Top 5 best restaurants in Navigli Milan – where to eat near canals


Milan is one of the hippest cities in the whole of Italy. From its famous fashion houses that appear every month in the leading world’s fashion magazines to the many Italian companies that have their headquarters in this city, Milan is one of the best destinations if you want to be part of the cultural conversation. But it is not all about fast-paced business in this thriving city located in Lombardy. The Navigli neighborhood in Milan shows a prettier side to the industrial city.

Best restaurants in Navigli Milan
Best restaurants in Navigli Milan

Home to a system of canals that add to the neighborhood’s aesthetic appeal and is akin to a landlocked Venice, Navigli is known for its charm and vibrant nightlife scene, with plenty of bars and restaurants known for serving up some of Milan’s tastiest dishes and drinks. From simply strolling down the banks of the canal to shopping in some of Milan’s finest independent shops, there are plenty of ways to spend the day in Navigli. But after a long day of sightseeing, where should you eat? Luckily, we have the answer. 

From fresh pasta joints to eateries that showcase the best in Italian meat, these restaurants provide the ideal spot to kick back, relax, and enjoy some authentic Italian cooking. You will enjoy Italian classics as well as contemporary dishes that challenge your views of how Italian cuisine should look. Here are the best restaurants in Navigli Milan:

(This article contains 5 restaurants in Navigli Milan, which are best in our subjective opinion. The order of the restaurants is not related to the quality they offer. Every restaurant has its pros and cons, so choose the one based on your personal preferences.)

Pasta Fresca da Giovanni

Pasta Fresca Da Giovanni in Milan
Best pasta restaurant in Navigli district (Image source: TripAdvisor)

This restaurant does what it says on the tin. It produces fresh pasta served in delicious typical Italian sauces. But it is not just any old fresh pasta restaurant. This laid-back yet friendly eatery is run by pasta experts, who will tantalize your tastebuds with unique takes on classic Italian pasta dishes. What Pasta Fresca da Giovanni does best is focus on freshness and taste over complications.

Rather than creating pasta dishes with a plethora of ingredients for the sake of it, this charming restaurant focuses on simplicity and choosing high-quality ingredients to make mouth-watering dishes. One dish simply contains extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, and fresh red chili pepper, but the results are incredible. Guests usually praise the simplicity of the dishes, with many going as far as to say it is at least one of the best pasta dishes they have ever eaten.

Options on the menu include spaghetti alla gricia (pasta with guanciale), pesto pasta, pasta with tomato sauce and burratina, and ravioli. But the menu does change frequently so check the options online before you turn up. You can even try a “half and half”, an option that allows you to combine two sauces to try whatever you like the look of. Perfect for those who want to try as much as possible! There are meat-free choices too, so vegetarians can happily head to Pasta Fresca da Giovanni without fear of leaving with an empty stomach. 

The portion sizes are generous with some diners even going as far as to praise the amount of parmesan cheese they received with their pasta. If you are looking for a simple yet hearty meal that will leave your belly and your heart full, look no further than a visit to this charming restaurant in Navigli. Pasta Fresca da Giovanni is open every day except Tuesday. On Monday and Wednesday, it is open only for lunch from 12:00 PM (12:00 hours) to 2:30 PM (14:30 hours). On Sunday, the restaurant is only open for dinner from 6:00 PM (18:00 hours) to 9:00 PM (21:00 hours), while on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, it is open for both lunch and dinner.

  • Distance: 450 meters (0.2 miles) from Navigli Grande in Milan
  • Phone: +39 335 521 5743


Testone in Milan
Best budget-friendly restaurants in Navigli Milan (Image source: TripAdvisor)

If you are looking for a friendly, welcoming restaurant with delicious food and equally delicious drinks to wash it down with, look no further than Testone. With incredible food, delightful service, and reasonable prices, it is undoubtedly one of the best places to eat in the area. Furthermore, this restaurant is also the best place to go on those nights when you simply can’t choose what you want to eat or you want to try a bit of everything. 

The menu is vast and diverse, with everything from Italian classics like pasta dishes to delicious cuts of meat. If you are looking for something more hearty, the restaurant offers burgers and panini, with sides such as baked potatoes or grilled vegetables to complement your main dish. Almost everything on the menu is affordable. Something that can’t be said for all restaurants in Milan which is one of Italy’s more expensive cities.

While some dishes are more expensive than others, on the whole, it is a budget-friendly restaurant without any of the snootiness that can sometimes be found at haute cuisine places. If you want to try a bit of everything, opt for one of Testone’s taglieri, boards of meat and cheese that are ideal for sharing. The atmosphere is laid-back and intimate and we guarantee you will leave feeling like part of one big family. You can eat in Testone every day from 11:00 AM (11:00 hours) to 12:00 AM (00:00 hours).

  • Distance: 150 meters (0.1 miles) from Navigli Grande in Milan
  • Phone: +39 02 9155 8371

Ristorante Bele

Ristorante Bele Navigli in Milan
Best restaurants in Navigli for fine dining (Image source: TripAdvisor)

Ristorante Bele is one of the more upmarket options on this list. Its unique cuisine and stylish interior mean the price point is slightly higher, so while it is not great for a budget evening, it should be the go-to option in Navigli when you plan on treating yourself. Appetizers include roasted leeks and pear and pulled pork with fennel pancake, which you can follow up with contemporary takes on classic dishes such as goat taleggio risotto and tagliolini with smoked butter and black truffle.

