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Bologna Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


Alex F
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Hi Michael:

Were any of the sandwiches you tried the piadine (sp?)--flatbread--variety? We went to one place and did a piadine sampler and they were pretty solid.

Bologna is the one place we went on our trip where I'd gladly play restaurant lottery and pick a random restaurant for dinner and probably come out ahead. Fantastic and unsung eating destination.

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  • 8 months later...

We've planned a 10-day trip in and out of Malpensa to the Veneto, Bologna, Bergamo and thereabouts. I'd love comments on places we plan to visit and recommendations for ones we shouldn't miss. We don't seek out the "temples of gastronomy," but prefer more casual or up-and-coming places. Here are some restaurants and places I have in mind - the Enoteca della Valpolicella in Fumane north of Verona. The Foresteria Duca di Dolle, in Rolle, owned by the producers of Bisol Prosecco. This will be a base for 4 days to explore the foothill area north of Venice (with maybe a day-trip into Venice as well). Ristorante Da Gigetto in Miane, Il Basilisco in Treviso, Il Refolo (lunch in Venice). In Bologna plan to have dinner at Al Cambio and the Osteria del Minestraio. Also thinking of a lunch at Ristorante D'O outside Milan. Can't handle two major meals in one day, but there are still some gaps to fill. What do you all think? :rolleyes: Molly

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In Bologna, consider da Buriani, which is a fairly short drive from Bologna, in lieu of Al Cambio. We have eaten very well at both, and enjoyed them both, but give da Buriani the edge because of the warmth and good cheer of the place. Al Cambio we found correct in all respects, certainly no complaints (except for their cancelling our reconfirmed booking at the last minute last year--ask me about the really fun all-you-could-eat place our favorite concierge directed us to instead) and the food is very good, but this year we chose Buriani.

Enjoy your trip!

Leslie

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Molly, if you plan on visiting D'O reserve NOW!

It might even be too late: last time I heard, sometime in July, they were fully booked out for the coming six weeks. D'O is maybe not the best restaurant in the area of greater Milan, most would say Cracco-Peck is, but it is definitely become the most popular. Chef/owner Davide Oldani definitely had a great idea, though the concept itself it is not much different than that of a gastro-bistro.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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In Bologna I would recommend Trattoria Meloncello.

This is not a "first class" restaurant, it is a small restaurant but it's way of cooking its very typical "bolognese" cooking.The reataurant looks like the old and typical "trattorie" of Bologna.

There you will eat very simple dishes but they are like the ones my grandmother (who lives in the country near Bologna) cooked for me when I was young.

Don't go there on Sunday when the local football team play in Bologna: the restaurant is near the stadium and they have a lot of customers so the quality of the service is not good as in the other days.

Trattoria Meloncello

Via Saragozza, 240/a

40135 Bologna

Phone: 051 6143947

Closed: monday evening, tuesday

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Try Dalla Rosa Alda in San Georgio (west of Fumane, north of San Ambrogio). It was recommened to me here as the best place to eat in the area. We loved it. It was written up last year in Saveur (the week we were there it came out on the shelves); we happened to make it just before the accolades.

It fits your model: a more-casual place with great food.

Saveur May 2004, I think.

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Try Dalla Rosa Alda in San Georgio (west of Fumane, north of San Ambrogio). It was recommened to me here as the best place to eat in the area. We loved it. It was written up last year in Saveur (the week we were there it came out on the shelves); we happened to make it just before the accolades.

It fits your model: a more-casual place with great food.

Saveur May 2004, I think.

I would second Dalla Rosa Alda. We ate there last year and had a wonderful experience and very personalized service. Great specialties of the Veneto (including horsemeat, no thanks). I remember the fresh vegetable frittatas, and the beef in Amarone. Also, the drive up to San Giorgio and the view from the town were spectacular.

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Leslie, da Buriani looks awfully nice - we'll consider it. We're staying at the hotel next to al Cambio. Looks like it will be easy to park there and be able to drive out of the city, as well as take the bus in.

Staximo, I love the sound of Trattoria Meloncello too.

