Cheap restaurants in Milan: my favorites

Anyone who knows me knows that I like to eat (and drink). The search for cheap restaurants where to eat well in Milan it started the first day I set foot in this town, and I doubt it will ever stop. If it is true enough that in Milan the cheap trattoria or osteria-style restaurants (at least as we southerners understand them) no longer exist, it is also true that if you look well… some can be found.

Restaurants where you can eat well and spend little in Milan: my favorites

1.Hostaria della Lanterna (Porta Romana area)

The review on cheap restaurants in Milan could not fail to start from here. Hostaria della Lanterna is a more than family-run tavern in a single room with 30 seats. There is no menu, the handyman lady who runs it offers 3 first and 3 second courses of the Lombard tradition every day (Milanese risotto, ossobuco with polenta, etc.). You can make the three of a kind or choose a la carte. The dishes are very abundant (which is not too common in Milan) and good. The house wine is drunk in bulk. The shopping is really honest, between 25 and 30 euros are spent with first, second, dessert, wine, coffee and bitters. Reservation required at least one week before!

2.Casottel Farm (Corvetto area) 

Al Casottel feels like staying in a country restaurant. In a street away from the chaos of the city, there is this cottage with a garden and a bowling alley. The friendly owner (as well as cook) offers traditional Lombard home cooking. Normally there is a super abundant mixed appetizer followed by encores of first or first / second courses. They spend around 30 euros with wine, coffee and coffee maker. In the summer you can eat in the garden, however .. watch out for mosquitoes!

3. Osteria Alla Grande (Baggio)

Historic trattoria in the center of Baggio, with a super friendly host. The Osteria's motto says it all: “Last stronghold against hamburgers, foods for vegetarians, barley coffee and for those on a diet!”. Here you can eat excellent fettuccine with porcini mushrooms, braised ravioli, handmade gnocchi, but above all the famous cassoeula with cabbage and polenta. The bill is honest, for appetizer / first / second / wine / coffee and amaro they spend around 30-35 euros. You can negotiate a special menu for the tables.

4.Trattoria Sabbioneda (Porta Venezia area)

A vintage location, still in the 60s, the years in which it opened. This trattoria run by Mrs. Rita and her husband Ivan (the chef, a Hulk Hogan impersonator) offers Milanese home cooking, with a wide choice of first and second courses. Excellent quality / price ratio, for a complete menu we are about 25 euros per person. The place is really small and reservations are required!

5.Balera dell'Ortica and Sala Venezia (Porta Venezia and Ortica area)

Among the cheap restaurants in Milan I could not fail to mention the two dance halls of the Di Furia family, two places where you eat well and spend little. Rita's cuisine is quite varied, the only thing that never fails are the arrosticini from Abruzzo (only in the balera dell'Ortica). They are both beautiful places, each in their own way. Sala Venezia is a winter location, after braising you get up to boogie. The Balera dell'Ortica also has a large outdoor area, in spring / summer it is a real pleasure! Here, too, the quality / price ratio is more than excellent.

6.The Ugly Duckling (Navigli / San Gottardo area)

Il Brutto Anatroccolo is a spartan trattoria, without too much pretension. They do not take reservations: at 21 pm the shutter goes up, and there is a queue. Apart from this “discomfort” there is a decidedly varied menu (with rotating dishes of the day) at a low price. Classic place for tables and caciara. You spend little: for a complete menu (with house wine) we are around 25 euros.

7. From Giannino The corner of Abruzzo (Porta Venezia area)

An authentic Abruzzo trattoria, which offers all the typical dishes, from scamorza cheese, to kebabs, etc. Almost by default they bring an imperial mixed appetizer made of bruschetta, burrata, meatballs and fried vegetables, omelette, ham and various cold cuts. Following the choice is wide of both first and second courses (I always vote for the arrosticini!). The desserts also deserve it. If you survive the dinner, for sure you can die with the house bitter: a centerbe with 70% alcohol. Getting out of here on your knees is a must have! For a complete menu they spend around 30-35 euros (well deserved!). There is also a Giannino 2 in the Via Padova area.

8.Osteria Ma.Si (Navigli area)

Apulian tavern with internal garden, perfect for tables and caciara. Here you will find all the dishes of the Apulian tradition; after an appetizer based on burrata and cold cuts, I highly recommend the "orecchiette minchiate" with spicy sauce. For a complete menu (with house wine) they spend around 30-35 euros.

9.From Oscar (Porta Venezia area)

If you don't have a sense of irony this is not your place! There are long tables that are shared with other diners (but the situation is not like "carlo & camilla in Segheria"). The owner, Oscar in fact, is a Romanaccio former nostalgic paratrooper of the twenty years (found on display busts of the Duce and other relics) with the classic Roman harassing humor. The cuisine is varied, a bit of Italy, although there is no shortage of traditional Roman dishes (spaghetti alla carbonara, etc.). The highlight, however, is the meat, which is really good! They spend around 35 euros.

10.Trattoria Madonnina (San Gottardo area)

A typical place of old Milan, with an internal courtyard and the possibility of eating out in the summer. The cuisine is typical of Milan, with schnitzel, risotto, etc. The menu is quite small, but the food is good. It's not super-cheap, let's just say they could happily lower prices. You spend at least 35 euros per person

11.Trattoria Toscana K2 (Porta Venezia area)

The Trattoria Toscana K2 has existed for more than 30 years. The cuisine is purely Tuscan (crostini with liver, wild boar ragout, Florentine, ribollita, etc.) and the specialty to be taken is definitely meat, especially fillets. Good quality / price ratio, you spend between 20 and 40 euros (depending on whether you eat the Florentine or not).

12. Tajoli tavern (Piazza Lodi area)

Osteria Tajoli has existed for at least 50 years, and it is at least 50 years that Mr. Luigi (the owner) has been exhibiting every Saturday evening together with his keyboard player and some guests. It is a historic tavern that re-proposes homemade Milanese cuisine: lean ravioli, Milanese cutlet with potatoes, cassoeula, etc. in an absolutely warm and familiar environment. At lunch there is a set menu for 10 euros (first, second, dessert and wine) and on Saturday evening (the other evenings of the week it is closed) around 30 euros are spent for a complete dinner. What more do you want?!? PS on Saturday evening, before dinner, do not forget to ask for a white sprussà at the counter as an aperitif.

13.Trattoria Bolognese da Mauro (Navigli area)

I close this list of cheap restaurants in Milan with the Trattoria Bolognese da Mauro, an institution in the Navigli, perfect for tables with friends, where you can make a noise without being filmed every minute. The cuisine is homely Bolognese (all the pasta is homemade!): Fried gnocco, cappellacci with mushrooms, passatelli and tortellini in broth, mixed fried Bolognese ... all at a super low price and in an easy-going environment. You spend about 30 euros each for a complete menu (wine included).

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