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Restaurants and bars in Milan. De Santis and the best Panini I’ve ever tried

October 26th, 2012

It is well known in Italy that the staple of diet for the constantly growing group of aspiring and actual businessmen, innumerable office clerks and eternally busy managers consists in panini, tramezzini and other types of stuffed bread. At least during lunch time. To be honest, I’ve always considered it to be just a handy way of filling one’s stomach with some digestible substance. Just to survive until dinner with proper ravishing Italian food. What a philistine I was!

A couple of days ago I was taken to a minuscule place in via Magenta called De Santis. And I finally discovered the realm of panini, the true lip-smacking ones. The bar is really tiny and I imagine the whole world converges on it at about 1pm. Therefore, if you get easily exasperated in small crowded places, it’s better to drop in late in the evening.

best panini in Milan, De Santis

best panino of Milan, De Santis

best panino of Milan, De Santis

The bar was open in 1982 and in thirty years managed to grow significantly, opening a branch even on the legendary top floor of the Rinascente shopping centre. Instead of serving traditional snacks with cherry tomatoes and semi-translucent slices of ham and cheese, De Santis brothers went into wild experiments. They concocted strange mixtures of ingredients, diligently trying out not only combinations of different products, but also the order of laying them out. The freshest and the tastiest was selected. The result is really impressive. First of all, the choice is endless and poor office workers can probably spend half of the lunch time just standing in front of the menu board scratching their head in confusion. And then, the taste. I picked bresaola, goat cheese and some mysterious onion flavoured cheese as the stuffing and when the panino arrived spent a couple of minutes scrutinizing it and doubting it was actually edible. Then gingerly allowed myself a nibble… and in some seconds there were only lonely crumbs left on the plate. The unknown mellow taste of it was absolutely fantastic and, in fact, should have been relished eating in a slow ecstatic way. My full approbation, thus, was gained.

best panino of Milan, De Santis

The place itself, though, can hardly be called ideal. Apart from its tiny coziness, sullen waiters and exaggerated prices (panini are worth every cent of those five or six euros you might spend, but eight euros for a glass of wine in a simple bar is a bit too much, I reckon) the toilet there is a no-no. With those divine panini they serve to have a bog (and that’s the proper name for it) like that is simply unacceptable. Avoid it if you can in order not to spoil the whole impression!

De Santis, Corso Magenta,9 – Milano

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