Oh, my heart. My heart! I miss it already. Che bello, Milano.
This post is a bit overdue, but my husband and I were fortunate to spend the end of January in Milan, Italy — followed by a short trip to Berlin, Germany. As a gluten-free-by-necessity individual, I carefully researched options beforehand. I hope this helps any fellow gluten free travelers that also desire to mangiare bene a Milano!
- La Galleria. Located inside the famous Vittorio Emanuele II covered street, La Galleria Restaurant was an absolute treat. The waiters and host were among the friendliest staff we encountered on our trip, and the gluten
free options were incredible. I was accommodated with ease! I ordered spaghetti both nights, but they also brought over a gluten free bread basket just for me. It is not tourist-trap quality food, despite the touristy location. A few guests on TripAdvisor noted that the items were pricey, but we didn’t feel it was pricier than an average Milan restaurant. Plus, to be able to dine under the world’s oldest (and most beautiful!) shopping mall? It was priceless to us. I think we would have been happy to pay even more for such an experience.
- Pro tip: This restaurant is one of the only ones in the area to be open all day. Italians usually eat dinner well after 7pm, but if you are just arriving and feel hungry, this place is a great for a first meal. Additionally, if you are attending an opera at La Scala, this is your best bet for dinner.
- Cantina Piemontese. Gluten free dining abroad can be frustrating, but sometimes my husband and I marvel at the places that we are led to — some we never would have found if it weren’t for needing GF food. Cantina Piemontese is most definitely one of these gems. In my initial research, this restaurant stood out because it was AIC certified (Celiac Association of Italy). I figured they must know what they were doing. Did they ever! We dined here three out of our five nights in Milan. Serving traditional cuisine from the Piedmont region, the restaurant changes the menu every day, lending credence to the freshness of their ingredients. As other travelers have noted on TripAdvisor, this place is a little hard to find. We had to put it in Google Maps when we were walking to be sure we were headed in the right direction. However, when you stumble across the antique-looking brown sign in the foggy Milan evening, you know you’re in for a real dining experience. The pastas were delicious, as were the gluten free bread baskets that were brought over to me each time. They even offer veal Milanese gluten free!
- Pro tip: Order the Dodicidodici wine!
- PanPerMe Gluten Free Bakery. This place was a saving grace for snacks, cappuccino, and a light lunch. The owner’s wife is Celiac, so he decided to open a 100% gluten free bakery. It is a little bit out of the way from the main Duomo area of Milan, but not too bad — maybe a 10-15 minute walk. Locals and tourists alike came here to enjoy the delicious food. He was particularly booked for Sunday brunch. The first time we came, I enjoyed a cornetto (almost like an Italian croissant) freshly filled with chocolate cream. We took some cookies to go and finished them that night. When we ordered them, the owner didn’t throw them in a bag. No, he laid them out on a little decorative foam tray and packaged them up carefully with a sense of Italian pride in his product. We absolutely loved this place; the prices were really reasonable, too. If you are gluten-free (or even not) you can’t miss PanPerMe. We came back a total of three times!
So there you have it! These were definitely the three highlights. A good thing to remember, though, is that Celiac Disease is common and recognized in Italy. Thus, not all restaurants with gluten free options outwardly say that they offer them; it’s always worth asking! Plus, in the land of pizza and pasta, there is always risotto 🙂