had already been staged on Broadway. I particularly enjoyed these musicals also because some of them were based on famous movies, which I found to be very exciting; I also purchased some of the booklets you see in the photo at the beginning of the article because they are well done and full of photographs, and I like to keep them as part of the memory related to a particular show. I have also purchased the music from some of the shows I have attended in CD format. Attending a West End theatre show is always a wonderful experience that I recommend to theatre fans because the audience is usually very enthusiastic about it and you tend to feel involved in the musical performances and the story in general. I hope to return to London soon to see other West End musicals (especially Les Misérables). 

1) Motown The Musical (Shaftesbury Theatre, 2016): I first heard about the Motown show in London around the time I was living there, when I happened to pass by the Shaftesbury Theatre and saw the classic Motown sign emblazoned on the corner facade of the theater. I bought the ticket almost on impulse because I thought it would run for a limited time (instead it stayed there for almost three years, breaking box office records and becoming one of the most successful musicals in the history of West End). It was a fantastic experience also because of the theatrical location; the Shaftesbury Theatre is in fact the largest independent theater in London’s West End and it was also the last theater to be built on Shaftesbury Avenue, opening its doors in 1911. Designed by a famous architect in the Victorian era, it is one of the most beautiful theaters in the city and to this day the building has been restored and is operated by the Theatre of Comedy Company, which has owned it for more than 30 years, even taking care of the entire facade restoration in 2010 (I know I might sound overenthusiastic about this theater, but it really is a stunning building even just seen from the outside). The new production of the Broadway Hit Motown The Musical was meant to celebrate the story and the music of one of the most influential record producers in history. You got to experience how all the songs became part of the Motown label; the musical is based on the autobiography of founder Berry Gordy and includes his professional and personal relationships with famous Motown artists such as Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross and the Supremes. My favorite musical numbers were the Supremes Medley (Where Did Our Love Go? – Stop! In The Name of Love), I Want You Back by the Jackson 5 and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, performed by talented theater actors like Lucy St. Louis, who was amazing in the role of Diana Ross.

2) Sunset Boulevard (London Coliseum, 2016): this production of Sunset Boulevard was a West End revival of the 1993 musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and saw Glenn Close making her West End debut reprising the role of Norma Desmond, a forgotten diva of silent film, and of her meeting with young screenwriter Joe Gillis, in which she sees an opportunity to return to the world of cinema, whose modernization due to the advent of sound and Technicolor she despises. Norma asks Gillis to view the script of a film she edited, centered on the character of Salome, and she hosts the screenwriter in her opulent mansion. Although the musical is based on Billy Wilder’s 1950 film of the same name (one of the most famous of Hollywood’s Golden Age), I would not like to reveal the plot further for those who have not seen it. Suffice it to say, however, that Glenn Close is the real strength of this musical because of her immense talent in playing Norma Desmond (hers was an incredibly moving performance; I saw the show with my mother and she was in tears at the end). The actress had already played this role in Los Angeles and on Broadway, where she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. The entire cast was very talented and was assembled by the same production of Sweeney Todd, which sold out the previous year. The music in Sunset Boulevard is great partly because of the accompaniment of the English National Opera Orchestra, consisting of 48 musicians, with conductor Michael Reed. It is almost impossible to pick my favorite musical numbers because all the pieces were masterfully performed; I particularly appreciated “The Perfect Years”, “Every Movie’s a Circus” and “Girl Meets Boy”. Being a revival, Sunset Boulevard had a West End limited run (from April 1st to May 7th, 2016, before moving to Broadway the following year) so I think my mother and I were incredibly lucky to witness such an outstanding performance by Glenn Close and amazing musical numbers by the talented West End cast. Truly an unforgettable experience!


Birthday Book Tag

Since this week is my birthday week, I have decided to add the Birthday Book Tag to my website. This tag is very popular on book blogs; I discovered it by chance on The Bibliophile Girl and have often seen it recurring on other blogs dedicated to the love of reading. According to The Bibliophile Girl, the original creator of this tag is Antonia over at Always Books. 

