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Patrick_O

Bologna Dining

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I'm off to Bologna on the 16th and some of these recommendations sounds great. I'm much more in favour of turning up at a little Trattoria than booking a Michelin star place for Saturday night.

How busy are these places and how likely would we be to be able to just turn up and get a table - there are 5 of us?

Chris, as others have mentioned, best to book the most popular places for a Saturday night. There shouldn't be too many tourists there mid Jan so you should be fine to just turn up mid week. One note of caution-we expected Bologna to be cold but we were not prepared for just how cold it was. Despite wrapping up really well and carrying plenty of pasta fuelled insulation around with us, we were frozen to the bone most of the time we were there. Not sure if it was a one off cold snap so best to check before you go.

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Oh, and according to Via Michelin, the Meloncello place is closed from 14th-22nd January:

http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/viamichelin/g...41102&id=127016

:( So looks like that one's off the list.

EDIT: Michelin was wrong! I'm booked in on Friday 16th at Meloncello and the 17th at Della Rosa.

Will write back here of my experiences at both!

Thanks again for the tips,

Chris


Edited by chrisp (log)

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Best of luck, Chris. Yes, that is the Della Rossa we visited.

Do take into consideration that "dress warmly" suggestion! We used scarves, gloces and hats in late November.

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Well, I'm back, and we managed to visit both of your excellent recommendations. It wasn't as cold as we'd feared and we had a lovely long weekend pottering around such a beautiful city.

In fact the only disappointment was the Botanic Gardens, which was a bit decrepit.

Anyway, reports on the food are here:

Trattoria Meloncello:

http://cheesenbiscuits.blogspot.com/2009/0...-trattoria.html

Drogheria della Rosa:

http://cheesenbiscuits.blogspot.com/2009/0...-drogheria.html

Other Bologna:

http://cheesenbiscuits.blogspot.com/2009/0...ur-best-of.html

Many thanks again for your suggestions, and if you're ever in Liverpool maybe I can return the favour :)

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Nice reports. I think the digestif you had was Petrus. It brought a nostalgic thought. Italian people of my generation still remember the impressive TV ads (in 'Carosello', just in case it means anything to any reader) when we were kids: you'd see a medieval looking, iron gloved fist banging on the table, with a very masculine voice stating, accompanied by Beethoven's Coriolanus ouverture: 'Petrus, l'amaro per l'uomo forte' (approximately: 'Petrus, the bitter liqueur for the strong man'). The other famous slogan was: 'L' amarissimo che fa benissimo', which I really would not know how to translate. It means that it is very bitter but does you a lot of good. We were dying to grow up and become real men so we could try Petrus. But then we discovered other things and forgot about Petrus, and some of us even discovered that the origin of the liqueur is Dutch. Probably more real men there than in Italy...

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We'll be in the area in june - great to find so many nice recommendations here!

Any more recent visits to other places?

@tupac17616: We want to go to Osteria Francescana as well, especially after reading your report... Could you tell me about their prices? I figure that the tasting menus are quite expensive, but usually italian restaurants have very reasonable wine prices...

Is it true what I read somewhere, in a blog, that they don't serve wine by the bottle??

Do they have a dress code?

And some people (italians especially) complain about the place being very "stiff" with the waiters hardly cracking a smile. Is that so? Because such an atmosphere would be a reason for us not to go - that is not what I need on my vacation

Italy seems to be a bit behind in that regard - everywhere else the staff at top restaurants loosens up more an more, giving the whole thing a relaxed atmosphere. But in italian michelin-starred-restaurants (or wannabes) they still walk around in bow-ties with buster-keaton-like stone-faces...

At least that is my experience.

greetings

kai


Edited by kai-m (log)

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A recent dinner in Amerigo dal 1934 confirmed all that has been written upstream here as well as the Slow Food commendations. From salumi to postre, everything was a joy to eat.

We left to choice of wine to the house and, unless you know the wines of the area, this was not a bad idea.

Savigno is about 20 km of so outside Bologna. In spite of the caveat on the website about GPS, it's not difficult to find and if you have a few days in the area and are mobile an evening in the hills might appeal. You won't be disappointed.

There are a number of rooms available, not in the same building as the restaurant but on a quiet couryard nearby. The space was occupied in the past by silk workers and retains the character of a work place but not at the expense of comfort. The rooms are not expensive and allow you to indulge a bit without any driving worries.

Definitely no stoney faces here!


Edited by kerriar (log)

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@tupac17616: We want to go to Osteria Francescana as well, especially after reading your report... Could you tell me about their prices? I figure that the tasting menus are quite expensive, but usually italian restaurants have very reasonable wine prices...

Is it true what I read somewhere, in a  blog, that they don't serve wine by the bottle??

Do they have a dress code?

And some people (italians especially) complain about the place being very "stiff" with the waiters hardly cracking a smile. Is that so? Because such an atmosphere would be a reason for us not to go - that is not what I need on my vacation

Italy seems to be a bit behind in that regard - everywhere else the staff at top restaurants loosens up more an more, giving the whole thing a relaxed atmosphere. But in italian michelin-starred-restaurants (or wannabes) they still walk around in bow-ties with buster-keaton-like stone-faces...

At least that is my experience.

greetings

kai

When I went (summer 2007), I paid 110euro for the tasting menu and 40euro total for 3 glasses of wine. A friend of mine went a month or two ago and paid 140euro for a carte blanche tasting menu, not sure how much for wine.

I would be truly shocked if they don't serve wine by the bottle. That would not make any sense to me.

I wouldn't worry about the dress code, I'm sure you'll be fine.

