Nolo guide: Asian restaurants and shops
Nolo (crasis of North Of Loreto) is the term invented in 2012 by architects Francesco Cavalli, Luisa Milani and Walter Molteni joking about the possibility of creating a brand for the northern area of the city, somewhat along the lines of Tribeca and SoHo. Since 2016 it has then become a label accepted and used by everyone.
Nolo is a district that has developed following the demographic development, the migratory waves in search of work and the enlargement of the city and the peripheral area just outside the outer ring road of Milan. It is the result of the migratory flows of the 21st century: many communities have concentrated above all along Via Padova, which in the 2000s became a security risk area.
It is a large multi-ethnic neighborhood in expansion, where gastronomic culture and street art are mainly represented by China, Peru and Eastern Europe.
As Chinatown becomes increasingly commercial, touristy and less attractive (at least from my point of view), more interesting and authentic restaurants have sprung up north of the city - most likely precisely because so much of the Chinese community lives there. Curious as always about the news and developments of Milan in an Asian key, I have made numerous tours to discover this neighborhood and document it through the contents of my social networks.
Today I'm finally ready to tell you about the culinary and commercial realities of Nolo, through the places I liked the most and those that didn't convince me.
There are several branches of Wang Jiao in the city, one of which is in Nolo.
The strength of this place lies in the great variety of the menu, in the abundant courses and in the reasonable price. Do not miss the bowls of fire and the sautéed in barrels. 📍 Via Padova 3, Milan 📞 02 261 3224 💰 $$
Cha Chinese Bistrò
Cozy restaurant with a rather banal menu if it weren't for the delicious gaifan: a popular Chinese dish usually offered in cheap restaurants and which consists of a portion of rice accompanied by meat or fish and, often, a fried egg. I tried it with beef, fresh ginger and spring onions, mouth-watering!
On the other hand, I advise against the ravioli: although homemade (except those with crystal pasta, which are purchased from third parties), they didn't convince me.
Very spartan little place specializing in snacks. The real gem? The Chinese breakfast, quite rich, super cheap and really good. To be tried early in the morning, before 10 a.m.
I absolutely recommend the steamed xiaolongbao (really excellent) and the grilled charsiu bao (the filling is tasty and very filling).
Famous for its handmade baozi and dumplings, this place has become a real inspiration in recent years. Pork dumplings are my favorite, especially the grilled ones. 🌎 http://www.kungfubao.it/ 📍 Viale Monza 37, Milan 💰 $$$
No-frills Chinese tavern where you can eat among the best Peking dumplings ever in Milan, freshly prepared and with a wide choice and always in abundance. I also highly recommend the stuffed pork bun. 🌎 https://www.facebook.com/raviolidilupechino/📍 Viale Brianza 15, Milan 📞 02 9194 3779💰 $
On the border with Nolo, this place has remained in the 80s: kitsch paintings, breadsticks and oil cruets, western cutlery and no chopsticks. Although the menu is decidedly irrelevant, the specialty of the house and the real attraction of the place are the dumplings. Sold by the piece, they are handmade and huge: I'm not kidding if I say that they are the biggest seen in Milan!
CHINESE CUISINE spicy
It is precisely in Nolo that restaurants serving spicy Chinese regional cuisine have sprung up which have become trendy in recent years, practically all homemade and without many frills. There are also many other small and hidden realities that I am proud to let you discover. What all these establishments have in common is the genuine taste of home.
Restaurant dedicated to the cuisine of Hunan, Mao Tse-tung's homeland. Here you can taste the specialties of this area and the dishes of the Great Helmsman such as, for example, Mao's braised bacon or Mao's head - the menu is the little red book!
It is a very spicy cuisine, characterized by bowls of fire and recipes that for Italians may be extreme (such as the use of pig's feet, kidneys or lungs), but I'm sure everyone will find something to like! 🌎 https://www.facebook.com/ristorantemao/ 📍 Via Nicola Antonio Porpora 5, Milan 📞 02 4978 7361 💰 $$
Opened after the success of the aforementioned Mao Hunan, Maoji is the street food version of the previous one. The restaurant is structured like a Chinese street from another era, decorated with small balconies, fairy lights and flyers.
The baozi, the homemade ravioli, the noodles with or without broth and the bowls of rice with various condiments are excellent. All always in Hunan style. 🌎 https://www.facebook.com/maojistreetfood/ 📍 Piazza Aspromonte 43, Milan 📞 02 4547 9541 💰 $
Second Yuan restaurant (there is another in the Missori area, Via Gonzaga 5), this one more refined and welcoming than the first but both with the same infinite and inexpensive menu, dedicated to Sichuan cuisine.
This is the second Xian restaurant in the city (the first is Chinatown in Via Procaccini 7), specializing in Shianxi cuisine (central China) and fresh hand-rolled pasta. Here too you can taste the delicious roujiamo, a Chinese meat sandwich, in a well-kept and welcoming environment. The menu is much more restricted than the first place and much less "hardcore".
