• Food & Wine

It s raining meatballs

One of the most typical and traditional dishes of the Lombard cuisine

We refer, not to the famous Sony Pictures cartoon Cloudy with a chance of meatballs, but to a gastronomic trend that is slowly taking over the city - the meatball, long synonym of comfort food, tradition and a thrifty solution for leftovers in home cooking, has changed its look and is beginning to appear on the menus of Milan restaurants, even winning the hearts of chefs. Surprising? Not really, not to true citizens of Milan, because mondeghili (flattened meatballs made of minced meat and breadcrumbs soaked in milk and egg), along with osso buco and the Milanese cutlet, are one of the Lombard capital's most famous, traditional dishes. Where can you taste the original recipe? At Testina, in Via delle Abbadesse 19, which serves Milan mondeghili served with red pepper sauce as a starter. 

A real paean in praise of meatballs is raised by Ciccilla, in Via Volta 7, where the entire menu is dedicated the them. Here you can taste endless variations - from the classic mondeghili, to meatballs made of beef, chicken and pork; from fish and shrimp flavour to vegetarian, very tasty, or cheese, not to mention special versions, well worth discovering. 

But how do you transform a humble dish into a gourmet delicacy? Find out at The Meatball Family, a beautifully designed, charming restaurant conceived by Diego Abantuono and associates which, as well as the traditional meatball, offers delicious, exotic variations on the theme. Like the Salentina, with squid and pecorino cheese, the Sashball, with tuna sashimi and nori, or the Marrakech Express made of potato, coriander, saffron and yoghurt sauce. The menu changes frequently and there are always new entries. But if you want to act like Lady and the Tramp, how can you resist the temptation of ordering a plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs!

Other gourmet addresses are Al Mercato in Via Sant'Eufemia, where chefs Beniamino Nespor and Eugenio Roncoroni propose the Meatball Sandwich, with meatballs in sauce and melted gruyere, and Dopolavoro Bicocca, with its irresistible golden, crispy meatballs and spaghetti with meatballs. 

Fans of more exotic flavours can do almost a world tour, in the hunt for this round, delicious delicacy, because if Milan has its mondeghili, every nation has its own meatballs. So beef  köttbullar from Sweden, served with the famous redcurrant jelly, can be tasted at MUD Art Café in Viale Bligny 42. Or find the flavours of the Middle East at Nun – Taste of Middle East ,in Via Spallanzani 36, which serves home-made falafel. If Greece tempts us with its traditional soutzoukakia made of meat, tomato sauce and rice – try them at Esperides in Via Lulli 28B - China responds with its irresistible meatballs of pork and Chinese herbs, to be enjoyed at Mandarin 2, in Via Garofalo 22.

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