5 Local tips for cheap eats in Milan

Let’s eat cheap in Milan! Photo: Kathy Kiefer

Milan may not attract tourists like Florence, Rome or Venice, but it’s well worth a visit. Italy’s second largest city is famous as a European hub for football, opera, fashion, and food. Sounds expensive, right?

It really doesn’t have to be if you follow these tips by Milan locals. Rest assured, you’ll be getting the best Italian delicacies the Lombard capital has to offer from €3 snacks to affordable plates of homemade risotto.

More tips for eating in Italy:
• Ordering coffee like a pro in Italy
• Don’t leave Rome without tasting these 5 classic dishes
• A tasty guide to visiting Bologna on a budget

Once you check in to your hotel in Milan, it’s time to get down to business and start eating your way through the city!

Zio Pesce is seafood heaven without the high price tag. Photo: Carmen Condeescu

Zio Pesce

Via Andrea Maffei 12

A lot of people are unaware of this fact, but Milan actually boasts one of the largest fish markets in the country. Still, finding a restaurant that gets quality seafood right for a decent price is tricky, but thankfully, local Carmen has the answer: Zio Pesce. Here you can get seafood pasta (spaghetti allo scoglio for €14) that would satisfy even the most demanding of Italian gourmands. In fact, the restaurant is always full of them, even on an otherwise slow Monday night, so be sure to plan ahead.

This dough ball of magic only costs a few euros at Luini. Photo: Elena Berneschi


Via S. Radegonda 16

Luini has been captivating Milanese crowds with its panzerotti (typical snacks from Puglia — the heel of the Italian boot) for generations; it’s an absolute institution. You will find queues lining up right next to the Duomo di Milano for these bits of pizza-dough half-moons filled with mozzarella and tomato sauce, and for €2.70, there really are no excuses not to join them. The hardest choice? Opting for the healthier (baked) or tastier (fried) panzerotto…

Related: Our favorite hotels under $100 a night in Milan

How can you not be hungry after looking at this wood-fired pizza in Milan.? Photo: La Piccola Ischia

La Piccola Ischia

Viale Abruzzi, 62

There aren’t many kinds of food that are more popular around the world than pizza, but Italians are notoriously particular about what constitutes a proper one. Naples has a long tradition in this art, and La Piccola Ischia is a great place to discover what a real Neapolitan pizza tastes like. Here you can also try fried pizza; local Matto is still licking his lips from the one he had with sausage, mozzarella and tomato sauce. With its informal setting and low prices (from €10 per person), he reckons it brings together everything a true Italian pizzeria should be about.

Did you know Milan has a fantastic Chinatown? Photo: Carmen Condeescu

La Ravioleria Sarpi

Via Paolo Sarpi 27

It is said that pasta was originally brought to Italy from China by Marco Polo in the 14th century. We can’t know for sure, but La Ravioleria Sarpi really gives credence to this legend, for when you really get down to it, what’s the difference between dim sum and ravioli? This street food joint makes “Chinese ravioli” at the heart of Milan’s Chinatown using nothing but quality ingredients. For around €3.50 per dish, it’s hard to go wrong — order like local Carmen and try more than one!

Design, food, and atmosphere… Risolatte has it all. Photo: Carmen Condeescu


via Camperio 6

Risolatte is a gem hidden right in the center of Milan. The striking 1960s home decor collected from vintage markets around the country would be enough to fall in love with if it wasn’t for the authentic, home-cooked Italian dishes. The menu changes every day, which guarantees that everything is fresh and of the highest quality, but the milk risotto and cotoletta alla Milanese are must-tries. Perhaps the best part? Given the service, the charm and the quality of the food, the prices (less than €25 per person) are actually quite fair compared to the rest of Milan.