📍 Via Andrea Costa, Milan 💰 $$
Miao Chinese Restaurant 妙记
Cozy place specializing in Sichuan cuisine.
Pay attention to the menu because there are dishes for Chinese customers (more traditional) and others that are quite fusion and less "hardcore" for Italians.
The proposal is quite varied, I tried delicious sweet and sour pork slices with crusted rice, gonbao chicken with peanuts and very delicate Sichuan-style dumplings drowned in broth and spicy sauce.
Compared to many other places in the area and listed here, this is aesthetically one of the most well-kept. A note of merit also goes to the staff, who are particularly kind and attentive.
📍 Via Padova 26, Milan 💰 $$$
No frills restaurant with varied menu. I recommend the spicy dishes, particularly good and abundant. Do not miss the dumplings in Sichuan sauce, the noodles with pork ragout and sweet and sour sauce and the gongbao chicken. The staff is very kind and the bill is negligible.
CHINESE CUISINE hot pot
Quattro Stagioni Hot Pot 四季捞火锅
Well-kept, high-quality restaurant where you can have fun preparing hot pot in company by choosing from fine cuts of meat (including delicious Japanese beef), vegetables, tofu and mushrooms. One of the best in town.
📍Via Padova 194, Milan 💰 $$$
HONG KONG CUISINE
The first restaurant of the successful chain entirely dedicated to Hong Kong street food - this location is mainly dedicated to delivery and take away. I recommend the Hong Kong milk tea and the satay beef jaffles. 🌎 https://www.hekfanchai.it/#1607515497161-3375df57-b654 📍Via Padova 3, Milan 💰 $$
Small and rustic place where you can have a bbq essentially with pork belly. The other dishes are good, especially bibim naengmyon and haemul pajeon. 📍 Viale Monza 44 , Milan 💰 $$
Large restaurant specializing in the cuisine of the Yanbian region, a Korean autonomous prefecture in Chinese territory. It is therefore a very special place where you can enjoy excellent kebabs to be cooked on the grill directly at the table, in addition to the most famous Korean dishes. 🌎 https://jindalai.it 📍 Via Pietro Marocco 7, Milan 📞 02 261 3576 💰 $$
Small Chinese pastry shop with on-site laboratory where you can buy sweets or sugar-free specialties to take away (the favorites are the flaky biscuits with dried meat), as well as bubble tea and cake design. 📍 Via Padova 16, Milan 📞 377 820 4334 💰 $$
New Continental Market
Milan Store 米兰士多
The best Asian supermarket in the area, huge, well stocked where you can buy lots of different noodles in attractive packaging, tteokbokki with flavors never seen elsewhere (such as cheese ones), ready-to-heat rice in pot-like dishes, a fresh counter and a butcher's shop and, more, lots of Chinese and Japanese vegetables that are difficult to find elsewhere. 📍 Via Padova 90, Milan 📞 329 762 5988 💰 $$
HD Market 华都商行食品超市
Food stores with a vast variety of ready-to-eat products (sauces, condiments, oils) especially spicy and perfect for preparing a hot pot at home: there is no shortage of data to be dissolved in a pot of hot water, already ready with all the condiments and spices. There are also many snacks, drinks, a refrigerated counter with Asian fruit and vegetables and even a small butcher's counter. 📍 Via Padova 30, Milan 💰 $$
Extremely convenient microscopic shop where you can buy noodles, sauces, basic condiments and some products from the fresh counter (especially vegetables).
RESTAURANTS I DIDN'T LIKE
In Nolo, unfortunately, Japanese restaurants are scarce. In the past, this was owned by the historic Tomoyoshi Endo restaurant, of which little or nothing remains.
Surely there is better in the city, but not in this area. The only strong point is the price, which is why I might recommend it to those who don't have a big budget available for a sushi dinner. But overall it's a place I wouldn't go back to. 🌎 https://www.tomoyoshiporpora.com/ 📍 Via Nicola Antonio Porpora 109, Milan 📞 02 261 9505💰 $$$
Sober and minimal restaurant where you can consume dishes clearly inspired by Sichuan. Overall it's not a restaurant where you eat badly, but in my opinion it winks too much at the Italian clientele being to all intents and purposes the "safe" Chinese restaurant in the area, as well as having become a trendy place among radical chic. Too smart, it didn't convince me. 🌎 https://www.facebook.com/lenovescodelle/ 📍 Viale Monza 4, Milan 📞 331 800 1116 💰 $$$
The North Gate - 北门麻辣烫 Ristorante Spicy Hot Pot Ravioli
It is a place bordering on the embarrassing: the dumplings proposed here have a thick and badly cooked pasta, served raw in several places. Added to this is a salty and slyly increased bill if you decide to pay by card instead of cash. That's a big no across the board. 📍 Viale Monza 50, Milan 📞 366 173 4109 💰 $$$
Once a very small restaurant, today only dedicated to take-away and delivery, it is still dilapidated and without a real identity: on paper it is proposed as a Korean restaurant but in reality it offers many Chinese dishes. Expensive prices and quality, alas, very low.
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