In my free time I am watching a lot of videos from the BookTube community and looking for new reading recommendations (although I still have countless books to read), so reading is always a meaningful part of my life. Before I start the tag I will leave you with a sentence I just found on Goodreads: 

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller, American journalist 

Image Credits: Will Clayton

1 – BIRTHDAY CAKE – a book with a plot that seems cliché but you adore it anyway.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager: this is the only book by Riley Sager that I have read so far and I loved it. I don’t think the plot is cliché, but the book is considered “a reimagining of the classic haunted house tale” so some elements might seem familiar to the reader, especially if they are fans of horror books and movies. 

Nonetheless, I found it very suspenseful and full of thriller overtones and interesting details that make it different from the classic haunted house story. In addition to the plot, I enjoyed both the writing style and the character development so I am looking forward to reading more books by Riley Sager. 

2 – PARTY GUESTS – your most anticipated book release this year. 

Natural Beauty by Ling Ling Huang: I have some 2023 most anticipated book releases on my radar but the first one that comes to mind is Natural Beauty by Ling Ling Huang, a debut novel that explores many relevant themes such as race, consumerism, and self-appreciation. 

3 – BIRTHDAY PRESENTS – a book that surprised you with how much you loved it.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: I remember buying Donna Tartt’s latest book at the time of its release about ten years ago. Reading it was a fantastic experience because the novel was unlike anything I had read before and I found it incredibly compelling. I remember my parents also read it and they both loved it. It moved me in a thousand different ways and I have reread it twice more over the years; it was the first Donna Tartt book I read and I am particularly fond of it. I own it in both the English and Italian editions!


Story Behind The Picture: Bottega Veneta, Vintage Vogue And Other Thoughts On Fashion

Vogue UK August 1957 and Bottega Veneta chain pouch bag

I took this still life photo in 2020, a year that for the entire world was marked by the pandemic and was particularly hard on the fashion industry. At that time, various lockdowns were taking place, most of us were working from home, and being a photography enthusiast for as long as I can remember (as I wrote about in my article dedicated to photography), the long moments of inactivity due to that phase really allowed me to get in touch with my creative side. In fact, it was in 2020 that I opened my Flickr account and photography was one of the few things that kept me sane during a time that was incredibly difficult for everyone. 

I wanted to capture on camera my Bottega Veneta chain pouch bag together with a vintage issue of Vogue UK that I purchased a few years earlier on eBay because I often enjoy creating new compositions and I found it interesting to compare the old with the new in order to create a sort of contrast; a Vogue UK issue from August 1957 paired with one of the new symbols of the Italian luxury brand Bottega Veneta, a pouch clutch developed in 2018 by former creative director Daniel Lee that quickly became the best-selling bag in the brand’s history. Lee was essential in the development of Bottega Veneta’s ready-to-wear production; although he retained the brand’s iconic features, first and foremost the Intrecciato, at the same time he was able to give a fresher image to Bottega Veneta’s signature products, especially the bags. He kept focusing on high craftsmanship techniques and products that can be included in what is now called quiet luxury, a style characterized by the absence of a logo identifying the brand; Daniel Lee managed to accomplish this in a short period of time (he left the helm of the brand at the end of 2021, replaced by Matthieu Blazy, and is now creative director of Burberry), but he still brought to life the expression “New Bottega” because of the different way the brand was perceived and the aura of desirability that Bottega Veneta products acquired. 

Since I am a fashion industry professional (both as a fashion consultant and as a buying agent), I always try to get informed about fashion news and other different currents of thought in the industry, including fashion trends. I have never been one to follow trends at any cost, although I appreciate what certain trends can bring to an individual’s wardrobe in terms of personal style and self-discovery, so I was pleasantly surprised when last month I read an article in the Italian magazine Rivista Studio explaining how the succession of micro-trends in recent years (see Cottage-core, Ballet-core and others) has led most people to want to discover and maintain a personal style. We have thus found ourselves chasing the desire to build a long-term identifying wardrobe, aiming first and foremost for practicality and self-expression. The article quotes Tibi’s creative director Amy Smilovic, who has fully embraced what is called the “Three Words Method”; “choosing a series of looks that you like, looking at their touch-points and drawing up a list of identifying adjectives.” Simply put, what we wear should reflect our personal taste and make us feel comfortable in our own skin.