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Alex F

Bologna Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

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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.

I love Bologna too, it's pretty easy to mangia bene while you are there. Most civilized city? Yeah, but they have that nasty-political-like-to-send-mail-bombs thing going on as well....

If you have the opportunity to be able to go slightly north of Bologna, try "Il Sole Antica Locanda del Trebbo" in Castel Maggiore. We had an excellent meal there.

In Bologna, I've also heard good things abou Caminetto d'Oro, but have not been there myself.

Have fun....linger in the piazza for me!

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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.

I love Bologna too, it's pretty easy to mangia bene while you are there. Most civilized city? Yeah, but they have that nasty-political-like-to-send-mail-bombs thing going on as well....

True, true; also there are way too many scruffy university students. But also tons and tons of bookstores! And needless to say, some of the best cooking in Italy: what better measure of civilization?

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I was in Bologna last June and had a fabulous dinner at a somewhat upscale restaurant named Rodrigo. One of my most enjoyable meals during 2 weeks in Italy. Food was excellent and I very much enjoyed the atmosphere--I recall a very comfortable yet elegant setting and a lot of local business people out for dinners there.

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Thanks very much everyone for the great suggestions!

:smile:

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Thanks for everyone's very helpful suggestions.

My wife took me to Bologna for my birthday two weekends ago and it was an excellent two days away. We spent most of the time eating.

The best meal we had was at Caminetto d'Oro. Great Bologna specialities (tortellini al brodo, spaghetti ragu, meatballs etc), good wine suggestions (we took what was suggested which was a delicious light local white for 18 euros when many restaurants would try to sell tourists something a lot more expensive) and very friendly service. There is a small choice - perhaps 6 starters and 5 main courses - and all seemed to use the highest quality seasonal ingredients. The clientele (early October) were mainly local businessmen and rich Italian ladies who lunch.

Get there early if you want a seat outside (when it is warm enough) as we got the last one at 12.20pm. Some people won't want to sit outside because there is the constant buzz of traffic in the background and the road Caminetto d'Oro is on seems to be a cut through for students driving Vespas.

For my birthday meal we went to Bitone, which I will admit was a touch disappointing. It's quite a long way out of town (we took the 20 bus and must have been Bitone's only customers all year to get their by public transport) and it has a very 80s feel. It feels like a scaled down version of the reception of the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas. The bathrooms in the basement are in shades of lurid yellow and green which I will kindly describe as an acquired taste.

We had a bad experience with the food. I ordered a soup which is a regional speciality but I cannot remember the name. It comes in a clear meat stock with 'worms' of pasta. It was advertised as coming with white truffle but when it arrived mine had no truffle. I tried to catch a waiter's attention but they were all busy and when I finally got the waitress (who admitedly had been taking an order from a table of 10 ceramic salesmen) she went off to the kitchen and came back and told me the chef had decided we wouldn't like the truffle. She could tell I was pretty peeved about this, especially as the soup was now cold.

To their credit, they then did produce a second starter of spaghetti with white truffles as way of compensation. The chef even came out of the kitchen to shave the truffles over. But I couldn't help but feel that they had a sudden panic that we were foreign restaurant reviewers or something and decided to make good and that the chef had decided that they could try and get away with serving the soup without truffles to cut costs. The spaghetti with truffles was excellent.

For the main course I had grilled shrimps wrapped in courgettes which was extremely rich and some of the shrimps were marginally overcooked.

All in all, I felt Bitone were running off their reputation and that you could do a lot better for the money (it's not cheap and I would definitely go to Caminetto d'Oro twice than Bitone once).

[more to follow...]

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We vacationed in Bologna in 2000 for a week & had a great time! A wonderful city! A great place to eat!

I don't remember the streets, but there's a gelateria that's next to the Palace Hotel. Go there often!

I know it's a couple-three years late but the gelateria in question is called Gianni

http://www.gelateriagianni.com/index.htm

It' the best. Seriously.


Edited by viaChgo (log)

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We're heading to Bologna next month and are wondering if anyone has been in the last six months or so, with anything great to report?

