Milan is a sleek, contemporary city which, I assume, is why the people behind Bistro Milano named it. The space is cool and airy with large, wood-framed mirrors on the rear wall to open the space further. I've eaten in this area a zillion times, overlooking this spot which is a shame as it's a cut above average in many ways.
The lunch prix-fixe is generous with several choices for a first course, entree and dessert. My companion began with plump, pumpkin-stuffed ravioli and then had the salmon sitting on a pile of red lentils. I'd suggest black lentils for more color contrast but the taste is spot on. The lemon sorbet adorned with mint leaves was refreshing. Pizza here brings an enormous pie, so much so that I took half mine home but enjoyed the sausage and red pepper topping (this is the Sicilian. Other varieties include the Margherita Classica, of course, a white version with speck, porcini mushrooms and truffle oil and one with arugula, tomatoes, several cheese and pesto. Pasta is well made--I'm a fan of chitarra with shrimp in a Fra Diavolo sauce. Green and yellow tagliatelli has smoked prosciutto and peas in a creamy sauce.
Entrees bring swordfish with baby veggies, a nice looking grilled rack of lamb served with fingerling potatoes, a pork chop with macadamia apple chutney, a puddle of squash and grilled asparagus, ossabuco over risotto, and a hearty NY strip steak. The mixed antipasto plate is generous and can handle at least three eaters.
Brunch, served from 11 AM until 2 PM Saturdays and Sundays, offers a fritatta with oyster mushrooms, various omelets, steak and eggs and crepes filled with your choice of Nutella with bananas and strawberries; banana cream cheese or bacon, spinach and ricotta cheese. Dinner more or less mirrors lunch in terms of choices.
Bistro Milano is open every day; the space would be ideal for a business meal as it's brightly lit and the food brought with no fuss as service is pleasantly professional with staff in brown vests.
There is a full bar as well as specialty drinks including an Aperol spritz (Aperol is the hot new kid on the block); Champagne served over strawberries and a decent sangria. The Italian Job which sets you back $14 is Ketel One vodka, passion fruit puree, muddled strawberry and fresh lime. Wine by the glass is roughly $11 -$14; there are half-bottles and splits of Champagne and plenty of bottles to select from, largely Italian with a fair number of California labels represented.
There are daily specials and take-out is available. Bistro Milano is open from 11:30
A.M. until 11 PM and would love to handle a private party. There is an attractive sidewalk cafe for warm weather months. If you're heading to City Center or just in the area, give this place a try.