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Italians love good food and take their time over it during their afternoon lunch. This is a good time to discuss important aspects of life such as family, art, films, food and wine. But even though Italians are fans of leisurely wining and dining, there are also some delicious quick bites to be had in Milan. You’ll be back exploring the city in no time having snacked on a delicious panini or panzerotti.
If you’ve already dined out Italian-style the previous evening – antipasti followed by pasta, a meat dish, a dessert and an espresso – then maybe a simple panini for lunch might be just what you need. In Milan, the tradition of spending hours over lunch has fallen by the wayside to a certain extent due to time pressures. An increasing number of shops and businesses are reluctant to close for hours on end and instead, their staff eat sandwiches and salads. But that doesn’t mean the Italian people have lost their taste for good food.
From the outside, Bar della Crocetta appears typically Italian with its simple canopy and decorative letters on the wall. While the interior is equally modest, the menu is a different matter altogether. The canopy of this restaurant in the old city centre displays the slogan ‘Dove il panino è arte’, which means, ‘Where the sandwich is an art form’. This is no exaggeration: you can choose from no fewer than 100 types of panini, with toppings that vary from different kinds of ham to wild venison, from fish to cheese, and from egg and mushroom to fresh vegetables. The restaurant has an informal atmosphere and the service is very friendly.
Goat’s cheese flavoured with basil, marinated artichokes and fresh mozzarella: these are just a few of the many delicious ingredients you can use to fill the thin, homemade sandwiches on offer. De Santis is a typical Italian lunch eatery with roughly plastered walls, art deco lamps and a heavy, dark-brown bar. Here, they serve your panini on a wooden plate but the friendly young Italian waiters have no problem wrapping it in a serviette for you to take away instead.
If you’re in the neighbourhood of the Milan Duomo Cathedral and still have a lot to see and do, a quick panzerotti is the ideal solution. A panzerotti is comparable to a small pizza calzone (a folded and sealed pizza), but is made from a softer dough and deep fried. Panzerotti Luini has been making these deep-fried sandwiches since 1940. Don’t be concerned about the long queue around lunchtime as the staff work really fast. Before you know it you’re at the front of the line with a delicious, fresh, hot snack in your hand.
“Panzerotti Luini has been making deep-fried sandwiches since 1940.”