My recent trip to Bologna, Italy was the first one I’d ever made for the specific, sole purpose of eating, as opposed to sightseeing, shopping or visiting friends, with good food as a bonus. My husband’s been on an eating trip to Bologna though, so when he suggested it, I jumped at the chance of travelling to eat, or ‘traveleating‘, as I call it. This is after all what World Foodie Guide is all about!
But where to start in the gastronomic capital of Italy, also known as La Grassa – The Fat? Both husband and his father, who travels regularly to Italy on business, had personal recommendations to add to the Bologna restaurant shortlist, which I started compiling two months before our departure. But as it was my first trip to Bologna, I had to work hard.
After much online research and reading of other reviews, I finally narrowed the wishlist down to a more manageable number. However, whittling down the restaurants to just six – four dinners, two lunches – proved to be a tough task.
We wanted to eat at a range of different types of places, but not Michelin-starred restaurants, as husband didn’t think it was necessary to spend a lot in order to eat good, simple food in Bologna. Some restaurants were closed during the period between Christmas and New Year, while others were closed on Sundays. Others were just a little too far away from the centre, as we wanted to be able to walk to all the restaurants. In the end, the shortlist was presented to our Italian-speaking friend, who kindly made all the reservations for us, a month in advance, just in case.
Rodrigo made it because my father-in-law loves it, and because husband had a reservation there once, but missed it because his train was delayed. Diana, because Trattoria da Tony, another family favourite, was closed, and because husband insisted that I would like it. Caminetto D’Oro, because the online menu sounded creative. Meloncello, because it sounded quaint, and because of its location at the foot of the climb to San Luca. Montegrappa da Nello, because of some excellent reviews. Nicola’s, because husband wanted pizza.
You can read the reviews of each restaurant here on World Foodie Guide, except for Nicola’s (instead, read the review for Il Ducale).
We also visited the covered Mercato Delle Erbe, a treasure trove for all food lovers, as well as the food quarter near the Two Towers, where renowned Tamburini and other gourmet delicatessens are located. And even though there was barely any room in our stomachs for treats, it was impossible to resist the delights on offer at Caffe’ Pasticceria Zanarini, where I managed to squeeze in a mouth-watering brioche.
I’ve already drawn up my next list of restaurants to visit (not in any particular order), so we’ll need about a month to get through these and others that we find on the next trip. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. And you could eat really well in Bologna even without doing any research in advance. Bologna is truly a destination for any food lover! Let me know if you have any recommendations for me…
(via Oberdan 4. Tel: +39 (0)51 228 985. Closed Sundays). We walked past this after pizza at Il Ducale, and it looked lovely, as did the dishes on the menu
Trattoria Da Tony
(via Righi Augusto 1/B. Tel: +39 051 232 852 – closed an awful lot of the time!). But husband has been, and so has my father-in-law and stepmother-in-law. Simple, home-cooked dishes are served here
(Piazza della Mercanzia 3. Tel: + 39 (0)51 231 200. Closed Sundays.) An historic and elegant restaurant, visited by Einstein and Hitchcock amongst others
(Piazza San Martino 9. Tel: +39 (0)51 232 502). Supposedly serves the best pizzas in Bologna. We’re determined to try it next time
Biagi Della Grada
(via della Grada 6. Tel: +39 (0)51 553 025. Closed Tuesdays). An elegant, family-run restaurant that has been serving typical Bolognese cuisine since 1937
Antica Osteria Romagnola
(via Rialto 13. Tel: +39 (0)51 263 699). Delicious local and regional dishes can be found here, in a building that dates from 1600
(via de’ Carbonesi 8, south of Piazza Maggiore. Tel: + 39 (0)51 237 710). More classic Bolognese cuisine to be found at this restaurant, which has been open for more than a century
(via del Pratello 11a. Tel: +39 (0)51 236 358). The menu at this traditional trattoria changes daily, with simple Bolognese dishes on offer
Silverio (via Mirasole 19. Tel: 051 585 857. Closed Sundays). A cute restaurant hidden away on a tiny street, serving Bolognese cuisine with a modern twist
10 – Perfection, 9.5 – Sensational, 9 – Outstanding, 8.5 – Superb, 8 – Excellent, 7.5 – Very Good, 7 – Good, 6.5 – Above Average, 6 – Average