Finding inexpensive places to eat well can be a challenge in Milan. Unless you fall back on a kiosk sandwich shop or the classic buffet "aperitivo" offer. However, look carefully and you'll discover pockets of affordable dining, where you can eat well - without breaking the bank.
Fine Dining Lovers has compiled a list of places and restaurants in Milan with good value for money: addresses that with a maximum of 25 euros or under, you'll leave satisfied, both in belly and pocket.
1. Macelleria popolare
Home to the legendary Giuseppe Zen, the butcher-chef who first made his name with his very special street food at Mangiari di Strada (a venue that has since closed its doors). Find it inside the Municipal Market, overlooking the Darsena of Piazza XXIV Maggio. Organic grass-fed meat is king with a choice of cuts cooked to order choice, from burgers to kebabs. The wine selection is also good.
Where piazza XXIV Maggio, Mercato Comunale
2. Ostello Madama
As the name implies, Ostello Madama is a hostel, but also a restaurant and bar open for brunch, aperitif, lunch and dinner. The menu varies greatly depending on the season and market availability. The environment is youthful (not necessarily young) and full of foreigners, some staying in the hostel and others taking advantage of its proximity to the Prada Foundation.
Hamburgers (10 euros), salads (7 euros) and more: the food is a mix of traditional and revisited street food with a good selection of veg options.
Where via Benaco, 1
3. Osteria dell'Acquabella
Eating traditional Milanese food for less than 25 euros may not be easy at all: at the Osteria dell'Acquabella, however, you can try some decent Milanese dishes at reasonable prices.
Depending on the wines - there's an excellent wine list- you will go over 25 euros, but the dishes on the menu are quite cheap, attractive and above all substantial.
Where via San Rocco, 11
4. Mare Culturale Urbano
Here you'll find yourself in a farmhouse, a few steps away from modern buildings and bus lines of downtown Milan. The Mare Cultural Urbano is a beautiful new address, opened in the last years of Milan: an open farmhouse with events, workshops and a brewery with kitchen.
The cuisine is simple cuisine with some international twists: appetizers from 6 to 10 euros, cold cuts and cheeses for sharing 16 euros. The first range from 10 to 14 euros, with portions ranging from pasta and beans with crispy bacon to homemade pappardelle with cardoncelli mushrooms and flaked pecorino. Main dishes on average cost 12 euros (beef stew with beer, tiella of baked vegetables), 6 euros for side dishes and desserts are under 5 euros.
Where Via Giuseppe Gabetti, 15
5. Al Mercato noodle bar
Al Mercato, has two addresses, with two different and very successful formats. This is the particularly good and reasonably cheap: Al Mercato Noodle Bar.
On the restaurant menu, you'll find, of course, noodles with a vast option of toppings, but also yakitori, mango sticky rice, Chinese buns: a cheerful and pleasant fusion. The low prices make us forgive the impossibility of booking.
Where Viale Bligny 3
Specialising in okonomiyaki, Japanese omelettes with pancetta, prawns or vegetables (abundantly covered with kimchi sauce), there are also stuffed onigiri, mochi (Japanese sweets with rice flour) and rice burgers on the affordable menu.
Where via Savona, 15 | via Jacopo dal Verme 16
Korean cuisine is a world to discover, starting with Imone, a small restaurant that first opened its doors in via Paolo Sarpi before expanding here. Mostly frequented by Koreans, it proposes traditional specialities such as bibimbap (rice bowl, vegetables, meat and egg on the eye) or kimchi (Chinese cabbage, ginger, garlic, onion and chilli).
Among the new generation pizzerias, Pizzium is a success story, a brand that continues to expand with new openings (a total of 6, the last one was created in Via Pola, Isola area), where you can get a good pizza without hitting 30 euros. From a simple Marinara (6 euros) right up to the regionally inspired pizzas up to a maximum of 12 euros. Don't miss the Lazio (fior di latte, Salumificio Villani guanciale, DOP pecorino romano, egg yolk and black pepper), Puglia (burrata Caseificio Lattelier, capocollo of Salumificio Ciarcia piglet, yellow datterini) and the classic Bufala.
Where Via Procaccini 30 | via Anfossi 1 | viale Tunisia 6 | viale Andrea Doria 17 | via Vigevano 33 | via Pola 11
Want some tapas in a cosy and sociable environment? we are talking Gesto, which has two locations (one in Porta Venezia and one in Navgli). What appeared to be the umpteenth Milanese opening (including peeling walls, slates and vertical mini-garden included) turned out to be a place that offers fresh and refined cuisine, with decent prices compared to the average in the city. Cost per dish, from 3.5 to 7 euros (anti-tapas from 11 to 13 euros).
