Milanese Cafes
Image by Chiara under Creative Commons License.

Italy, Milan Guide (D): Milanese Cafes

Milan is a modern city. It is an industrial capital and center for world fashion and international business. It is teeming daily with the chaotic rush of a city that never stops working. Although it has its share of history, art, and architecture, it won’t keep you on your toes with things to see. Therefore, when in Milan, search out the hidden gems of the city, the places where the locals like to find some peace from the hectic Milanese life.
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Attractions Map

Guide Name: Milanese Cafes
Guide Location: Italy » Milan
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (D))
# of Destinations: 15
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Ostello Bello   Pause   Upcycle Bike Cafe   Sofa Cafe   Bistro del Tempo Ritrovato   Cafe Vecchia Brera and Creperie   Libreria del Mondo Offeso   Frida   Pave'   Scriptorium   Peck   Camparino   Cascina Cuccagna - Un Posto a Milano   Sant'Ambroeus   Gogol & Company  
Author: Alexa Ahern
Author Bio: I’m a 22 year-old recent graduate living in Milan since August. I enjoy traveling and finding the hidden gems of the cities I visit. I studied anthropology and Italian and am inspired by places with historical, cultural, and artistic significance. I currently study and work as an au pair, while my true goal is to become fluent in Italian.
1
Ostello Bello

1) Ostello Bello

Ostello Bello is adored by the young crowd of Milan. It is in fact a hostel in the center of Milan, but is frequented often by the locals for its cafe/bar lounge area. If you find yourself staying in a different hotel or hostel in Milan, do not worry, because Ostello Bello is just a short walk from the Duomo. The main seating area just through the front doors is a collage of wooden tables, bookshelves and the great exchange of cultures you hope to find at fun, young hostel. There is also a large hang out in the basement where they host concerts, art shows, and even a Christmas market in early December. Many students find it the perfect place to study in the early afternoon and a fun bar for aperitivo or after dinner drinks. It is an ideal place for anyone looking to meet travelers and locals alike while staying in Milan!
2
Pause

2) Pause

Pause is the perfect name for this small, cozy cafe north of the city. It is a cafe and clothing shop of unique, simple style. You can find Pause just a few steps from the Lima Red Line Station, a ten minute ride from the Duomo. The shabby chic decor and mismatch seating are the perfect setting for a relaxing break between shopping on the nearby Corso Buenos Aires. Sit and enjoy the good music with a cup of tea or browse the vintage clothing in the back room. I recommend visiting Pause on a chilly autumn afternoon as the large front window and small space make it feel even more cozy!
3
Upcycle Bike Cafe

3) Upcycle Bike Cafe

Upcycle Milano Bike Cafe is located in a refurbished building near the Piola station of the green line. Originally an auto repair shop, it now serves the bike lovers of Milan. The cafe is essentially a large room with beautiful long wooden tables and tasteful bicycle-related decor. It is a nice place to sit for a while on the internet or with a good book and the communal seating makes it easy to meet other cafe-goers and bike-lovers. They also serve food and beer. Don’t forget to ask about the events they hold, including authors and spokespersons associated with the bike-loving community. On a nice day, you can take advantage of Milan’s bike-sharing program, BikeMi, found all around the city, and cycle your way to this unique cafe!
4
Sofa Cafe

4) Sofa Cafe

The Navigli Area of Milan is known for its excellent restaurants and lively, young crowd. The area is frequented most often at night, but can be a nice place for a walk during the day. Sofa Cafe is a small, but cozy cafe at the beginning of Naviglio Grande, the larger and more popular canal. In the warmer seasons, they have a great seating area next to the canal, with sofas for chairs. If you are looking for a more relaxed evening, as opposed to a rowdy night at the many other aperitivo bars in this area, Sofa cafe is a great place to check out. They serve all the usual warm drinks as well as an assortment of alcoholic beverages and food.
Image by roevin under Creative Commons License.
5
Bistro del Tempo Ritrovato

5) Bistro del Tempo Ritrovato

This beautiful cafe is just off the green line of Sant’Agostino. It is situated on the edge of a beautiful neighborhood lined with impressive palazzi within the area just south-west of Parco Sempione. The area is a perfect place for exploring the architecture of Milan. After, take a break at the Bistro’ del Tempo Ritrovato. The cafe-bookstore has a limited selection of books, but a spacious reading room with walls decked in black and white photos of jazz musicians. The space serves its customers with a unique philosophy dedicated to literature, art, and music: “The Bistro’ del tempo ritrovato was born from the desire to share, from the happiness found in helping people of different stories, dreams and competencies meet.” They also host book readings and other literature presentations every so often. Spend a few hours relaxing with a good book or enjoy the peaceful music with a cup of tea.
6
Cafe Vecchia Brera and Creperie

6) Cafe Vecchia Brera and Creperie

Located in the center of Brera, this classy cafe is the place to indulge. Not only do they make a fine cappuccino, but their assortment of lunch and dessert crepes are to die for. Brera is an upscale neighborhood known for the Academy of Fine Arts school and fancy shopping streets of Via Manzoni and Via della Spiga. Cafe Vecchia Brera is the perfect place to stop for a treat after a nice day of shopping or just wondering this wonderful neighborhood. The chic french bistro decor and jazzy music set the perfect mood. They also serve food from the kitchen, but the crepes can’t be beat!
7
Libreria del Mondo Offeso