I was there about two weeks ago...LINK

And this is worth essentially nothing, but the place that I most wanted to try, but was unable to because of their summer vacation, was Trattoria Caminetto d'Oro. Their menu looked quite promising.

Enjoy Bologna!

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We're heading to Bologna next month and are wondering if anyone has been in the last six months or so, with anything great to report?

I can suggest a nice restaurant called "Il Sole": one Michelin star, seriously good. Only problem, it is not actualy in town, you'll need a taxi. The contact details are Antica Locanda del Sole, Via Lame, 65 40013 - Trebbo di Reno, Castel Maggiore (BO) Tel: +39 051 6325381 Tel: 051 6325298

Bang in the centre a very reasonable trattoria is La Cesarina.

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Salutistagolosa: Thanks for the recommendations. We, too, are going to Bologna -- in November -- and I respect your advice. We like those moderately priced trattorias, instead of the Michelin-starred place. Well, we like those too.

I love the blog, by the way. I was trying to figure out how to comment there, but I was unsuccessful.

A little off track here, but I did have one suggestion for you in Bolzano if you go back. Try the Basenhausel restaurant. It was a Fred Plotkin recommendation and it was excellent at all levels. Very reasonable prices and great wine selection.

We're going back to Trento and Bolzano in June with your Trento list in hand. Great write-ups and it gave me some new ideas. (I was particularly glad to read your Due Spade thoughts as we almost went there last time and planned to go for certain this trip. Maybe not!) We'll be there six nights and then to Bolzano for two.

Cheers

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Thanks for the updates, salutistagolosa and tupac17616!

Another neat thing I found while looking through a folder of articles I had clipped is this site - Home Food Click Here!

There are evidently scads of people who open their homes regularly to visitors and they cook traditional multi-course meals for the visitors in their homes. As luck would have it, one of these meals is scheduled for one of the nights we'll be in Bologna, and we're seriously considering it - provided it is somewhere we can get to and from with a taxi!

The site requires registration (free), and then they have a annual user fee - but for tourists from out of the country, they allow a one month payment of 4 euros, so well worth it, imo. The dinners are then charged accordingly, but seem reasonable...the dinner we're looking at is about 7 courses, with wine, for under 40 euros. Will report more as more info is gleaned.


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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A little off track here, but I did have one suggestion for you in Bolzano if you go back. Try the Basenhausel restaurant. It was a Fred Plotkin recommendation and it was excellent at all levels. Very reasonable prices and great wine selection.

noted: next yer it si goign to be ours :smile:

(I was particularly glad to read your Due Spade thoughts as we almost went there last time and planned to go for certain this trip. Maybe not!) We'll be there six nights and then to Bolzano for two.

well, I would not want to put you off too much. The cooking is fine, if you can stand the attitude of the manager (and maybe he just did not like us) :wacko:

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Tomorrow I have to go to the airport in Bologna to drop off one of the sprogs.

I have a feeling that on the way back to Ancona traffic is going to be a nightmare

so I would like to stop anywhere along the way for lunch.

Any suggestions for a restaurant (the only criteria being that the food has to be

good and not too expensive) along the way from Ravenna - Fano??

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There are evidently scads of people who open their homes regularly to visitors and they cook traditional multi-course meals for the visitors in their homes

Please do report back after you experience this home food thing! I'm quite curious...

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We were in Bologna back in April and had an outstanding lunch at Tamburini (the restaurant around the corner from the shop, not the buffet thing inside) we all had the taglieri (platters of meats cheese etc,) and loved them. The service was excellent and they even managed to dig up a drinkable wine with no added sulfites for my friend who is allergic.

Sorbetteria Castiglione is as good as they say - i.e. very :rolleyes: Stefino at via Galiera 49 was also good.

avoid Rosso San Martino, in piazza san martino - bad food, (so salty that even I, a total salt-hound, couldn't take it) and bad service!

There were a couple other places we enjoyed very much I'll see if I can find my notes later...


Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Thanks for the updates, salutistagolosa and tupac17616!

Another neat thing I found while looking through a folder of articles I had clipped is this site - Home Food Click Here!

There are evidently scads of people who open their homes regularly to visitors and they cook traditional multi-course meals for the visitors in their homes.  As luck would have it, one of these meals is scheduled for one of the nights we'll be in Bologna, and we're seriously considering it - provided it is somewhere we can get to and from with a taxi!

The site requires registration (free), and then they have a annual user fee - but for tourists from out of the country, they allow a one month payment of 4 euros, so well worth it, imo.  The dinners are then charged accordingly, but seem reasonable...the dinner we're looking at is about 7 courses, with wine, for under 40 euros. Will report more as more info is gleaned.

I've looked at this site before, but couldn't figure out the booking process. Where do you see the dates that dinners are offered?

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So, our 5 nights in Bologna were splendid...and here's a quick run down of meals we loved and some we just didn't love as much while visiting Bologna - a splendid city! And a great place to stay for reasonable day trips - wish we had more time.

Unfortunately, our planned dinner through the Home Food web site was canceled at the last minute due to the hostess becoming ill, but it was handled perfectly by the office in Bologna, and our euros were immediately credited back to our PayPay account.

Our favorite meal in Bologna was probably at Trattoria Meloncello (on via Saragozza), a small, Slow Food place at the foot of the San Luca climb. No written menu, but a great, homey feel with a large garden for those who like to sit outside. Daily specials recited in English that was just English enough for two NYers!

Here's what I started with, and it was heaven!

gallery_6902_5187_8990.jpg

The best tortellini I've ever tasted, in a wonderfully flavorful brodo. For dessert, I had spotted a bowl of peaches on the counter and I asked if I could have that - so they took a couple of peaches, peeled 'em, sliced 'em and tossed them with sugar and a bit of grappa - a great way to finish this classic Bolognese lunch.

We really had fun at Ristorante al Montegrappa - thanks Kevin 72, for the recommendation! Fun place, friendly, English/French speaking waiters, quite a number of tourists, but worth it for some well turned versions of a couple of classics - here's where I bit the bullet, going for the Bollito Misto...

gallery_6902_5187_64429.jpg

Just what I needed (I couldn't even take the pic without first tasting!). It's head, trotter, tongue and some other cut - served with a great salsa verde, some mashed and definitely delicious.

We didn't love Franco Rossi, recommended in this (though a while ago) and through other research I did - just didn't move me, that's all.

In the group of shops right under our rental apartment (on Via Collegio di Spagna) was a little place called Il Tari - calling itself both a pizzeria and trattoria, we dined on splendid pizza (the pizzaiolo was Pugliese and the chef was southern too), great squid, delicious pastas and salt-baked orata. And liked it so much we ate here twice...always a good recommendation!

We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch at Da Gianni - enough to go back for dinner (another 2-timer). Recommended dishes include papparadelle with a lamb ragu and veal with porcini mushrooms; and the affettato misto isn't to be missed! Essential to reserve for dinner.

gallery_6902_5187_3434.jpg

We had amazing gelato at Il Gelatauro, on via San Vitale - Grom was good too. On a day trip to Padua, we had lunch at Veranda il Calendrino...before lunch we had coffee and snacks at a little bar in the piazza...

gallery_6902_5187_25307.jpg

And, after a rather gluttonous stay in Bologna, we moved on to Montone, which is a whole other, delicious story!!


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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Nice photos, Mitch! I love the last photo in the bar, captures the whole essence of 'bar life'!

I would also like to have a bowl of that tortellini in brodo right about now...it's a cold, rainy night and that would be just heaven.

Ciao, Judith! And, thanks!

Here's a shot of another bar, the one where we had our (almost) nightly bitter campari before dinner - it was just a minute or two from the Piazza Maggiore, and along with the drinks, they put out this or a similar spread of (free) food for those so inclined...

gallery_6902_5187_32162.jpg


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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Beautiful!

