Rebelot, Photo Courtesy of Bruno Pulici
Where to eat and drink
The Navigli neighborhood’s vintage Milanese osteria Al Pont de Ferr adds a 21st-century flair to traditional dishes. Rebelot, Al Pont de Ferr’s little sister, is a tapas bistro helmed by Brazilian chef Mauricio Zillo with an excellent cocktail bar. The fashionable set loves contemporary bistro Pisacco. Associate cocktail bar Dry has some of the best drinks (like the Superstition with Fernet-Branca, Mount Gay Eclipse Silver, Velvet Falernum, lemon juice and rhubarb and licorice bitters) in the city and, unbeknownst to many, quite the tasty pizza. For a more low-key dining scene, Lievito Madre al Duomo is a quaint Napoli import at the very center of Milan where pizzamaker Gino Sorbillo serves only seven kinds of pies. If you’ve had your fill of pepperoni, try Tokuyoshi, the February-opened, Italian-Japanese restaurant from Yoji Tokuyoshi, Massimo Bottura’s former sous chef at Modena’s beloved Francescana.
Where to stay
Following a four-year restoration, the winter 2015-opened Excelsior Hotel Gallia is an incredible example of Art Deco enchantment in the 21st century, and perhaps the smartest place to stay in Milan. Studio Marco Piva brings light into the 1930s hotel through color (browns and other earth tones), wellness (Milan’s largest hotel spa) and technology (the gym has a virtual golf simulator). The rooftop restaurant and bar have a futuristic vibe, too, thanks to gorgeous glass chandeliers and curvaceous furniture. The ground-level library is perfect for an in-transit meeting or a smoke in the Poltrona Frau-orchestrated cigar bar. The location is perfect for Expo visitors as it is immediately adjacent to the city’s Central Station. The Milan hotel also gives you access to a courtesy car for transport to the historic center.
The 10-level boutique property Palazzo Parigi Hotel is Neoclassical luxe with a French twist. Cosmopolitan and stylish, the Palazzo Parigi screams “catwalk,” which makes sense seeing as how the address is just around the corner from Milan’s trendy quadrilatero della moda section. Designed by architect and owner Paola Giambelli, the rooms toe between modernist Milano and fanciful French. The ground-level lounge bar Caffé Parigi seems inspired by a Rothschild library. Gastronomic Restaurant feels like a runway of sorts, too, with its dramatic glass “tunnel” for waiters. In the warmer months, head to the century-old garden for evening cocktails.