Cracco Six years ago, Carlo Cracco, one of Italy’s most innovative young chefs, teamed up with specialty-food store Peck to open what is now one of Milan’s finest restaurants—a minimalist Michelin two-star. The egg has become one of his leitmotifs; for his spaghetti all'uovo he takes yolks and not much else and turns them into strips of golden yellow pasta dressed with oil and garlic. Via Victor Hugo 4; 011-39-02-876-774.

Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia This classic restaurant is in a remote suburb yet it remains popular—the food is that good. Simple dishes, like spaghetti tossed with scallions and hot peppers, are transformed by chef Aimo Moroni’s attention to ingredients; he has actually visited the fields where the wheat for the pasta is grown. Via Montecuccoli 6; 011-39-02-416-886.

Obika The singular focus at this modern new restaurant: superlative mozzarella, trucked in from a producer near Naples. The unbelievably fresh cheese is paired with condiments, salads, cured meats and even fish (a delicate mozzarella sheet gets wrapped around smoked salmon and arugula). Via Mercato 28; 011-39-02-8645-0568.

Teatro 7 This new, 30-seat restaurant is dominated by a glass-walled open kitchen and the energetic personality of chef Rico Guarnieri. Besides making fresh pasta and bread daily, he constantly emerges from behind the stove to serve modern Italian dishes like cream of carrot soup with grilled baby squid, and potato-stuffed polenta crêpes. His weekly cooking classes are open to children as well as adults. Via Civerchio 9; 011-39-02-6990-0702.

Outside Milan

Gatto Nero This pocket-size trattoria, perched dramatically on the edge of the hills overlooking Lake Como, brings in regulars like actor George Clooney, whose villa is nearby. The food is remarkable, including specialties like a buttery artichoke tart and homemade ravioli in Taleggio cream sauce. To take advantage of the setting—one of the most romantic locations on the most romantic lake in the world—be sure to reserve a table with a view. Via Monte Santo 69, Cernobbio; 011-39-031-512-042.