For the main dish, options include duck breast, beef skirt, and broccoli cream. As you would expect from such a diverse and interesting menu, the desserts don’t disappoint. You can top your meal off with a date cake, pumpkin and amaretto cake, or dark chocolate namelaka. There are veggie options here, too, so don’t be put off if you are seeking a meat-free feast. 

Ristorante Bele doesn’t have only excellent food, but the service and stylish setting, too. Guests praise its ability to be highly ambitious without losing its soul, a testament to the creativity of the chefs balanced against the friendly family feel of this restaurant. If you are seeking a restaurant that pays unparalleled attention to detail and you are willing to spend a little more for it, don’t skip Ristorante Bele during your next visit to Navigli. The restaurant is open Tuesday to Friday from 7:00 PM (19:00 hours) to 11:00 PM (23:00 hours) and on the weekend from 12:30 PM (12:30 hours) to 3:30 PM (15:30 hours), and from 7:00 PM (19:00 hours) to 12:00 AM (00:00 hours).

  • Distance: 700 meters (0.4 miles) from Navigli Grande in Milan
  • Phone: +39 02 3664 2933

La Muccaccia

La Muccaccia in Milan
Best places in Navigli for meat lovers (Image source: TripAdvisor)

There are few restaurants in Milan that better show the idea of combining traditional Italian cuisine with new flavors and styles of cooking than La Muccaccia. Located in the vibrant Navigli district, this restaurant should be a go-to for meat lovers, with many of the dishes containing high-quality meat and even multiple tartare options. The tagliatelle al ragu promises to use “Grandma’s recipe”, which is always a good sign for an Italian restaurant.

There is a delicious selection of meat sandwiches on offer, with fillings ranging from Argentinian sliced beef to grilled chicken and Angus meat. There are few pizzas on offer, but the ones that are made at La Muccaccia are meticulously chosen for their freshness and high quality. Looking for something to top off your meal and satisfy your sweet tooth? You are in luck! This stylish contemporary restaurant serves up a whole host of delicious desserts, with options including Nutella dumplings, tiramisu, and fruit sorbet. 

Don’t just take our word for it. The restaurant also has excellent online reviews. Guests love its authenticity and the speed and friendliness of the service. Almost every dish gets a shout-out from reviewers, meaning no matter which dish you choose here, you will be thrilled with the outcome. La Muccaccia is open every day except Sunday from 12:00 PM (12:00 hours) to 3:00 PM (15:00 hours) for lunch and from 7:00 PM (19:00 hours) to 11:00 PM (23:00 hours) for dinner.

  • Distance: 850 meters (0.5 miles) from Navigli Grande in Milan
  • Phone: +39 02 4971 8830

Il Principe dei Navigli

Il Principe dei Navigli in Milan
Best seafood in Navigli Milan (Image source: TripAdvisor)

This super stylish eatery in Navigli has a wonderful menu. The dishes here are so good you simply won’t be able to choose what to eat. Il Principe dei Navigli isn’t joking with its name. The dishes on offer really are fit for a prince, or any member of the royal family for that matter. Appetizers include red prawn tartare, beef tartare, and oysters. For your pasta course, you can expect specialties such as lobster linguine, spaghetti with clams, and cheese and pepper risotto with red prawn crudités.

That is right. This restaurant truly is a seafood lovers paradise. When it comes to the main course, the menu is equally as mouthwatering. Dishes on offer include sliced red tuna in a black sesame crust, sea bass in salt, and Catalan-style lobster. There are meat options for those who prefer land animals to oceanic ones, including ribeye steak, beef fillet, and even raw kangaroo tartare!

Vegetarians needn’t despair, though, the restaurant also contains many pizzas that are free from meat or fish, such as a classic Margherita and a four-cheese pizza. The drinks on offer here are reasonably priced meaning you can wash your meal all down with a tasty glass of high-quality wine without breaking the bank. You can visit Il Principe dei Navigli every day except on Sunday, from 12:00 PM (12:00 hours) to 2:30 PM (14:30 hours) for lunch and from 7:00 PM (19:00 hours) to 11:45 PM (23:45 hours) for dinner.

  • Distance: 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) from Navigli Grande in Milan
  • Phone: +39 02 8912 6248

Where to find the best restaurants in Navigli Milan?

Navigli is a trendy neighborhood in Milan that is not only popular for amazing and unforgettable nightlife but also for many great and affordable restaurants. You really have plenty of options to choose from, so every kind of person will find something for themselves. In this article, we have shown you restaurants that stand out for both quality and value for your money. Still, there are also other great restaurants in Navigli where you can try classic Italian dishes.

Keep in mind that this district is very popular among tourists, so it is not so rare that there are no available places in these restaurants during lunch or dinner. Therefore, reserving in advance is always recommended. The next time you are in the city of Milan and you decide to take a trip to the canal-filled neighborhood of Navigli (which you absolutely should), you will know where to enjoy a meal. Whether you are in the mood for fine dining or you want a humble bowl of traditional pasta from somewhere with a family feel, Navigli has a type of restaurant to suit everyone.

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