Updated on 14 August 2017
Milan is one of those cities that doesn’t instantly reveal its treasures to visitors. Many of its attractions are hidden away and the same goes for the outdoor dining in Milan. Not to worry though as we have you covered, with a selection of the best rooftop bars and al fresco Milan restaurants.
Outdoor Dining in Milan – Al Fresco
Our adventures start at the appropriately named Al Fresco Milan on Via Savona. This former warehouse in the Tortona district has been beautifully restored and is now one of the top Milan restaurants. There are regular art exhibitions and a tasty Mediterranean menu. When we visited, the food was pretty good however the service was clinical though efficient. They’ve made some staff changes recently so hopefully the service will warm up a bit.
Talk about a hidden gem! This place looks like an innocuous office block from the outside but head up to the rooftop of Ceresio 7 and you enter a magical space. With 2 pools and a stylish restaurant and bar, it’s one of our favourite places to visit in Milan.
It’s the brainchild of Dean and Dan Caten, the creative directors of DSquared2, who also have their business headquarters in the building, as well as an exclusive member’s gym and spa. If it’s particularly busy you may be asked to share a table so remember to book in advance. We certainly enjoyed chatting to the group of Italian friends on ours.
10 Corso Como
Established on the Milan style scene since 1990, 10 Corso Como has since opened branches in Beijing, Shanghai and Seoul. The New York concept store is opening soon, in the historic Seaport District. As for the Milan address, it’s a unique blend of bookstore, art gallery, fashion boutique and restaurant. The charming garden cafe and restaurant is a great place to enjoy healthy dishes such as yellowfin tuna tartare and freshly squeezed juices.
Dolce&Gabbana Bar Martini
Tucked away inside a courtyard on Corso Venezia, you’ll find Dolce&Gabbana Bar Martini. The dynamic fashion duo have teamed up with Martini to create a light and airy eatery with a relaxed vibe, next to the Dolce&Gabbana Man boutique. It’s a great spot to savour an aperitivo while people watching.
If you’re looking for a light lunch or snack, then Eataly on Piazza Venticinque Aprile is a good pit stop. Since opening their first market store in Turin in 2007, they have expanded across Italy and to the United States, Asia and the Middle East. There’s a pleasant terrace outside and an impressive selection of eateries inside this former theatre, as well as a huge range of deli items to take away.
Milan’s upmarket department store is worth a visit for the fashion and household goods alone but on the top floor of La Rinascente on Via Santa Radegonda there’s a lovely rooftop bar with a fantastic view of the Duomo. Popular with locals and visitors alike, you’ll need to arrive early to bag a seat!
Porta Nuova Food District
Milan’s business district, near to Garibaldi train station, is popular with locals and has many casual eateries dotted around its circular main square. Piazza Gae Aulenti is raised six meters above street level and linked to Corso Como by an elevated walkway. Take a peek from here at the striking new buildings springing up, including Vertical Wood, awarded most innovative high-rise in the world. One of our favourite places with outdoor seating here is RED la Fetrinelli – aka Read Eat Dream. It’s a cool bookstore cafe that does a great value weekend brunch. If you fancy a gelato, head to Grom, also on Piazza Gae Aulenti.
Terrazza 12 at Brian & Barry
Another place that is frequented mostly by locals is Terrazza 12 at Brian & Barry on Via Durini. The reason is no doubt due to it being tucked away at the top of this uber cool department store. With a decor inspired by the 1950s, it’s a great place to sample one of their signature cocktails whilst admiring the panoramic views over Milan.
Un Posto a Milano
Finally, we couldn’t leave without a mention of our favourite outdoor dining in Milan experience… Un Posto a Milano is a renovated 17th century farmhouse in the heart of the city. This kitchen, bar and guest house is run by a group of Milanese associations and hosts a regular program of cultural events as well as a farmer’s market each Tuesday. Definitely one of the best restaurants in Milan for al fresco dining!
If you’re lucky, you might get a seat in the greenhouse as we did. The dessert sharing platter is not to be missed but all the food, with its emphasis on local produce and traceability, is equally impressive…
Other al fresco hotspots
♦ Erba Brusca for vegetarian food in the Navigli area
♦ Il Bacaro del Sambuco, in a quiet courtyard off Via Monte Napoleone
♦ Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone on Via Santo Spirito
♦ La Terrazza di Via Palestro within the Swiss Centre building
♦ Terrazza Triennale within the Design Museum on Viale Alemagna
Which of our al fresco Milan restaurants would you like to visit? Do you have any other restaurants that you would recommend to visitors looking for outdoor dining in Milan?