I found the service just fine there, and so did my friend recently. Once they know you're serious about your food/wine, also, I'd imagine they'll lighten up even more so once they sense your enthusiasm.

Hope you have a great meal!

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I'll be staying near Ravenna for a week in September, and am definitely planning a few day trips to Bologna. I am not sure how many evening meals I would manage to fit in, and I certainly won't be going for tasting menu type places, but are there any particular recommendations for trattoria style places, especially for lunch?

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I cannot really second "Meloncello" - the food was just okay, and given the fact that it's rather far from the city-centre, it is not worth the ride, imho.

Our favorite in Bologna was

Trattoria La Montanara, via Righi 15: Cozy restaurant, many local diners, friendly young staff and very good traditional food at decent prices.

@tupac17616: our dinner at Osteria Francescana was a rather mixed experience. We had some of the dishes that you had as well and while some were great (the parmeggiano for example) I have to say that for a 2*-restaurant the "ordinariness" of some dishes was a bit of a letdown. Also, I found it interesting that the (pretty self-satisfied) maitre was very dismissive about "stupid bloggers", as he called them. The style of the service and the ambiance reminded me a bit of Alinea - too bad the food was not half as good.

Since you mention it in your article: we were there on a saturday night and the restaurant was only half full...maybe that's why Bottura didn't bother to make a round in the restaurant. But maybe he wasn't there that night...

greetings

kai


Edited by kai-m (log)

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I cannot really second "Meloncello" - the food was just okay, and given the fact that it's rather far from the city-centre, it is not worth the ride, imho.

Kai: I am one of the people who recommend Meloncello, and I'll say this (and not as a direct counter to your experience). I thought the food at Meloncello was great lunchtime trattoria food. That is, it was simple and straightforward and very good. Not Francescana by any means, nor do they try to be. And I know you are not suggesting that to be the case, but people go to these down-home trattorias (hmmm, plural of trattoria? Trattorii?) for quick-hit lunchtime fixes.

And what drive?!!!!!! I do get that it is out of the way. I suggest it as a walk, not a drive, on the way to the walk up to San Luca church. It's a great walk to burn off some of those heavy Bologneses calories, and Meloncello is a good stop-off point on the way -- or way back.

We did love the "family-operation" service. Very friendly place to us at all levels.

But, of course, to each their own. I appreciate the feedback on all of these places, because I'm going back there!

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Yes, sure, "Meloncello" is not "bad", the service is friendly - and certainly for lunchtime it is quite alright, if you are in the neighbourhood. I just wouldn't bother to walk out there again (or take the bus) specifically to eat at this place. There are other, equally good or better ("Montanara") options that are closer to the centre. That's all I wanted to say.

But as you say: to each his own.

Greetings

kai

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I get you. In fact, I AM adding Montanara to my list for sure. Sounds like the kind of place I like! Thanks.

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Yes, the lightning was not so good - and I don't like to use flash in a restaurant.

Regarding the dishes: the foie gras doesn't look very appealing but was absolutely amazing tastewise. One of the best foie dishes I ever had.

The parmeggiano-dish, the pasta e fagoli and the bollito/non bollito were very interesting in conception and very good in taste as well.

The rest, unfortunately, was rather mediocre. So was the very stiff service.


Edited by kai-m (log)

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I cannot really second "Meloncello" - the food was just okay, and given the fact that it's rather far from the city-centre, it is not worth the ride, imho.

Kai: I am one of the people who recommend Meloncello, and I'll say this (and not as a direct counter to your experience). I thought the food at Meloncello was great lunchtime trattoria food. That is, it was simple and straightforward and very good. Not Francescana by any means, nor do they try to be. And I know you are not suggesting that to be the case, but people go to these down-home trattorias (hmmm, plural of trattoria? Trattorii?) for quick-hit lunchtime fixes.

And what drive?!!!!!! I do get that it is out of the way. I suggest it as a walk, not a drive, on the way to the walk up to San Luca church. It's a great walk to burn off some of those heavy Bologneses calories, and Meloncello is a good stop-off point on the way -- or way back.

We did love the "family-operation" service. Very friendly place to us at all levels.

But, of course, to each their own. I appreciate the feedback on all of these places, because I'm going back there!

Agree totally with pedalforte...and that walk up to San Luca really burns the calories!


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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been to sigep last week, hotel in bologna. we have been to:

"taverna dei Lords" - garganelli ragu was great, maybe it could have a bit more essence, tortellini in brodo (from "la sfoglina") just great, broth was lukewarm and tasteless. main was a meat platter with veggies and potatoes, meat was really good and tender, portions could have been a bit bigger. "dessert apocalypse" unbelievable 6 different dessets on a cart, take as much as you like, tiramisu with fresh panettone and the chocolate flan were just GREAT. overall i would go again! 75.00 euro includin 1 bottle of wine and 3 bottles of water

"trattoria meloncello" - nowadays VERY crowded, owner sent us back into the cold (-10C) to wait for 1/2 hour. tagliatelle ragu were very very good, table wine sucks, osso buco was very mediocre, tough and cooked very long, peas were MUSHY, potato puree tastes like KFC :-( zuppa inglese also SUCKED, gummy interior, weird colored biscuit yuck! 105 euro including 4 glass of wine and two bottles of water. sometimes the kitchendoor opened, and one could see ONLY immigrant cooks...

"caminetto d oro" - great pasta ragu, great tortellini, and a MARVELOUS bistecca fiorentina, about 1 kg of dry aged chianina beef cooked to perfection YUM! with a bottle of wine and 2 bottles of water we payed 80.00 euros - fair deal, i would go again anytime !!


toertchen toertchen

patissier chocolatier cafe

cologne, germany

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