According to British chain Tesco, vegan food was ‘UK’s Fastest growing culinary trend of 2018’. Not only in England it’s a trend, but also in my country, Italy, change is happening. More and more people are buying plant-based products or dining at vegetarian eateries. And while for some it might be linked to health or curiosity, I dare say most are in it for the long run.
I live in Milan and people often ask, Isn’t it difficult?, How do you do it?, I could never give up cheese! and What do you eat when you go out?
Well, fortunately, I have some good news for lovers of Italy and Italian food: veganism might be somewhat new to my country but in the last few years there has been a huge growth of plant-based products. Going out to eat, or even just shopping in supermarkets, is easier than ever.
In Milan, where I live, there are plenty of vegan or vegetarian restaurants. Some of them are quite expensive, but this is not necessarily related to the food itself; most places in Milan aren’t cheap, a Margherita pizza can be 10 euros, and while that might sound okay if you come from abroad, that’s outrageous for most Italian people. Plant-based cafés and restaurants are becoming more popular though, and I believe this will help lower the general prices. Most cafès now offer at least soy milk with your cappuccino and vegan croissants, but for meals it can sometimes be harder to find good places. I would like to recommend some worth checking out.
Best Vegan Restaurants in Milan
This place is hands down my favorite restaurant in Milan. The quality of the ingredients, the flavors, the attention the chef pays to every dish are all incredible and I believe omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike would all enjoy the food served here. The location is lovely, close to popular area Isola, which is only a few subway stops away from the centre. The last time I had dinner here, I tried a lovely chickpea omelette with tomatoes and veggies that I know I will never be able to recreate at home. Chef Claudio is so nice and welcoming and so are the members of staff. Don’t miss out on BistroBio if you’re in town!
Mi Garba Bistrot is located in the heart of Milan, close to the fancy area of Brera. It’s a Tuscan restaurant—name literally means I like that—but, as lots of recipes originally served in Tuscany were cooked by peasants, the ingredients are simple and nutritious: the famous Ribollita, or Tuscan soup, is a very old dish. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity, though: made with bread, beans, cavolo nero, onion, garlic, stock, and swiss chards, it’s savory and comforting. I’ve been a few times to this restaurant, and I’ve ordered different types of appetizers every time but always Ribollita as the main, as I just can’t get enough of it.
Leccornie is a bakery that also serves savory food, such as farinata (similar to an omelette, made with chickpea flour, water, salt and oil), panzerotti (small turnovers, similar to calzone), and baked pasta. We all know that finding vegan desserts can be pretty difficult, but this place will definitely not let you down: their range goes from delicious pastries with soy Chantilly cream, chocolate pistachio balls that are out of this world, to cannoli (tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet creamy filling) and so much more. The chef is lovely and he’s a vegan activist too: in fact, this place is 100% plant-based! All the more reason to go and support them.
This place is a hit with everyone, despite their food preferences. They serve tasty food and you get to relax in the company of cats, all rescues. You can play with them and cuddle, but not pick them up—the owners are clear about rules you need to follow. You can tell that these animals are loved and well looked after. A part of your bill goes to the expenses related to their care. I really enjoyed their weekend brunch menu, but if you go during the week you can just stop by for coffee and dessert or lunch.
Tenoha is Japanese and you might be wondering why I am mentioning it to you. Nobody comes to Milan to eat food that’s not Italian, right? Well, maybe you should make an exception for some of the best vegan ramen you’ll ever have: the base includes soy milk and sesame paste, making the soup incredibly rich and flavorful, and the fresh noodles and the toppings—sweet potato, tofu, mushrooms—blend so well together. If you’re in town in autumn or winter, you won’t want to miss out on this delicious ramen.
Get more like this–sign up for our newsletter for exclusive inspirational content!
Photo: Respective venues