You Decide: Is Milano Italian Gourmet Just Another Generic Midtown Deli


Our Downtown Lunchers have been eagerly searching for a Rosario’s replacement ever since the popular Italian deli closed last year.  But when Lunch’er “Goats” suggested in the comments that there was a Rosario’s-like option in Midtown, I had to check it out.

“My heart still cries when I think of Rosarios and how it was taken so quickly from me (after only 3 visits)…That was the first establishment I found via Midtown Lunch (and It was a downtown establishment!) .I was there the last day and was as close to tears as I get when a beloved food establishment shuts its doors. I have found 2 replacements in the last year as well, Milano Deli on 34th between Madison and 5th (HUGE Italian sandwiches for 7.75:get the Milano special and you will almost think you are back at rosarios) and Defontes of Brooklyn on 21st and 3rd.”

Defonte’s is well know, but sadly too far out of bounds for me… so I excitedly headed over to Milano last week to check the place out.


The place looks like every single other generic deli in Midtown, and despite the long board filled with classic Italian sandwich options, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this did not seem like Rosario’s at all.


The parade of fresh roasted meats in the back did look pretty good though… uncut roast beef, brisket, roasted turkey (although it was right next to standard deli turkey), corned beef and pastrami, plus chicken and eggplant cutlet were all on display (just like most generic delis, but maybe this was better?)

I’ll admit that in the face of all that meat, I forgot Goats’ original recommendation to order the “Milano Special” (ham, salami/ham cappicola, mortadella, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, roasted peppers, Italian dressing on fresh baked semolina bread.) Maybe that was my big mistake.


Instead I went with a brisket sandwich on roll. They cut the brisket with the grain (terrible), and offered me lettuce and tomato with it (no!) No grilled onions or gravy, so I was forced to just get it plain with mustard. It looked so good up on the counter… but failed miserably on taste. Very upsetting.

It’s tough to ignore the overall feeling of generic deli-ness, or to ignore how horribly they butchered my brisket sandwich. But maybe I did order wrong. The Milano Special does sound good… anybody else been to this place? I’m curious to hear what you guys think. Generic Midtown Deli? Or hidden Italian sandwich gem? You decide.

Milano Gourmet Italian Caterers, 14 E. 34th St. (btw. Mad+5th) 212-532-1177


  • OK, I used to be a big Milano’s Fan. It is NOT close to a generic Mid-Town Deli at ALL!!!!. My advice on what to order. First, you must get there at about 11:45ish, as this is usually sold out by 12:15. They always have an extra rare roast beef, cut just right and pile it on the Semolina bread. I have never ever had roast beef that good.

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    Clearly it does matter what you order there. But their meats are high quality no doubt. I will say the gravy suggestion sounds fantastic. But as much as I love the eye round, their italian meats are their strongest. You gotta stick with those.

  • Wow, Zach, you almost made me cry. Thank goodness what you ate wasn’t better. When you do wind up posting one that’s better than Rosario’s, though, I will cry and curse the skies!

  • It’s all pressed meat,or looks like it,…..better off…dare i say it at ‘pret.

  • Rudy your avatar makes me laugh, but somehow I thought you’d choose a huge English sausage instead.

  • I did type huge english sausage into Google, yes…i was sent to my own site.

  • Wow—I get called out first day of new forums! AWESOME! While Zach was hitting Rosarios, I was in his former stomping grounds hitting Seerios in NOLA for a Muffalletta. I don’t see how Flay could have lost to that Seerio dude!!!!! I did score lots of raw oysters and awesome poboys at my new favorite NOLA joint, Corner Oyster house! Of course that was after stumbling around the Quarter, acting like a fool, chugging grenades and hurricanes, petting the darn mules that were pulling the tourist carts (not to mention the cops’ horses), but that’s a whole different story….

    As to Milano Deli, I have honestly only had the Milano Special from there. I’ve never tried anything else. I believe I actually found Milano Deli from a recco from a ML’er, so it’s kind of come full circle so to speak. I really enjoy that particular sandwich, though it is not quite as good as Rosario’s was. If you get the right guy to make it, it will be really freakin hearty-WAY better than any generic italian sub you get at your corner deli. Easily can make 2 hearty lunches out of it. That being said, Zach, if you havne’t, you have to brave the trip to Defontes….get the Nicky’s Special! Tastewise, it is easily as good as Rosarios. Not quite as hearty, but it is phenomenal…..

  • Meant Milano in first sentence above…

  • The Goat’s Special at Defonte’s is topped with curry sauce

  • Goats hates Curry! Why does the world curse me so much!!!!!LOL

  • I work directly across the street from Milano and only go when I absolutely have to get something quickly before running back to the office.

    The sandwiches are nothing at all to write home (or blog) about and it’s ridiculously expensive.

    I went just the other day and had the most disappointing reuben ever.

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