Hi all, next month I'm taking advantage of a return flight connection in Milan to finally see more of the city than just passing through it. As you might guess, I'd like to find something about the food while there. If you've seen my requests before, you'll probably be aware of my typical profile, but here goes anyway.
First, I want to state factors that absolutely do *not* matter in choosing where to eat, because peoples' priorities are often different and stating what you don't care about broadens the scope.
I do not care about the price. Be careful - it means that yes, cost is no object, but on the other hand it doesn't mean high cost is specifically desirable, which is often the connotation attached to "cost is no object". It means that it really doesn't matter whether the place is 10€/head or 100€/head; that's immaterial.
I don't care about having particularly friendly or congenial service. As long as they take my order and get me the food to the table, they've done the critical part.
I don't care about whether a place is "undiscovered" or a universally-known institution. On the one hand, I don't get any particular satisfaction out of the feeling I've found somewhere completely off the tourist radar; on the other hand I don't have any particular need to have eaten in somewhere "iconic" (Again, this doesn't mean that I'm looking for something between the 2 extremes; either extreme is also perfectly fine)
I don't care about atmosphere, bar scene, tourist quotient, or other elements related to the overall "feel" of the restaurant. It doesn't have to be like a stereotype of expectations of Milan, or Italy, nor for that matter completely undistinguishable from any restaurant anywhere else.
And I note also that it's my strong belief that none of these factors need have any *necessary* impact on the food. Which hints at what I do care about: I'm looking for the best quality food possible, excluding all other considerations. A restaurant which makes no compromises when it comes to what they put on the plate - and this doesn't mean luxury ingredients necessarily; it means that whatever they do use, they make the best. A pizza, for example is hardly luxury unless you do something unusual and bizarre, but they should start out from the most flavourful, high-protein wheat flour they can find, use the sweetest, reddest tomatoes possible, etc.
So here's what I'd like to find:
1) Somewhere serving classic Milanese dishes; risotto and costoletta are the critical ones. Osso bucco would be interesting too. Possibly 2 restaurants if possibilities exist. They should be unswervingly authentic.
2) A great place for morning brioches (usually called cornetti further south). My reference standards here are Cristalli di Zucchero in Rome and Luca Mannori in Prato. That level of excellence. They MUST use all butter; no marg or other vegetable fats allowed.
3) Somewhere high-end for a celebration meal. I've been debating whether in fact to abandon that while in Milan and instead go to my favourite standby in Rome (where I'll be the night before) - Il Pagliaccio - but the idea of trying something new that represents the elite of Milan is appealing.
4) A great caffe. Coffee quality here is everything. If this can be combined with 2) great, but I'm happy to go to one place for the coffee and another for the brioche, if ultimate quality is found in 2 different places.
At least 2 other "random" choices, representing the best Milan has to offer; I'd prefer Italian cuisine, though.
Thanks for any suggestions. I'll report comprehensively on my return.
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