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Lunch Break in San Babila: 5 Delicious Sandwiches

I usually like to bring my lunch box to work, but I sometimes forget it or don’t have time to prepare it.

I remember my first day at work, when at 13 o’clock I visited the McDonald’s in Piazza San Babila to sadly order a McToast. I hadn’t been in a Mc Donald’s since, I believe, my junior high school years and at that moment I needed some “comfort food”, and mostly, I had no idea where to go and grab something for a quick but tasty lunch.

After two years of rushing, forgetting and being lazy, I elaborated a list of hotspots in the centre of Milan where the sandwich is not “just a sandwich”. So here are five places where you can’t go wrong!


Gb Bar Panini

The Display of different sandwiches at Gb Bar | © Caterina Zanzi

The award goes to GB bar. When I am sad, hungry or when I am in a hurry, I confidently turn to via Hoepli  and I queue up outside of this tiny place. Don’t get scared: they are very fast. Once you arrive at the counter you could get confused by the quantity of sandwiches, but don’t fear: they will guide you to the best choice for you and they will never get tired of repeating one by one the endless variations of their sandwiches, freshly made each day. If you are traditionalists, give up. At GB they have an unrestrained fantasy. Sandwich with “Capicollo Silano” with Sienese fava beans cream. Sandwich with stewed beef and à la Romana artichokes. Sandwich with lard and lobster. Sandwich with raw ham, sweet slightly baked Provolone cheese and citrus fruit salad. Sandwich with lard and chestnuts. But, my top favourite will always be the sandwich with salami paté, radicchio and balsamic vinegar. Kind of better than my lunch box food!

GB BAR. Via Agnello 18, Milano.+39 390 286 3446. Average price of a sandwich: 4,50€. Mon/Fri 06:30-17:00. Sat until 19:30


Piadina with crescione and herbs by Maioli brothers| © Caterina Zanzi

Piadina with crescione and herbs by Maioli brothers| © Caterina Zanzi

I have origins from the Romagna region and I have never eaten a proper piadina in Milan. And when I did eat one I bored everyone with how badly cooked it was, even worstly stuffed and not to mention how it was poorly rolled. But when the Maioli brothers arrived in town directly from the Riviera, they finally brought to Milan the distinctive product of my Adriatic summers. It is impossible to not fall in love with their version of the piadina, both with the basic option (like the raw ham and Squacquerone cheese one) and the more elaborated ones, like the Gricia, with Antica Ardenga bacon, Brunelli Pecorino chesse cream and black pepper. But the one I completely go crazy about, the one I ran out of the office at 12.59 for, is the Piccantino piadina with Mozzarella Fior di Latte cheese, San Marzano tomatoes and hot sausage. Are you on a diet? No worries, there is the extra-light piadina with herbs. At the end of your lunch you must stroll about in the brand new builing designed by Brian&Barry: there is no best way for burning out the piadina than arriving from -1 where the Maioli brothers are up to the last floor dedicated to womenswear!

LA PIADINA ROMAGNOLAEataly @Brian&Barry San Babila. Via Durini 28, Milano. Average price of a piadina: 7€. Open 7/7 from 10 to 22.


The sandwich counter at Panini Durini|© Caterina Zanzi

The sandwich counter at Panini Durini|© Caterina Zanzi

The sandwiches from Panini Durini are among the classics, but not ordinary ones, and you can find them in the street that bears the same name, via Durini, devoted to design but also to great sandwiches, it seems. They might be part of a chain, the crowd might be incredible, a place to seat might be impossible to find, but I go there at least once per month, both because the guys at the counter are super cute and because the sandwiches are actually over the top. The award goes to sandwich number 3, with ham, Crescenza cheese, salad and truffled oil. But options are endless. There’s only one type of bread, the extra crunchy Francesino, but stuffing varies with a lot of prime quality ingredients. There are Salami with fresh Pecorino cheese and peppers mustard, but also Coppa di Parma with spicy Pecorino, Porcino mushrooms and salad.

They have the amazing sandwich with the unconventional mix of Coppa, tuna, Caprino cheese, sliced lemon and brandy and also the one with Mortadella, smoked Provola cheese and eggplant paté with basil. You come by at breakfast time? No problem, croissants here are delicious!

PANINI DURINIVia Durini 26, Milano. +39 02 7602 4237. Average price of a sandwich: 6€. Open from 7 to 20.



Salsamenteria di Parma Sandwiches Milan

Salsamenteria di Parma Sandwiches | © Caterina Zanzi

Ok, you go to Salsamenteria di Parma to order a nice plate of different cold cuts, with some red wine. A lot of my collegues go there for lunch (and how to blame them!), for those who are in a hurry they are offering the chance of putting those fantastic cold cuts between two slices of Tuscan bread. Culatello di Zibello, Culatta di Langhirano, Spalla di San Secondo, are just some of the Italian salami you can find there but also the simpler ones like Felino salami, Coppa di Parma and Mortadella di Bologna. Out of a personal preference, I would like to have an alternative to the unsalted bread (I know, it is a blasphemy, but I like Ciabatta bread!), but for now it is ok like this: after all, with the Culatello they offer, you can accept it.

SALSAMENTERIA DI PARMAVia San Pietro All’Orto 9, Milano. +39 02 7628 1350. Average price of a sandwich: 4€. Open everyday from 12 to 23.



Sandwiches Fiaschetteria Cocopazzo Milan Via Durini

Sandwiches, panzerotti and focaccia breads at Fiaschetteria del Cocopazzo| © Caterina Zanzi

For those who don’t have the time to taste the Tuscan cuisine of Cocopazzo, just next to Panini Durini, the restaurant has fulfilled the needs of the ones working in the area offering them the chance to order a light meal at the counter on the street, that has been named “La Fiaschetteria”. For a quick lungh break or for the aperitivo at seven o’clock in the evening, the twenty square meters of this tiny venue are set up with any given goodness: from salami to cheese, to pickles and marinated vegetables and Tuscan red wine. During your break you can choose between baguettes – crunchy and nicely stuffed – and the piadinas. Or you could go for something more demanding but tasty as a hamburger. O buttarsi su qualcosa di certamente più impegnativo, ma gustoso come l’hamburger. Those behind the counter are always very fast at what they do.

LA FIASCHETTERIA DEL COCOPAZZOVia Durini 26, Milano. +39 02 76020823. Average price of a sandwich: 6€. Open everyday until 1am.

In the area, anyway, there is plenty of choice for a sandwich. In Via Borgogna, for example, a new location of the famous chain Panino Giusto  just opened and at few steps further in Corso Venezia there’s also Princi. None of them actually ever impressed me.

And what about you? Where do you go when you feel like eating “just a sandwich”?

Read the original article on Conosco un Posto. All English versions are translated by Tamara Ilic.

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