Albiston, thanks for the tip about reserving at D'O. I called right away and got a recording (which I called back about 5 times to listen to and decipher). Ended up getting up at 5 this morning to call during the approved time - 10 to 12. I think I spoke with the chef who couldn't be nicer and spoke great English, and I got my reservation for lunch on Oct 19th!! I'm never sure about how far in advance to call for reservations. Don't want to seem like a complete nut, but don't want to miss a meal at a restaurant I'm travelling all the way to Italy to try. Luckily, the other problem is that there are always too many choices. :smile:

Dalla Rosa Alda sounds tempting too. Does anyone have a recommendation for Treviso?

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I recommend a day in Padua--you have the great cathedral, the Scravengi Chapel (by Giotto, you need a reservation--so magnificent) and the university (very beautiful to walk around)--and THEN--Cafe Pedroci (sp?) on a square bearing the same name--it is the most perfect cafe in Europe. I really mean that. It has a menu of delicious light lunches and the best zambaglione ever.

There is also a fabulous food market in Padua. Just wander around the stalls munching on white asparagus and quail egg sandwiches.

Edited by scordelia (log)

S. Cue

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I'm planning a December trip to, i.a., Venice. I'm also going to Padua to the Scrovegni Chapel. A reservation is indeed required and can be booked on-line here: Cappella degli Scrovegni

Thanks for the reco on Caffe Pedrochhi. A google search turned up an LA Times article, which also mentions the Chapel: Padua's Pleasurable Paradoxes. Lunch there fer sure. Thanks.

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  • 1 month later...

We returned from this trip 2 weeks ago and stayed in many lovely places and had many memorable meals - and a few disappointing ones.

Started with dinner at the Enoteca della Valpolicella in Fumane (and spent the night in their very nice guest house). Among the highlights were: thinly sliced raw beef on grilled vegetables appetizer, taglitelle w/rabbit ragu, and duck breast on chicory w/Amarone reduction. We drank a "tre bicchiere" Amarone - Brigaldara Amarone della Valpolicella Case Vecie ‘00 - that was so delicious and reasonable that we later followed the map to their vineyard to buy 4 bottles to carry home.

Next day stopped for lunch in Soave at Lo Scudo, a lovely quite formal restaurant w/excellent food. The next 4 nights we stayed on the Prosecco road at the Foresteria Duca di Dolle owned by the producers of Bisol Prosecco, near the tiny town of Rolle. This is a beautiful and tranquil spot, surrounded by vineyard-clad hills, but with 4 good restaurants not far away - Al Monastero and da Andreetta in Rolle, Al Caminetto in Follina, and Al Fagiano in Borgo Zuel di La. My husband thought Al Caminetto was the standout, but all were very good. We also had an excellent lunch in Valdobbiadene at Osteria Rosso di Sera (recommended by the delightful young woman who gave us a tour of the Bisol Winery).

We took the train into Venice one day to find the city crowded with mobs of tourists, the Rialto area full of cheesy trinket stalls, everything expensive (a trip on the vaporetto cost 5 Euro!). We did walk all over and opted for a pizza lunch at Il Refolo (an offspring of Da Fiore). The setting was pleasant but the pizza unremarkable.

On to Bologna and some great eating adventures: lunch at the incredible gastronomia, Tamburini at their "Bistrot-Self lunch VeloCibò" where you choose hot and cold dishes, wine, beer and water, cafeteria-style. You can eat as little or as much as you choose. We love it. We had two dinners while in Bologna - at the Osteria dal Minestraio in Pianoro, and at Al Cambio. Both were outstanding. I'll post separately.

Final days we had main meals at lunch. One was at the Gambero Rosso "3 gamberi" Osteria della Villetta in Palazzolo sull'Oglio. Here the trattoria setting and food were pleasant, but (we felt) overpriced. Last major meal was lunch at "D'O," in San Pietro all'Olmo, just west of Milano. Fabulous! :rolleyes: Separate post.

Thanks again to all for good recommendations and suggestions.

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  • 5 weeks later...
Last major meal was lunch at "D'O," in San Pietro all'Olmo, just west of Milano. Fabulous!  Separate post.

Did you ever post about your meal here? I can't find it! If not, would you say that its a must meal if we are in the area? Is it easily driven to or easy to take the train there?

Thanks in advance!

