While Milan is famous for its fashionable shopping districts, glamorous hotels and upmarket restaurants, you don’t actually have to spend a lot of money to have an excellent meal in the city. In fact, there are dozens of fantastic places where prices are low but the ingredients are great and the taste is top-notch.
So to help you find the best places to eat on a budget in Milan, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to the city’s premier restaurants and eateries where superb cuisine doesn’t add up to a massive bill.
Trattoria La Madonnina – Via Gentilino.
This charming trattoria serves delicious Lombardy cuisine in a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere. The Trattoria La Madonnina has an authentic Milanese menu that includes classic dishes such as creamy sausage with saffron pasta alla monzese, fried veal cutlets and the must-try roasted chicken with polenta and potatoes.
All of the main courses are served with a complimentary side dish so you really get unbeatable value for money. Ideal for a quiet lunch or a low-cost romantic dinner, the Trattoria La Madonnina has hand-embroidered curtains, red and white checkered tablecloths and antique cabinets which give the restaurant a lovely warm atmosphere.
Il Brutto Anatroccolo – Evangelista Torricelli.
Founded in the early 1980s, Il Brutto Anatroccolo specializes in serving timeless Milanese dishes that were once the preserve of the city’s working poor but have recently become quite trendy. This simple, filling and heartwarming food is made with top-quality ingredients and provides customers with a great way to enjoy a delicious meal, with wine and dessert, for less than 20 Euros per head. In fact, there are even dishes, such as spaghetti ragu, Milanese cutlet and grilled sausages, for under 10 Euros.
There’s a broad selection of Milanese dishes on the menu, some of the best being the Cotoletta, the Ossobuco, Pheasant liver, yellow risotto and the homemade Tiramisu. The restaurant is open late each night, staying open until 1 a.m. on Saturdays and so sometimes, it can get a little rowdy because it’s a favorite haunt of the local university students! But even so, if you’re looking for a fun place to eat great food at very reasonable prices, then Il Brutto Anatroccolo ticks every box.
Trattoria Fà Ballà L’Oeucc – Via Pistoia.
With a warm, welcoming atmosphere, the Trattoria Fà Ballà L’Oeucc is famous for its huge Milanese fried veal cutlets, nicknamed ‘elephant ears’ due to their large size. The ‘elephant ears’ are served in a typically Milanese style with smoked cheese on top, almost as if they were a pizza. First opening its doors in the 1970s, the restaurant is a real hit with the local Milanese so you can be sure that the food is genuinely good and comes with a fair price tag.
There are lots of meals for well under 20 Euros, including Milanese risotto for about 10 Euros, Busecca for 10 Euros and braised meat with mashed potatoes for 15 Euros. The restaurant also allows dogs to sit in the dining room, as long as they are well-behaved. Situated in the Baggio district, it’s a bit out of the way but it’s certainly worth making the trip to for an evening meal with friends or family. To get to the restaurant from the city center, you can jump on the M1 metro and get off at the Bisceglie stop and then catch a bus to Via Val D’Intelvi. Alternatively, you can simply catch a taxi.
Trattoria San Filippo Neri – Viale Monza.
This one-of-a-kind Milanese restaurant has a flawless menu and an absolutely beautiful outdoor pergola with tables beneath the spreading branches of the trees. The outdoor courtyard is open year-round, with heat lamps keeping everyone warm during the winter. Serving both local Milanese and international cuisine, the restaurant offers a daily set lunch menu for 15 Euros with generous portions and lots of dishes to choose from.
The fixed-priced lunch is made up of a first course, a second dish, a side dish and wine, and is perfect for anyone who wants to refuel for the afternoon. The menu includes show-stopping dishes such as spicy goulash with polenta, cutlet with risotto, seafood, sandwiches and a whole array of salads. The Trattoria San Filippo Neri is best known for its weekday lunches, but don’t miss out on the dinner menu either.
Trattoria Sabbioneda – Via Alessandro Tadino.
This simple, down-to-earth trattoria is decorated with paintings of Harley Davidsons, number plates and other eclectic wall hangings. The dining room has a family-friendly atmosphere although the main attraction is definitely the kitchen. Serving a good range of pizzas, homemade pasta dishes and Milanese pork-based classics, the trattoria is well known for its Mantuan pumpkin ravioli, the tortellini with borage butter and sage, and the perennially heartwarming lasagnas.
The portions are generous, as are the prices, with the first courses costing around 8 Euros and the main course costing less than 15 Euros. If you’re planning to eat at Trattoria Sabbioneda then it’s always worth making a reservation because it’s often full, especially on the weekends.
Pizza & Mozzarella.
