- Ryan Kretch
No matter the day of the week, Milan and most of North Italy is famous, or notorious, for its aperitivos, a deal where for a little more than the price of an aperitif (such as Aperol/Campari spritzes, Americanos, Negronis) depending on the generosity of the bar or restaurant, you get a plate of bite-sized food alongside that ranges from a little bowl of potato chips to a smorgasbord of little sandwiches and other fried bits of deliciousness.
Before we begin, in our collective opinion, Milan's aperitivos are in general a bit over-priced for what one gets (there are better aperitivos in Venice, Bergamo, just about everywhere else), but nonetheless the lavish city where Campari was basically born (okay officially Novara, but just west of Milan), provides an idyllic atmosphere to end the day with one, two, or more aperitivos and it is a must-try.
We arrived peckish in Milano on a Friday evening and thanks to TrustedHousesitters had a cat-sit that brought us right to the center of it all, Brera, for a week. As soon as we put our bags down and acquainted ourselves with our new friend, Salem, we set off for our first aperitivo.
We hit the jackpot on this first one. With strong Campari spritzes and a massive plate of treats including American-style chicken wings, one could almost completely neglect dinner and leave with a full stomach. Not as popular or reviewed as well as the maze of mediocre aperitivo places around it, Prestin also provides a nice atmosphere in the center of Moscova where you can watch all the Milanese after work in full on social mode.
First aperitivo was very successful
Two more aperitivos and one day later, I found the next place on my list unexpectedly. On a long walk back from the gym and other adventures, debating to go food shopping or take an aperitivo, we opted for the second option. We back-tracked to a place we had passed a few minutes earlier and the rest was history.
This place is set in the street and although at first glance, seems like nothing special, it grew on me. The drinks were strong but the icing on the cake was when the waiter brought out some bite sized Gorgonzola and tomato sandwiches to quench our hunger pangs.
It was that aperitivo that sparked a night out that lasted until 7am.
After a short sleep and another wander around Milan's Duomo, we were somehow invited by the gay socialites of Milan to an event that happens on a monthly basis at super chic and retro Terrazza Martini on Sunday nights. I won't count this one as we did not experience their aperitivo, but they served up an incredible Americano and while you will be shelling out the most amount of money for a cocktail ever (15 euros), the view of the city combined with the deliciousness of the cocktail makes it worth it (the pretentiousness of the guests, maybe bring down the value of the experience a bit 🤐).
Getting fancy at Terrazza Martini
The weekend over and remote work back in full-force, Monday came around, and we decided another aperitivo would solve our boredom problems.
Back near Moscova station, we ventured deeper into the labyrinth of bars and found a small little Mexican one serving up a Latin American spin on aperitivo.
This place ultimately was my favourite in the way. Not only were the drinks the strongest and largest, but the chips, guacomole and other Mexican bites provided a nice alternative to the aperitivo norm. To top it off, it was the cheapest aperitivo we found at just 8€ a person (okay, not cheap, but cheap for Milan).
Incredibly pleased with our Mexican-style aperitivo
By this point, my blood was composed highly of Campari and my stomach was hating me for lack of green vegetables, but that didn’t stop our quest for the best aperitivo. Come Tuesday, we met up with some friends and made a reservation at La Prosciutteria.
Not necessarily your typical aperitvo and more on the expensive side, La Prosciutteria was nonetheless worth it. The drinks were secondary compared to the massive four person board of cheeses and meats and breads we ordered. And next to the canal in Navigli, it was a uniquely Milanese experience. This place has two locations and reserving any night of the week is highly recommended.
Never-ending meats and cheese
As our week in Milan started to draw to a close, we decided a night of karaoke on a Thursday was a necessity and preceding that, an aperitvo would be a perfect way to boost our liquid courage a bit.
In the heart of chinatown, we discovered our final aperitivo place on this list, Bund-Sarpi.
Milan boasts one of the largest china towns in Europe and with that aperitivo fused with Asian flavours. At Bund-Sarpi we once again experienced generously spiked drinks and a plate of Asian delicacy including potstickers and spring rolls. The aperitivo was enough for us to walk in the karaoke bar with confidence and immediately pick up the microphone to start belting out Italian tunes.
Our week in Milano drew to a close, and without a doubt the highest expenses we faced were from the copious amounts of aperitivo we had consumed in the course of a week. Nevertheless, we were nearly almost always full and tipsy and that is the beauty and essence of the Milanese aperitivo.
### If you are feeling like you need more Italy inspiration, check out our dreamy stories about Naples, the chaotic but addictive city where we went after Milan. Here is Fabio's take and here is Ryan's