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D'O was certainly one of the highpoints of our trip. The food is exceptional and the chef friendly and charming. The restaurant is outside of Milan to the west and easy to drive to. We were not staying in Milan but driving from elsewhere and went for lunch. To make reservations, call between 10 and 12 am (I got up at 4:30 am in DC to do this!), but was rewarded with a fabulous lunch on our last full day in Italy. I was advised that you need to reserve 6 weeks in advance, but we got our lunch reservation about 3 weeks in advance. I would call it a "must" meal!

Edited by MMerrill (log)
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Robert, if not a comprehensive post before thursday night, can you just tell me thumbs up or down? I have a reservation for this weekend and have heard such mixed things... Its too expensive a meal to have and get something mediocre. And even more to the point, when you only have a few meals in milan, you don't want to waste one!

Very much appreciated! :smile:

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After sending a PM to Akiko titled "Cracco-Peck. What the Heck", I decided I may as well post it. Here 'tis:

Dear Akiko,

If you want to risk having about the worst service we ever had at a restaurant at that level, you very well could still end up having a stellar meal in terms of the food. As I wrote already, the spaghetti with coffee and sea urchin sauce is memorable and my wife's pork with, I believe, caramalized olives she found to be really fine. True our bill came to 600 euros exactly for four, but we had white truffles and good wines, neither of which are truly necessary. It's just not a place where you need to have truffles, which are expensive this year. I'm not a degustation fan, and it would be a shame to shortchange yourself with a small portion of a great dish. Service was both inept (several mistakes) and not friendly. Carlo Cracco, although spending a lot of time in the dining room with people he must have known, never even recognized our existance. At the end of the meal I had to tell the head waiter that he and his staff did a large disservice to a very good chef. I don't know what your other dining plans are, but Cracco-Peck is still a landmark of modern cuisine in Italy. Good luck.

All the best,

Robert

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Afrter sending a PM to Akiko titled "Cracco-Peck. What the Heck", I decided I may as well post it. Here 'tis:

Dear Akiko,

If you want to risk having about the worst service we ever had at a restaurant at that level, you very well could still end up having a stellar meal in terms of the food. As I wrote already, the spaghetti with coffee and sea urchin sauce is memorable and my wife's pork with, I believe, caramalized olives she found to be really fine. True our bill came to 600 euros exactly for four, but we had white truffles and good wines, neither of which are truly necessary. It's just not a place where you need to have truffles, which are expensive this year. I'm not a degustation fan, and it would be a shame to shortchange yourself with a small portion of a great dish. Service was both inept (several mistakes) and not friendly. Carlo Cracco, although spending a lot of time in the dining room with people he must have known, never even recognized our existance. At the end of the meal I had to tell the head waiter that he and his staff did a large disservice to a very good chef. I don't know what your other dining plans are, but Cracco-Peck is still a landmark of modern cuisine in Italy. Good luck.

All the best,

Robert

Robert,

What were the wines?

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Fortedei, I can only tell you from looking at the bill that we had a Pinot Grigio (28 euros) and a Barbaresco (84 euros). The sommerlier proposed the former which was a new one on me, although I have only recently been a convert to the wine. The Barbresco also escapes me, but I would have remembered if it was from one of my guys. At that price it certainly wasn't Gaja. The great spaghetti dish was the same price as the Pinot Grigio and we had two truffle dishes "Ravioli di Carota al Forno (75 euros) and "Uovo al Vapore" for 66 euros. If you deduct the cost of the truffles and the above-average price for the red wine, I figure you can eat well and a la carte at Cracco-Peck for about 120 euros per person. Expensive, yes, but compared to restaurants in other world capitals, not so bad.

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  • 7 months later...

My favorite restaurant in Bologna is Caminetto d'Oro. It's a Slow Food joint, with a menu split between very traditional Bolognese primi and more creative secondi. Among the primi, I'd recommend the tagliatelle al ragu (the composition of which changes seasonally) and the really wonderful tortellini in brodo. The best secondo I've had there is the polpetta: a meatball the size of an orange, topped with two fried quail eggs (cute!) in winter or mushrooms in spring. There's also a very good wine list with a focus on small producers and unusual and local varieties.

There are also lots of good gelaterie in Bologna. I especially like Stephino; it's actually a Sicilian-style gelateria, so get the granita. If you're there in September, there should be a good selection of seasonal flavors.

Have fun in Bologna! It's one of my three favorite Italian cities; it's charming and in many ways the most civilized city I've ever visited.

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