With 3 locations in Milan (Via Carlo Torre, 22; Via Barni, 10; Alessandro Coti Zelati, 23), Pizza & Mozzarella is an iconic, Neapolitan-style pizzeria with competitive prices and a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Mainly serving pizza and pasta, you can also get a tasty dessert to complete your meal. Although in fairness, for many patrons the servings are large enough to mean they have no room for a dessert at the end of their meal! Particularly popular with groups of students and young professionals, the pizzerias make some of the finest pizzas in Milan, using DOP ingredients at prices that are impossible to fault.
A margherita at Pizza & Mozzarella costs about 5 Euros while a plate of fries costs just 2.50 Euros, and you can get a beer for less than 3 Euros. The interiors are creatively decorated with a funky vibe and the staff are super-friendly and always on hand to give you tips about the best pizzas on the menu. So if you’re looking for a Neapolitan-style pizzeria in Milan, then Pizza & Mozzarella should be right at the top of your list.
Puccia’s Brothers – Piazza Virgilio.
Serving premier quality Puglia – style street food and upmarket coffee, Puccia’s Brothers sells superb Puccia, a unique type of bread that originated in Cadorna and is made with semolina flour and cooked in a stone oven. This means that the outside of the bread pocket is crunchy while the inside stays soft, making it ideal for stuffing with tasty fillers.
When it comes to the Puccia fillings, you can either select one of the combinations on the menu or, if you prefer, you can create your own combination of the ingredients on display. There’s an excellent choice of ingredients on offer, including grilled vegetables, meats, cheeses, salad, jalapeno peppers and lots more besides. The chefs at Puccia’s Brothers are also extremely generous with the fillings, always filling your Puccia until it’s literally overflowing!
Tang Gourmet – Via Paolo Sarpi.
If you’re looking for a budget Chinese restaurant that serves world-class Oriental cuisine, then Tang Gourmet is the place for you. Located right in the heart of Milano Chinatown, in the Paolo Sarpi district, Tang Gourmet serves delicious Chinese noodles, meat dishes, vegetarian options and delicately flavored Asian soups. The food is elegantly plated and you can enjoy a whole range of authentic Chinese cuisine without breaking the bank.
Ideal for group parties, Tang Gourmet is family-friendly and the staff can help you out if you’re not sure what’s included in some of the dishes on the menu. It’s worth keeping in mind that some of the dishes are pretty spicy so if you’d prefer a milder option just ask the waiting staff who will be happy to arrange that for you. You’ll often see members of the local Asian community dining in Tang Gourmet which is always a good sign that the food is up to scratch! Despite the high quality of the food, you can have lunch or dinner for as little as 10 Euros per head with a bowl of noodles starting at about 5 to 7 Euros.
Ramen Shop – Via Alessandro Tadino.
For any Ramen lover in Milan, the Ramen Shop has practically become a temple of pilgrimage! The Ramen noodles are hand-rolled in front of the customers which guarantees the ultimate freshness and taste in each and every bowl. All the Japanese favorites are on the menu, including Tonkotsu ramen, Chashu ramen and Miso ramen, to name but a few of the Oriental delights on offer.
The restaurant is fairly small but the service is fast and the food is always great. Prices for a large bowl of ramen vary, but start at about 10 Euros with the most expensive items on offer costing around 15 Euros. If you’re a non-meat eater then there’s also plenty of vegetarian dishes on the menu.
C’era Una Volta Una Piada.
Using secret family recipes that have been passed down through the generations, C’era Una Volta Una Piada operates 4 top quality restaurants throughout Milan. Each of the restaurants uses fresh local ingredients to create inspiring gourmet dishes that will leave you wondering why you’d never visited before! The C’era Una Volta Una Piada restaurants are located at Via Raffaello Sanzio, 29, Viale Gian Galeazzo, 19, Viale Coni Zugna, 37, and Piazza San Gioachimo, 5 – so no matter where you are in the city it’s easy to find your nearest one.
C’era Una Volta Una Piada mainly serves piadine, a traditional Italian flatbread that is filled with delicious fillings such as ham, fish, roasted vegetables, salads, and more. The piadine is cooked on a terracotta dish or over a griddle, giving it a rich smoky flavor profile. There are lots of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu and the service is always speedy. The restaurants also deliver all over Milan, so if you’d prefer to eat at home you can just give C’era Una Volta Una Piada a call or order online, and they’ll have the delivery at your door in no time!
Eating Out In Milan Doesn’t Need To Cost A Fortune.
Some of Milan’s best-kept secrets are the cheap restaurants and eateries where you can enjoy fantastic food at prices that are hard to believe. From authentic Italian cuisine to Chinese and Japanese food, tasty street food to Neapolitan-style pizzas, you’re really spoilt for choice when it comes to low-cost food in the fashion capital of Italy.