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Milanese Costoletta: Don’t Call it Cotoletta

Don’t call it schnitzel and not even cutlet, because in Milan the meat is strictly veal, on the bone, two fingers high, breaded in egg and breadcrumbs and fried in clarified butter. It has only one name: “costoletta” rib, and everything else is irrelevant. Rather than passing tourists, this statement will amaze Milanese who no longer really know how to recognize an original one, and when they find it on their plate they even turn their noses up. The cutlet is dying out like a panda, because it costs and takes time to make and therefore many have been trying for years to interpret it “creatively” and to redo it in “lighter” versions fried in oil, half oil and half butter, in the fryer. All these solutions are practical for sure but end up cancelling the authentic taste of a dish so difficult to find even in Milan and even by a true Milanese doc.

Still pink inside, an unmistakable scent of butter, double breading, crunchy and well adherent, are the hallmarks of a perfect cutlet. It should be cooked in a pan, not in a fryer, and breaded on the spot which makes it unsuitable for the rhythms of modern restaurants that prepare in advance and serve quickly.

Some prepare it “ad orecchia di elefante” (as an elephant ear), beaten so much that it becomes very thin and huge, others have not stopped serving it with cherry tomatoes and rocket since the Eighties and those who accompany it with a slice of lemon. But the original is best eaten sprinkled with a little red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt, preferably marine and flaky.

If finding the right one has become a treasure hunt for professionals, here is the opinion of a professional.

Trattoria del Nuovo Macello: The best takes a 25 minute wait

At the Trattoria del Nuovo Macello, where once were the general markets of the city, the wait is 25 minutes but it is amply rewarded. Only excellent veal left to hang for 40 days, cooked slowly in a pan with a little butter, served pink, high and very fragrant. From the textbook, and for this reason with or without bone (and chef Giovanni Traversone swears, even better the one without). The wait? You’ll be glad to use it up with a plate of typical Milanese appetizers such as mondeghili and delicious salami.


Trattoria del Gallo: The trip out of town

A few minutes from Milan, in the South Milan Agricultural Park, there is a historic trattoria that since its opening in 1860 has become for the Milanese doc the ideal day trip destination on the weekend . Here the cuisine is classic and therefore the cutlet cannot be missing: they serve it high or beaten. The beaten version is for those who prefer crunchiness, while the high and pinkish one, for those who love the soft buttery texture. Uncertain? Try both and make sure to start with a round of mixed house appetizers with the legendary Russian salad and let yourself be enchanted by the wine list.


Osteria del Brunello: Downtown, open 365 days a year

In Corso Garibaldi, in one of the shopping and nightlife streets of Milan, there is Osteria del Brunello,the winner of the “Best Schnitzel of the Year” award from the Gambero Rosso guide in 2015. They make it classic with 230grams of properly made meat, served with a side of potatoes and buttered spinach. Never closed, they are always open and smiling: it is the perfect stop in the center to shield yourself from all the tourist traps traditional only in the decor. Obviously, there is no compromise on wines, here Sangiovese is a must. 


Gallia Terrace: Double and luxurious

On the top floor of the sumptuous Hotel Gallia, the kitchen is signed by the Cerea family, the same family that signs Da Vittorio restaurant, three Michelin stars in the province of Bergamo. They have been great interpreters of fish for decades, but strangely enough, their iconic dishes are precisely the costoletta and the paccheri al pomodoro (which they both do in this urban spin-off). The costoletta is a triumph, huge and to be shared with other diners because it looks more like a Man VS Food dish than that of a gourmet restaurant. It is served on the trolley, portioned and divided into parts at the table, with cherry tomatoes and potatoes. At a cost of € 90, it is the most expensive in Milan, but it is a convivial and above all, unforgettable dish.


Anche*: Mistaken

They declare it immediately, to avoid misunderstandings. Their cutlet is pork, and it’s not the “right” way to do it, but we can’t deny how good it is. It is essentially a beaten and breaded pork chop with eggs, panko bread, almonds, orange and salt crystals. Deep fried in butter, not in a pan. There you can have brunch or an aperitif, to completely subvert the tradition. € 18 with baked potatoes, also available for delivery worldwide. They have three locations in the Isola area, Porta Romana and NoLo.



Pair your delicious costoletta with bubbles of a local Franciacorta or a young, lively red wine. Please forgive but with the costoletta, the great red and barricaded wines are a “no no” just like the lemon. 

Trattoria del Nuovo Macello 

Trattoria del Gallo

Osteria del Brunello

Gallia terrace