Places to eat well and spend little in Milan before or after the Cinema (not the usual addresses)

Jul 2 2024, 12:32
Cinema tonight. Why not eat something before or after the screening?

by Anna Muzio

Cinema is dead, long live cinema. The seventh art, which seemed mortally wounded by more or less pirated streaming and pay TV, is not doing so badly after all: there are still those who love going to the cinema (according to Cintel, attendance in theaters increased by 62% in 2023 compared to 2022, not yet at pre-Covid levels but steadily rising). In summer, this year again, it costs even less thanks to the promotion allowing you to watch Italian and foreign films for €3.50. Another reason to go out and take advantage of the opportunity to eat before or after the film. But where to go without spending a fortune, especially in Milan?

We've chosen a venue within a 10-minute walk from the main Milanese cinemas. We haven't considered multiplexes inside shopping centers because the food hall is lurking, and you don't need us. These are simple, unpretentious places, mostly without ambitious press offices and social media managers with Silicon Valley master's degrees. Where you can come dressed as you please, order with your gut, and relax without overthinking.

Cinema Beltrade and Silvano (150 meters)

The cinema is a regular spot for the most passionate cinephiles, recently renovated but retaining its cineforum soul, often including a final debate, with red velvet seats and a steadfast program without concessions to the more commercial box office. Just a stone's throw away is Silvano, where Vladimiro Poma will welcome you with his oven-based cuisine inspired by Ligurian traditions: a convivial, relaxed atmosphere, natural wines and others with reasonable markups.

Silvano Vini e Cibi Al Banco, Piazza Morbegno 2

Eliseo and Govinda (350 meters)

A historic Milanese cinema with a mixed program, often featuring auteur films, with the halls named after great directors, so you might see a Wenders film in the Wenders hall, for instance. Within reach even for the laziest is Govinda, long the address for Milanese Hare Krishnas and once one of the very few places where it was possible to eat vegetarian. After a brief management by Davide Longoni, an excellent baker, the beautiful venue with vaulted ceilings has returned to its roots. In the basement, there is a charming Hare Krishna temple; the vegetarian dishes follow the Prasadam (besides meat and fish, eggs, garlic, and onions are not cooked), and are good and well-executed (thali, salads, soups), with various herbal teas but no tea, coffee, or alcoholic beverages. For those interested, there are Bhakti yoga courses.

Govinda, via Valpetrosa 5

Centrale and Pizzeria Piz (10 meters)

Two halls and auteur films in what prides itself on being the oldest cinema in Milan and is also considered one of the first multiplexes (it always had two, larger than the current ones). It has been next to the Temple of San Sebastiano since 1907 (it was then called Mondial). We're a stone's throw from Piazza Duomo, so wanting to avoid chains and spend little, the choice is limited: it's worth stopping by the "neighbors" at Italpiz, a cozy and informal pizzeria with complimentary prosecco and a good classic and straightforward pizza, with a limited choice of flavors.

Piz, via Torino 34

Ducale and Dou (50 meters)

The fascist-style writing and even the name reveal the origins of this cinema in Piazza Napoli, opened in 1938, razed by the bombings of 1943, and reopened five years later. Today it is a multiplex with a program ranging from box office hits to documentaries and restored great classics. Right next door is Dou, offering a good mix of oriental cuisines, with a wide choice of dim sum and pad thai, the emblem of Thai cuisine.

Dou Asian Passion, Piazza Napoli 25

Anteo Palazzo del Cinema, Mirò Osteria del Cinema and Mabuhay (0 and 600 meters)

Nine halls and varied programming, if you want to see the latest festival releases and some Italian gems, perhaps with the director present, it's hard not to stop here. Besides Eataly opposite, it must be said that Anteo has made more than one concession to the food-cinema combination. Inside there is a real restaurant, MiRo - Osteria del Cinema. And in the Nobel hall, you can eat during the screening.

If you just want to stretch your legs a bit, head to Mabuhay, a Filipino restaurant: for a long time the best Milanese restaurant on Trip Advisor. There might be better options, but the truth is here you will find robust Filipino cuisine (a successful synthesis between the East and Spain) for little money. Try the buns and adobo flambé. Spartan and crowded environment, but fun.

Mabuhay, Bastioni di Porta Volta 9

Mexico and La Tradizionale (350 meters)

Mexico lives and fights with us, the independent single-screen cinema heir to a cinema of the (then) industrial outskirts in 1914 in a tenement house on Via Savona and known to most for the dramatized screenings (since 1981) of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
A lot of water has passed under the bridges, and now the area, the hub of the Fuorisalone starting from the parallel Via Tortona, has gentrified with an endless offer of pizzerias, ethnic and trattorias. La Tradizionale, as the name suggests, offers classic Italian cuisine. To keep the bill down, better stick to the pizzeria. The strong point: the industrial chic location and the flowered dehors.

La Tradizionale Via Bergognone 16

Orfeo and Al Panino (140 meters)

A cinema like they used to be, the last to give in to multiplexes (it has two) with mostly action films or blockbusters in the program. The area is that of Solari, the Navigli, and Via Savona. Wide choice, but if you want to find one of those relaxing and convivial bar-osterias, where you meet local people, without pretensions, you can go to Al Panino.

Al Panino 90 -via Savona 2

Gloria and Fairouz (650 meters)

A cinema with two large halls (almost a rarity) on Corso Vercelli where you won’t find obscure Iranian auteur films but the latest Sorrentino and also, often, animated films. To try in the area is Fairouz, a Lebanese vegetarian known for classics like Hummus, Baba Ganouj, Fattoush, Falafel, and Vegetable Couscous. Demonstrating that Mediterranean cuisine was primarily plant-based millennia before the pointed veggie Northerners. Tasting menus starting from €30.

Fairouz Buonarroti, Via Buonarroti 16

Arcobaleno and Nun (400 meters)

One of the Milanese cinemas born in the 1950s, Arcobaleno is in an area, that of Buenos Aires, rich with restaurants and bars. For a quick but tasty snack, you can head to Nun, not the usual friendly but greasy kebab shop. Middle Eastern cuisine here, also vegetarian, is reinterpreted without distortions in a functional, even design environment. Among the more particular versions, chicken kebab with pomegranate, walnuts, and green olives, or the sandwich with fried eggplant, feta, and kalamata olives. But you can also create your own.

Nùn Taste of Middle East - Via Lazzaro Spallanzani, 36

Palestrina and Lu Pechino (280 meters)

At a stall at the entrance, a lady continuously rolls dumplings. The atmosphere is spartan, but the choice of gyoza on the menu, according to some the best in Milan, is truly vast (pork with fennel or eggplant or sauerkraut, zucchini and shrimp, veal and coriander or carrot).
For some, they are the best Chinese dumplings in Milan, certainly the selection is vast, and they are made on the spot, on the spot.

Viale Brianza 15

cover photo Kilyan Sockalingum @UnSplash

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