Milan’s Power Dining: Top Restaurants for Successful Deals

This article is part of a new guide to Milan from FT Globetrotter. Follow along as we publish a new article every day this week.

The Milanese pride themselves on being efficient, fast-paced, and understated, setting them apart from the Romans. This sentiment extends to their dining style as well. Unlike the lavish three-course meals with copious amounts of wine favored by Roman politicians, the Milanese prefer something more low-key.

In Milan, business lunches are a social affair that influential figures in the city, including bankers, entrepreneurs, fashionistas, and powerful executives, cannot do without. While traditional power brokers may conduct their important meetings at exclusive private members’ clubs, there are plenty of restaurants that cater to their needs. These go-to spots have been highly regarded for decades and offer the perfect setting for forging relationships, negotiating deals, or simply enjoying a meal while discussing business matters.

Privacy, fine dining with lighter à la carte options, and impeccable, efficient service are the key factors that make a restaurant popular among the Milanese elite. In fact, it is not uncommon to find these power brokers dining at multiple restaurants in a single lunch hour, meeting different individuals at each location.

While some of these esteemed venues have changed locations over the years, their core qualities have remained the same: elegant and discreet. Some exude the charm of high-end Mayfair restaurants, complete with carpeted floors and panelled walls, while others embody the sophisticated Italian atmosphere, with crisp white tablecloths and sparkling wine glasses.

The focus for Milan’s frequent diners is not solely on the food but also on the conversation. Although the dishes may appear simple, such as grilled chicken or fish with steamed vegetables, they offer excellent quality. The Milanese understand that it is the conversation that truly matters during these meals, and they value the ability to return to the office with clarity and energy.

However, it is not just the simplicity of the dishes that has made these restaurants famous. It is the more indulgent offerings, such as risotto giallo or all’ossobuco, riso al salto, brasato, raw fish platters, and tagliatelle bolognese, that have attracted elite travelers, influencers, and locals alike. These menu items are a must-try when visiting Milan.

Here are two renowned restaurants that have stood the test of time:

1. Il Baretto
Address: Via della Spiga 26, 20121 Milan
Good for: Seafood dishes, extensive wine list, and cocktails
Not so good for: A casual, budget-friendly meal
Website: [Il Baretto](
Directions: [Google Maps](

Il Baretto has been a favorite among Italian high society, TV personalities, and financiers for decades. Former prime minister Giulio Andreotti and Fiat owner Gianni Agnelli were regular patrons in the 1970s and ’80s, and their descendants continue to frequent the restaurant. Located in the heart of Milan’s fashion quarter, Il Baretto’s new premises on Via della Spiga offer a more contemporary setting while retaining the English members’ club ambiance. The restaurant is known for its seafood dishes, including musky octopus with lentils and lobster with raw tomato and onion. Their French and Italian wine list, as well as their creative cocktails, add to the overall dining experience.

2. Boeucc
Address: Piazza Belgioioso 2, 20121 Milan
Good for: Private conversations, Milanese risotto
Not so good for: A romantic date
Website: [Boeucc](
Directions: [Google Maps](

Boeucc has been open since 1696, making it one of the oldest restaurants in Italy. It has welcomed historic figures such as Giuseppe Mazzini and Arturo Toscanini. The restaurant’s current venue, near La Scala, features vaulted ceilings, granite columns, and marble statues. Boeucc is a popular choice for lunch among influential businesspeople from various industries, including media, healthcare, and finance. The attentive waitstaff ensures that regulars feel at home, remembering their food and drink preferences. While the restaurant offers traditional Milanese specialties like risotto Milanese, customers can also opt for lighter options like raw artichoke salad or puntarelle salad with anchovies and mozzarella. Boeucc’s signature Quarantott cocktail, made with Campari and rosemary, is a must-try.

Keep exploring Milan’s vibrant dining scene and discover more hidden gems throughout the city. Tune in for the next article in our Milan guide series.


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