Many of Italy’s most famous dishes come from Milan. Risotto alla Milanese, minestrone, ossobuco, cotoletta, polenta, piadina sandwiches and Christmas panetonne to name a few.
Milan is also the capital of modern Italian cuisine and you’ll find an incredibly diverse range of options available.
In this guide, I share the best Milan food tours to help you discover the city’s delicious Italian food.
Milan Food Tours
The gothic masterpiece that is the Duomo is Milan’s dominant attraction and the centre of community life in the city.
From the piazza in front of the cathedral, you can enter the incredible Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, an elegant landmark and thoroughfare that connects the Duomo with the world-famous La Scala theatre.
This is an ideal place to start your trip to Milan, but a tour of the surrounding neighbourhoods is where you’ll find the delicious food the city is known for.
Neighbourhoods worth touring include the Brera and the Navigli canal districts, or for somewhere different, visit the contemporary Porta Nuova neighbourhood.
Top PickMilan: Half-Day Food Tour on Foot
Duration: 3 hours.
Tastings: 6 stops plus drinks.
Suitable for vegetarians: Yes (advise when booking).
Recommended for vegans: No
Allergy-friendly: Yes (advise when booking).
Limited mobility inclusive: No
Run by the experienced and entertaining guides at Fat Tire Tours, this is Milan’s most popular and highly-rated food tour. You’ll get to explore the Brera district of Milan, learning about the city’s food history while stopping at 6 places where you can sample specialties including culatello, Milanese meatballs, gelato and traditional aperitifs.
- Walking tour of the historic Brera district.
- Details on Italian food produce and history.
- Visit a hipster bar.
- Wine and grappa tasting.
Pros: A knowledgeable guide makes all the difference and the reviews suggest this tour has one of the most popular food tour guides in Milan.
Cons: Three hours might be a little rushed for exploring one neighbourhood.Check Availability
Map of the Brera District
Milan: Evening Food Tour
Duration: 3 hours.
This evening version of the tour mentioned above includes a wine tasting. If you would like to see the food market, this is only available on the day tour.
Next Best Food Tour
Private Tour with Drinks & Bites in Centro Storico
Duration: 2.5 hours.
This food tour takes place in the historic centre of Milan, starting in front of the Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore. Three tastings and three drinks and a tour of the area are included. This is a very popular tour, but I think the Top Pick is better value for money.
Milan Patisserie Tour
Duration: 2.5 hours.
For something a little different, try this patisserie food tour of Milan. The tour includes 4 stops at some of Milan’s top patisseries, where you can try traditional pastries. Depending on the day and time of the year, you could try Milanese cannoncini, panettone, marron glacé and delicious Milan pralines.
The post is part of our series on Italian food, one of the most diverse, delicious and popular cuisines in the world.
Traditional Milanese Food
Milan is a city in the Lombardy region of Italy, and its cuisine is heavily influenced by the surrounding area.
Here are some traditional Milanese dishes and regional dishes you can consider including in your food tour:
- Risotto alla Milanese: This classic Milanese dish is made with short-grain rice cooked in broth with saffron, onions, and beef bone marrow, giving it a bright yellow colour and rich flavour.
- Cotoletta alla Milanese: This breaded and fried veal cutlet is a beloved dish in Milan and is often served with a side of potatoes or salad.
- Ossobuco: A hearty dish made with veal shanks cooked in tomato and vegetable sauce and served with risotto or polenta.
- Cassoeula: A hearty stew made with pork, cabbage, and other vegetables, usually served during the colder months.
- Panettone: A traditional Christmas cake made with raisins and candied fruit, often served with a glass of sweet wine or hot chocolate.
- Polenta: A staple food in northern Italy made from boiled cornmeal and often served as a side dish with meat or cheese.
- Bresaola: A cured beef that is sliced thin and served with arugula, lemon, and olive oil.
- Gorgonzola: A blue-veined cheese made from cow’s milk and often served with bread or in risotto dishes.
- Amaretti cookies: Sweet almond cookies that are often served with coffee or dessert wine.
- Negroni sbagliato: A cocktail made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and sparkling wine, which was allegedly created by accident in Milan when a bartender mistakenly used sparkling wine instead of gin in a Negroni cocktail.
