Milan’s Chinatown is home to the oldest and largest Chinese community in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. Check our five of the most known bars, street food hot spots and pastry shops in Via Paolo Sarpi, the heart of Milan’s Chinatown.
When in Via Paolo Sarpi
This street is famous for being the center of the Milanese Chinatown, an area known for its gentrification and cultural mix. In 2010 and 2011, the street underwent a major redevelopment and became a pedestrian area with bicycle routes, trees and flower beds. Today, Via Paolo Sarpi is known for being one of the places where you can find authentic Chinese food, Asian supermarkets and shops as well as cool bars and restaurants. When in Milan, make sure to check out Via Paolo Sarpi that is located near Parco Sempione and Porta Volta where Microsoft inaugurated its Italian headquarter in 2017. We put together five of the highlights in this street. Make sure to add them on your ‘what to do in Milan’ list!
1. Coffee roastery Coraçao do Brasil
Via Paolo Sarpi 6, Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 19:30
Admittedly, it will be pretty hard to drink bad coffee in Italy. Still there are some bars or roasters that are known for their exceptionally good coffee. Coraçao do Brasil in Via Paolo Sarpi is one of these roasters: founded back in 1962 and since 2003 led by the brothers Paolo and Cesare Ghidini, you can have a coffee at the bar or buy freshly roasted coffee for a good price. If you are looking for really good coffee in Chinatown, that’s the place to be!
2. oTTo: The hip place to be
Via Paolo Sarpi 8, Monday from 19:00 to 02:00, Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 02:00
oTTo takes its name from the address, Via Paolo Sarpo no. 8 and is a trendy bar that offers breakfast, lunch, aperitivo and drinks. Enjoy a sweet and savory brunch on Saturdays and Sundays after 12:00 (unlimited self-service American coffee and water are included), have an aperitivo with friends in the early evening or go there during the week if you are looking for a calm yet inspirational place where to study or work at (free wifi is available!). Two important side notes: during lunch time it is not possible to use your computer and you do not need to book a table for brunch, just make sure to be there on time since it is usually pretty crowded.
3. Ravioleria Sarpi: The Street Food hot spot
Via Paolo Sarpi 27, Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 15:00 and from 16:00 to 22:00
Owner Huijian Zouh (Agie to his friends), opened the Ravioleria Sarpi in 2015 within only ten months from securing investment and partnered with local butcher Walter Sirtori. This street food hotspot in the heart of Milan’s Chinatown oversees a small kitchen where three experienced cooks produce more than 2,000 dumplings per day. You will often see people queuing in line to get some dumplings and the Ravioleria’s oversized baozi (steamed buns). Highly recommended!
4. Cantine Isola: a traditional wine bar
Via Paolo Sarpi 30, Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 22:00
Founded in 1896 by Giovanni Isola and run by the Gianni, Tina and their son Luca Sarais since 1991, Cantine Isola was and still is one of the most authentic traditional Milanese wine bars. It is known for its great collection of quality wines from Italy, all of which you can buy for very convenient prices. Also, it is usually packed with locals standing in front of the bar and enjoying a glass of wine since the bar itself is pretty small. Get yourself a glass of wine or buy a bottle and ask the owners to put it aside for you. If you are looking for an authentic place for afterwork drinks or an aperitivo before dinner check out this bar – not least because of the extremely nice and charismatic owners.
5. Martesana Milano’s famous pastries
Via Paolo Sarpi 62, open Monday to Sunday from 07:30 to 20:00
Martesana Pastry Shop was founded in 1966 and is located in the very end of Via Paolo Sarpi. Also, all pastries are strictly handmade. When in Chinatown, make sure to try some of Alessandro Comaschi’s pastries: the pastry chef and his team won Gambero Rosso’s highest “three cakes” award in 2014 and were the Winners of the World Chocolate Masters in Paris in 2013.