Where via Giuseppe Sirtori, 15 | Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 51
10. God save the food
A cafe/restaurant chain with four addresses (located in piazza del Carmine, in via Tortona, in via Bellotti on the corner of viale Piave and la Rinascente) offering a healthy and light menu, including pizzas. Stir frys are among the most popular dishes (average price around 16 euros).
Where piazza del Carmine, 1 | via Tortona, 34 | via Bellotti 2 angolo viale Piave | Rinascente
In just a few years, Taglio became a favourite with locals. It offers an excellent selection of wines and cocktails and beautiful proposals for lunch and dinner, simple but authentic thanks to excellent raw materials. Between a polenta with stracchino and a Milanese risotto, you come out satisfied and refreshed, without having received indigestible surprises at the time of the bill.
Where via Vigevano, 10
12. Casa Ramen
According to many, the best ramen in Milan can be found in this small little place in the Isola area, so it's worth waiting and queuing up. If you want to be sure of securing a table for dinner, rush there after work, otherwise be prepared to queue, as just like in Japanese ramen bars they don't take reservations. The wait will be rewarded by hot ramen and seasonal dishes that are always evolving. Prices for a plate of Ramen & Noodles range from 10 to 13 euros, small dishes from 3 to 6. For those who want to try the izakaya version (the Japanese tavern), which sees always director Luca Catalfamo, not far away, in via Ugo Bassi 26, there is Casa Ramen Super, where you spend little more (tasting menu: 28 euros).
Where Via Luigi Porro Lambertenghi, 2
13. Ottimo Massimo
A real salvation for eating well in the Duomo area and spending less than 25 euros. Gourmet salads, appetizing sandwiches, hot dishes that vary depending on the season, fresh shakes and so on. Fish couscous for 9 euros, vitello tonnato for 10 euros, gourmet salads for 8.
Where via Spadari ang. via Victor Hugo
14. Santeria Paladini
Santeria Paladini is an address that is always fun if you want to have a brunch or an aperitif or simply eat in Milan without spending much. Here prices are around 20 euros per person, including a glass of wine or beer. The sandwiches are famous - the vegan one is particularly good - and the dishes change monthly, between pasta and main courses that rarely exceed 10 euros. It's also a good place to listen to music, readings and much more. If you are in Viale Toscana, try the Santeria Social Club spin-off.
Where via Paladini 8
15. Arci Bellezza
The Arci Bellezza is a historical address for the Milanese who, especially in summer, choose to sit in the large courtyard eating fish dishes, good fried food and simple but tasty desserts. Home cooking at the right price and without compromise.
Where via Giovanni Bellezza, 16
16. Mao Hunan
Hand-made dim sum - and don't be fooled, not many in Milan do it like that - spicy fish soups and some hardcore dishes with offal. Mao Hunan is a Chinese restaurant that differs from most of its peers: first of all, it offers a very specific Chinese regional cuisine, that of Hunan with strong and spicy flavours. Expect to eat very well, for very little.
Where via Porpora, 5
17. Sciatt à porter
Known for its "sciatt", a very good street food that comes from Valtellina, served in a cone (7 euros), but in this little place near Corso Como you can eat both cold and hot dishes at very competitive prices, especially in an area where you are often used to expensive and bad lunches. Cold cut platters start at 10 euros, pizzoccheri 14 euros, polenta and braised 20 euros, plus there's a good selection of Valtellina wines.
WhereViale Monte Grappa 18
Want to eat good sushi for 25 euros or so? Then the one address is always the same: Poporoya. Here Maestro Shiro is waiting for you with his special Chirashi, where you'll spend about 15 euros (and this delight, by itself, could feed you without a shot being fired). Also, add some rolls or some cooked dishes to satiate your authentic Japanese hunger but at a good price. Those who know Poporoya know that the stay here is short, just like in the cheapest restaurants in Japan: you take the order at the door, wait patiently for your table (even an hour or so on the weekend) you eat and leave immediately after dessert.