7) Libreria del Mondo Offeso

You most definitely will feel at home in this cozy bookstore-cafe. Located near the Moscova metro stop, essentially Milan’s Chinatown, it is a short ride from the center. If you are looking for a relaxing place for a good coffee and piece of chocolate cake, I recommend the Libreria del Mondo Offeso. The seating area is surrounded by beautiful vintage black and white photos and flanked by a piano, available for anyone who wants to tickle the ivories a bit. After a good cappuccino, take some time to explore the bookstore on the other side of the shop. There is a healthy variety of books and even a shelf of books with italian and english translations. They also offer delicious dishes for every meal of the day. You will not be disappointed by the Libreria del mondo offeso.
8
Frida

8) Frida

Frida is a place like none other; yet, similar to so many other places in Milan, it utilizes its space for many purposes, combining the cool, relaxed cafe atmosphere of the early afternoon, with a lively, alternative, bar scene at night. It is located a little far out of the center, but with public transportation, which is easy to navigate, it is easy to reach. The neighborhood, Isola, is home to many unique restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. I recommend taking the yellow line to Zara and then walking a few blocks. Frida is perfect in the summertime for the shaded patio outside. Be sure to also stop into the vintage clothing store next door, also run by Frida. You will also want to check out the upcoming events at Frida as they often have some great live music that varies in genre.
9
Pave'

9) Pave'

Pave’ is a pasticceria and known for their deserts. It is definitely worth checking out for the variety of pastries and sweets they have to offer. It is also a great place for a coffee and has a comfortable seating area. The lunch menu is also delicious. Like Pause, it is near the busy Corso Buenos Aires, but tucked back into one of the side streets where you can find some peace for a lunch or coffee break.
10
Scriptorium

10) Scriptorium

A cozy atmosphere, book lined walls, and a spacious study room make Scriptorium a favorite hang out for the students who attend the near by Cattolica university. Its is always filled with young people studying or in deep conversation. It is located in the historical center, not too far from the Cadorna station, but tucked out of the way from the hustle and bustle. It is a perfect place to enjoy a cappuccino and a brioche after a walk around the city center. If you find yourself in Milan during the colder months of the year, Scriptorium is a great place to escape the cold and have a mouthwatering, italian hot chocolate. In the summer, on the other hand, choose a refreshing gelato from their many flavors.
11
Peck

11) Peck

Peck is located just around the corner from the Duomo and when it comes to Italian food, this place really has it all. It is a heaven for Italian food fanatics. Within this one locale, you can find just about every type of Italian eatery: a cafe, restaurant, gastronomy, butcher, pastry shop, fruit and vegetable stand, rotisserie, and even a wine cellar. They serve an excellent cappuccino in the cafe area. After a short break, take a walk around the rest of Peck to really immerse yourself in Italian food culture. It is an experience like none other and a great way to get accustomed to what comprises Italian cuisine. There is so much more than just pasta and pizza!
12
Camparino

12) Camparino

Deemed an institution in Milan, the now entitled Camparino cafe has history in the Piazza del Duomo. Originally the historical home of Campari, it switched between owners before returning to the Campari namesake in the past few years, over a hundred years after its founding. The cafe and bar is found in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele with fantastic view of the duomo. It has a reputation of class and dedication in Milan being such a historical landmark in Milan. It is reputed also to have one of the best cappuccinos in Milan. Although on the pricier side, it also serves fantastic, traditional, Italian dishes. Camparino certainly cannot be missed!
13
Cascina Cuccagna - Un Posto a Milano

13) Cascina Cuccagna - Un Posto a Milano

Cascina Cuccagna is a beautiful establishment found near the Porta Romana stop along the yellow line. Located in a 17th century farmhouse, it is more than just a place to eat. It preserves a small piece of Milanese history and architecture, while working for sustainable development and the environment. Within the cascina, there is courtyard where one can eat in the warmer months from the trattoria/bar inside, called Un Posto a Milano. Their dishes follow their careful ideology of sustainability and many are vegetarian. If you really wish to get outside the tourist traps in the center and discover something more in Milan, Cascina Cuccagna is the perfect place for an afternoon.
Image by Paul Goyette under Creative Commons License.
14
Sant'Ambroeus

14) Sant'Ambroeus

Sant’Ambroeus is a cafe/bar in the center of Milan’s shopping district. Much like the shops around it, Sant’Ambroeus has a reputation of offering the high class ambiance and good quality products that Milan is known for. If you are looking to catch a glimpse at Milan’s elite, this is the place to go. They have the typical Italian sweets, like brioches and cakes, as well as dishes commonly found in Milan. However, you will get your money’s worth here as it is highly reputed to be one of the best places for a meal and is high on the list of best cappuccinos in Milan.
15
Gogol & Company

15) Gogol & Company

Gogol & Company is another bookstore cafe in Milan, a fairly recent trend borrowing from the typical Northern European cafes of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. It is located near the Navigli area a little walk from the Porta Genova stop on the green line. If you are in the area, stop in for a coffee or just a look around. The space also serves as an art gallery and holds special showings every so often. They also serve food and are open late.
Image by Michal Osmenda under Creative Commons License.

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