We’re not shy about how much we love the food in our dear Milan and while many Milanese get their casseuola on this time of year, every once in a while, they (we included) just want a sandwich—or, rather, in Italian terms: A panino. We love chowing down on the usual suspects like a caprese, prosciutto, or speck and brie, but we also appreciate when panini makers throw some creativity into the mix.
Here’s a look at three unusual panini you can find in Milan, all of which suffice for lunch, a merenda or even dinner, though for the latter, you might want to double up.
1. Panino Ragusano, Panino Giusto: We heart Panino Giusto! Since opening in 1979, Panino Giusto has never sacrificed quality as its panino empire has expanded. Among the many delicious offerings is the Panino Ragusano, made with sliced grilled beef, cacio cheese from Ragusa in Sicily (hence the panino’s name), Giarratana sweet onions (massive sweet onions also from Sicily), corn salad and a mustard mayo. You can find this at Panino Giusto’s various locations, including those on Corso Garibaldi and near the Duomo.
2. El gran bürgher de Milàn at Le Biciclette: This 18-year-old café serves an homage to Milan and local territory all sandwiched neatly inside a Michetta, the Milanese version of a Kaiser roll: A Luganega patty (local pork sausage), Gorgonzola, Savoy cabbage leaves and finely chopped white onions. Pair the burger with the Tutt el’Di cocktail, which translates to “all day long” in Milanese dialect, a perfect Milanese marriage. (Via Giovanni Battista Torti, 2; 02 5810 4325; website; open seven days, 6pm – 2am)
3. Fried Octopus Panino at Pescaria: If you follow any Milan food enthusiasts on Instagram, it’s highly likely you’ve seen a close-up of the crave-worthy fried octopus sandwich with sautéed chicory, ricotta and pepper, finished with an anchovy sauce. Pescaria comes to Milan via Polignano a Mare in Puglia, so you can take your pick from a number of other seafood delights if octopus isn’t your thing. Note: Be prepared to wait, but know it’s well worth it. (Via Bonnet 5; + 39 02 659 9322; open 7 days, 12.30pm – midnight; website)