These are just a few of the traditional Milanese and regional dishes you can include in your food tour.
Milano is also famous for its coffee culture, so don’t forget to include a stop at a local café for an espresso or cappuccino!
Street Food in Milan
Milan is known for its street food scene, offering a variety of delicious and portable snacks that are perfect for on-the-go eating.
Here are some typical street foods you might encounter in Milan:
- Panzerotti: These are small fried calzones, usually filled with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, but sometimes with other ingredients like ham or mushrooms.
- Focaccia: I’m sure you know what focaccia is, but it’s probably nothing like what you find at home. This is a flatbread that is typically topped with olive oil, salt, and sometimes other ingredients like rosemary, olives, or cheese.
- Arancini: These are fried rice balls that are typically filled with tomato sauce, peas, and sometimes with cheese. A great vegetarian snack!
- Tramezzini: These are small sandwiches made with soft white bread, usually filled with ingredients like ham, cheese, and mayonnaise.
- Piadina: This is a flatbread that is typically filled with ingredients like ham, cheese, arugula, and tomato.
- Polenta e osei: This sweet polenta cake is shaped like a bird and is usually served around Christmas.
- Bombolone: This is a type of doughnut that is filled with pastry cream or Nutella.
- Salame di cioccolato: This is a dessert made with cocoa powder, biscuits, and butter and formed into a log that is sliced and served like salami.
- Crocchette: These are fried potato croquettes that are typically filled with ham or cheese.
- Gelato: Although not a typical “street food,” gelato is a must-try in Milan. You can find it at many gelato shops throughout the city.
These are just a few examples of typical street foods you might encounter in Milan and you’ll definitely try a few if you take a food tour. Bon appetito!
Sustainable Food Tour Tips
If you’re looking for a sustainable food tour, there are several things you should keep in mind to ensure that your tour is environmentally friendly and socially responsible.
First, look for a tour that focuses on low-carbon foods. This means selecting foods that are lower impact. Foods that don’t have to travel via air freight to reach your plate are better for the environment, as they have a smaller carbon footprint. Another example is foods that aren’t produced in heated greenhouses that use much energy.
Second, try to find a tour emphasising plant-based options and reducing meat and dairy consumption. Eating a plant-based diet is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable food system. If meat and dairy are included, look for tour operators that prioritise local and sustainable meat and dairy options.
Third, look for a tour that minimises waste. This could mean a tour operator who uses reusable plates, cups, and utensils or one that offers compostable or biodegradable options. Although compostable and biodegradable packaging still has negative environmental impacts. It could also mean a tour that discourages overconsumption while still being able to try plenty of different foods.
Fourth, consider the social impact of your tour. Look for a tour operator who supports small, local businesses and promotes fair labour practices. You can also look for tours that support sustainable agriculture practices or conservation efforts.
Overall, a sustainable food tour should prioritise environmentally friendly and socially responsible food options.
For more information on things to do in Milan, Yes, Milano has some excellent travel guides and event listings.
Milan is a fantastic city to explore through a food tour, as it offers a diverse range of traditional dishes, street food, and modern culinary experiences.
Whether you’re a foodie looking to indulge in local cuisine or a traveller seeking an authentic cultural experience, a food tour in Milan is a great way to discover the city’s culinary traditions and unique flavours.
To ensure that you have a great experience, it’s important to do your research and choose a food tour that fits your interests and preferences.
Look for a tour that prioritises sustainability and social responsibility, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the food, the tour guide’s background, and the tour company’s values.
Remember that a food tour is not just about the food but also about the cultural and historical context behind the dishes.
You’ll have the opportunity to learn about Milan’s culinary history, visit local markets and food shops, and interact with locals who are passionate about food and hospitality.
Lastly, be sure to come hungry and with an open mind. You’ll have the chance to try new flavours, explore unfamiliar neighbourhoods, and meet fellow food lovers.
A food tour in Milan is a delicious way to discover the city and make lasting memories.
If you have any questions or would like to leave a review or share your experience, please do so in the comments.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to tours in Milan, Italy. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.