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    A Guide to Aperitivo in Milan

    By Aida Arnedo 

    March 4, 2021

    A Guide to Aperitivo in Milan

    First, some history. Around 1786 in Turin, Antonio Benedetto Carpano invented the famous Vermouth, and he is believed to be either the creator of the aperitivo or the one who promoted it. The definition of aperitivo (or aperitif) is that of an alcoholic beverage that is consumed prior to a meal with the intention of stimulating the appetite. Nowadays, aperitivo has turned into something more; it is not only one drink you’ll have, but also a variety of food which can range from small finger food to huge buffets, so be prepared to choose among great Italian and international goodies. Keep in mind that the traditional aperitivo is originally from Milan in the north of Italy, although it is quite common to find it in other cities as well now.

    How does it work? 

    How does it work? 

    Aperitivo tends to start early, around 6pm, and go until 9pm. By then, you should have warmed up your stomach for the real dinner, either at your place or at a restaurant. Now, when you arrive to your destination, wait to be taken to your table by the waiter (in some places it is a good idea to make a reservation as they can get really crowded).

    Then order your drink, I’ll give you some tips on this later on, and feel free to head to the buffet, where you can grab a plate and just go for whatever you want. In some places where finger food is served, the waiter will be taking small plates to your table every now and then.

    It is important to know that you can eat as much as you want, but you should not waste food, nor leave it on the plate, since most places will charge you extra for this. 

    How much is it? 

    How much is it? 

    Regarding price, it can vary a bit depending on where you are going, but in the vast majority of places you can pay one drink from 10 to 15€ and just eat what you want; however, some (fancier) places will only allow one plate per drink and you should buy another drink to keep eating. 

    What to drink

    What to drink

    “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” as the old saying goes, and when in Milan you won’t be disappointed by the typical Milanese cocktails. 

    Spritz: the most traditional Italian cocktail, it is made from prosecco, Aperol and soda, then garnished with an orange slice. This refreshing cocktail is perfect for the hot summer days, but blends perfectly all year long at any moment.

    Negroni: another classic, Negroni is made from gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. This is a cocktail shrouded in history and one you must try. 

    But you can also go for any drink of your preference; the good old mojito never disappoints or why not a Tequila Sunrise? You can also get a beer or wine if you’re not in the mood for a cocktail, and of course, non-alcoholic beverages are also available. 

    Where to go

    Where to go

    You can find places offering aperitivo everywhere, but the real action occurs in the Navigli district. Facing the old canals in the southwest of Milan, you’ll be amazed by the number of places to pick from. 

    Maya Cocktail Bar and Restaurant is one of the best aperitivos you can find around the Navigli, they offer a huge variety of food and cocktails. Chocolate lovers, you’ll be pleased as it has an enormous chocolate fountain for dessert!

    But Milan has more to offer, and facing the iconic Arco della Pace you’ll find more places for a good aperitivo.  

    Bhangra Bar stands out for the quality of their buffet, which has great international food, as well as for their good service. 

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    And if you’re in the mood for the classic (just a few appetizers) aperitivo, then head to Corso Garibaldi, where modern and old Milano mix together to bring an excellent atmosphere for travellers.

    Facing the Arco di Porta Garibaldi, you’ll find Princi, one of the most iconic places in Milan. This bakery stands out for the quality of its bread, but going in for an aperitivo is something else. Good cocktails, really good focaccia and some other small bites will give you an evening to remember!

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