Where via Eustachi 17
The Vista Group, which sees Ugo Fava, Marco Giorgi and chef Stefano Cerveni allies (1 Michelin star at the Due Colombe, in Franciacorta), has strung together a series of smart openings, with the Gud all-day dining sign. Here then are four different locations but united by a single denominator: an easy, healthy and quality food offering, able to adapt to the pace of life and Milanese taste, at affordable prices. You can opt for the Italian Cirasci, the local answer to the Hawaiian poke, prepared with Carnaroli or Basmati rice and Mediterranean ingredients. But there are also fried tacos, stuffed buns, prepared with wholemeal organic flours, a natural leavening of 24 hours, crunchy and light. At Gud Darsena, instead, do not miss the fish & chips, excellent, fragrant, light and prepared with a recipe developed ad hoc by the chef Cerveni (9.50 euros). On average you'll spend 15 euros.
Where Viale Gabriele D'Annunzio, 30 | via Eustachi 25 | Central Station | via Demetrio Stratos, 5 - CityLife (kiosk with seasonal opening)
20. Vista Darsena
Overlooking what for many is the "sea of Milan": the Darsena this place defines itself as a smart bar with a kitchen service, open from breakfast to midnight, passing through snack aperitif time. The menu is always supervised by chef Stefano Cerveni and offers dishes ranging from octopus burger to meat burgers, from the classic lasagna to the stuffed buns, up to the dishes of the day and more, international cuisines such as curry chicken and teriyaki salmon. On average, you'll spend 15 euros.
Where Viale Gabriele D'Annunzio, 20
21. Giacomo rosticceria
A modern classic: Giacomo Rosticceria - from the same family as Da Giacomo (Arengario, Restaurant and Bistrot) - is an elegant venue in a small house in the Old Milan with a simple but quality culinary proposal, which gives the option of take away or eating in. The menu changes daily, focusing on the comfort cooking of Italian cuisine: Bolognese lasagna, eggplant parmigiana (both at 10 euros), or mondeghili (meatballs) with potato chips and spit-roasted chicken with baked potatoes (always at 10 euros), Tomato soup for 9 euros. Do not miss the fried foods, including arancini, crocché and panelle, from 5 to 7 euros. You can sit at the tables at the entrance, or in the room on the upper floor or in the small garden, where an intimate outdoor area has been created.
Where via Sottocorno 36
Among the most recent pizzeria openings, Giolina has conquered a special place in the heart of the Milanese. Offering an excellent Neapolitan pizza with canotto (with a high cornice). Look for the raw materials and ingredients of the toppings, which celebrate small Italian excellences: from the Dü (San Marzano Tomato of the Agro Sarnese-Nocerino Dop, corbarino tomatoes, black cherry tomatoes, Piennolo del Vesuvio tomato, black Voghiera garlic, oregano from hill, Coratina monocultivar extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil) at the price of 7 euros, alla Nöff, with Fior d'Agerola, black Nebrodi pork mortadella, Vastedda della Valle del Belice Dop, broad beans, monocultivar extra virgin olive oil Coratina, fresh basil (15 euros). Combined with a selection of Italian natural wines and a few cocktails (pizza prices from 7 to 17 euros, appetizers from 7 to 12 euros).
Where via Bellotti 6
Those who love seafood sandwiches can't miss Pescaria, a Pugliese set up that - having arrived in Milan a few years ago - has launched a real Puglia-style trend. Quality raw materials and abundant sandwiches that offer tasty combinations are the strengths of this brand that today has two sales points.
Where via Bonnet 5 | via Solari 12
24. I love poké
After the wave of Milanese openings on the subject of pokes, we could not fail to point out at least one sign where the beloved "Hawaiian sushi" bowls were served, which have so much depopulated in recent times. Rice, protein and vegetables to mix as you like and ... you're done (and it's absolutely accessible). I Love Poké today has six stores.
Where Duomo - Passaggio degli Osii N.2 | via Tortona, 20 | via F. Filzi, 4 | via Turati, 7 | via Sebastiano del Piombo, 23 | corso di Porta Romana, 79 | piazza Oberdan, 10
25. Tacos BM
This place was is a spin-off of the Mexican restaurant Bésame Mucho, in the heart of the futuristic Porta Nuova area. The corn tortillas here are served in many variations, (vegetarian, meat, fish), they are well made and allow eating at very affordable prices: they range from 7 euros for vegetarian tacos of the day to 16 euros for Quesadilla Gobernador, shrimp corn tortilla, tomato, onion, green pepper and cheese.
Where piazza Alvar Aalto