Milan, Italy
Stefano, 42
Digital Product Manager
see his Milan city guide

ask Stefano about

cocktail bars pub italian food trattoria ethnic food food markets nightclubs

What do you do and why do you do it?

I'm a Digital Product Manager for an international startup and in my spare time I love to cook and play squash. My interests are pretty various, I usually go to the local food market Saturday morning to take inspiration for some new recipe, I listen synthwave electronic music and I try to play the synth or sing too (with dreadful results). I'm also into contemporary art (sculpture in particular), architecture and industrial design. I like to get out with my neighborhood friends and meet new people, even if sometimes I may look a bit introvert.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

Usually I don't afford to despair when something goes wrong with my lover, by the way I consider myself very sensitive and a few sentimental tracks from Guns or Aerosmith could give me relief.

What are the best TV shows of all time?

Even if I can't say to indulge in binge watching, I had some great times with TV series in the past and love to watch some of them even today. My favorite shows encompass Magnum P.I., Miami Vice, Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, but I also love The Simpsons, Rick & Morty and Horseman Bojack or even Louie CK.

What’s the most decadent / extreme dish you ever ate in Milan and where did you get it?

Once I had a roasted beef shin as a "dessert" at Trattoria Trippa. They serve it cut in half and topped with braised herbs and rock salt, you can dig all the marrow in it with a tea spoon. Taste's so sweet, terrific!

Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Milan that you particularly like?

One of my favorite holes to get a drink when I'm hanging around all alone is Zinc. It's a cocktail bar near Bocconi university not so easy to spot because located in a small street close to Parco Ravizza. There're a couple of windows, but it's pretty dark inside since they've small handmade glass lights on top of the zinc-coated bar and main colors are black and purple. People there are really nice and their signature cocktails so tasty that once in it's really hard to move to other places.

What restaurant in Milan looks crap, but the food’s amazing?

Forget all the typical asian restaurants decorated with red lanterns and warm wooden furniture, Hua Cheng in Via Giordano Bruno has a single small room, more or less twenty seats and the atmosphere recalls a canteen, but they serve one of the best noodle soup in Chinatown. Even if menu is quite long as in many other ethnic places, the use of good ingredients (in particular vegetables and fresh pasta) makes the difference. A hot bowl of noodles in a cold winter evening is what you deserve and it's absolutely inexpensive.

Where can you get the best cocktail in Milan? Which one do you like?

Milan has many bars who gave birth to some of the most famous drinks in the world. My favorite one is the Nottingham Forrest in Viale Piave, a dark hole full of exotic paraphernalia whose owner many years ago adopted the molecular techniques of contemporary cuisine to create his unique mixology. The result is a terrific (and disturbing) blend of textures and flavors that seems to have drifted out from Star Wars or Blade Runner. When I go there, I always love to start with a classic Mondrian Martini, then have a refreshing Ex-Laser, ending with a carbon dioxide Pink Gin that basically trows my mouth into the hyperspace.

What’s the one place you think is overrated in Milan?

Corso Como is considered one of the pillar of "movida" together with Navigli as it hosts of some famous discos and bars, but to me it's just a crowded promenade plenty of noisy clubs and hideous boozers. And there's not even some canal nearby to throw them in.

What’s the one place you think is underrated in Milan?

In my humble opinion one of the most underrated area is Città Studi. Situated east Milan between Lambrate and the centre, it's the neighborhood of major scientific colleges and departments like Politecnico, Architecture, Pharmacology, etc. Apart educational activities, it's mainly a quite residential area with beautiful boulevard and characteristic buildings, well served by public transport and pretty green.

What are the Milan spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Milan has the typical plan of major italian cities, derived from the ancient Roman town and influenced by medieval and modern architectures, providing a characteristic onion shaped map. Piazza Castello is probably the best spot to start the visit, if it's your first-time in Milan. From there you can easily reach the Duomo and its beautiful square walking through Via Dante and then go to Colonne di San Lorenzo and Navigli or simply spend some time shopping around the Galleria and San Babila. Rinascente's roof top bar or Terrazza Aperol provide you the best view of the church and surroundings, while tasting a quick lunch or the aperitivo.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Milan. How do you spend it?

RELAX I usually love to spend the last night in a big city attending some party and going dance till early in the morning, so the day after I just want to recharge my batteries. Milan offers you several ways to reach the scope, if the season is good you can have a walk in some lush park like Giardini Montanelli or take a bath at Bagni Misteriosi pools. Otherwise when it gets colder you can find shelter at QC Termemilano thermal pools or eat some comfort food at Cascina Cuccagna. According to my calculations, by following all the steps you won't leave Milan anymore.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

I'm not very good to plan vacation, so I prefer rather to take a sudden decision and fly away, this is probably the reason why my favorite city is London. Since I went there the first time in '89 I got mad for it, I think because of the modern/traditional mix and the open-mindedness. It galvanizes me so much I could not sleep for days.

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Giulio Paletta