It drives me crazy that bars in NY don't put out any sort of nibbles or food with aperitivo. It fuels that whole American wine is meant to be be an alcohol delivery system argument. But, that's a topic for another thread.

Bologna is such a gracious and elegant city, I'm so glad you were able to spend some time there.

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Several weeks ago, we were in lovely Bologna for our second visit there, and have a couple of restaurants, etc. that haven't been mentioned.

We arrived in Bologna after the lunch hour, but before dinner. We wandered the market streets, which were a bit dead by that time of day. Tamburini and Atti were open, of course, but Tamburini's "cafeteria" counter looked a little picked over and, honestly, the indoor seating area reminded me of the tables at Woolworth's when I was VERY young.

However, right next door to Tamburini, and operated by Tamburini, was a delightful outdoor wine bar called Bar a Magner, Salumi & Baci. In the middle of the afternoon, there was one empty table (actually, it was a wine barrel) for us. A number of salumi and/or cheese plates to get with the decent wine selection, and as we found out later by observing other customers, you could also have them serve anything from the cases in Tamburini. It was just what we needed! Any time later that day and evening that we walked by this wine bar, it was packed with people.

We had dinner at Pappagallo, which of course has been mentioned before! I was looking for a restaurant that had regional cuisine, but with a creative touch. (We ate at Trattoria Caminetto d'Oro on our last visit, and as good as that was, we wanted to try somewhere else.) I would say Pappagallo delivered on our desires. The interior is typically upscale Italian, white walls, though here lined with pictures of celebrities who've visited Pappagallo over the years (mostly unknown to us). A whimsical silhouette of a person leaned over the second-floor balcony, and the centerpieces on each table of a single type of fruits and vegetables toned down the formality (our table held a basket of the biggest pears I've ever seen). My crostata of pumpkin and leek included smooth flavors of each vegetable, the sweetness of the crostata balanced by the fonduta puddled underneath. My Pappagallo lasagna was excellent, creamy without being too rich, and with a hint of lemon to add a touch of the piccant, and just enough veal to add flavor without overwhelming the pasta. DH had the green lasagna, also delicious, though I preferred my lasagna to his. He also had the guinea fowl, which to our surprise, was fried. It was served in four manageable pieces, with a cheesy potato accompaniment. With dinner we had a superb Brunello Castelo Giocondo 2001, and we finished with a cheese plate. (And gelato from Gelateria Gianni's location right down the streeet, on via San Stephano.)

For lunch the next day, we had a magnificent meal at Drogheria della Rosa, on via Cartoleria 10. Our experience there was one of the best on our entire trip (which included Venice, Milan, the Piemonte and Turin). Drogheria is owned by Emanuele Addone, whose care for his food and each of his customers was evident the entire time we were there. He spoke to us throughout the meal, making sure we enjoyed our food, and even writing down the name of an unknown item on the antipasto plate - ciccioli. I think we call them pork rinds in the U.S! Emanuele is concerned about food, and quality, and spoke dismissively of an unnamed Venice restaurant that served his wife and daughter old fish. His restaurant is located on a quiet side street, not too far from Sant Stephano; the interior looked adorable (a former drugstore), but we ate outside. No menu. First came a plate of mortadella, prosciutto and the aofrementioned cicioli. Then Emanuele recited our choices; DH selected ravioli stuffed with potato, served with butter and white mushrooms; the pasta was a little thicker and heavier, which suited the potato filling. My ravioli was stuffed with eggplant, and served with many fresh cherry tomatoes (pacchini?) and a bit of spinach; my more delicate pasta brought out the flavor of the eggplant. For a main course, DH had filleto di manzo, which was large, thick and cooked with balsamic vineagar, adding a great flavor. It was served with a Belgian endive, also roasted or sauteed in a balsamic vineagrette (DH gave it to me - I loved it). For a main, I had the sformatina, light and tasty, again served on a pool of fonduta. On both our plates was a green or herb called silene (?), which I'd never seen before. (Again, we chose gelato over dessert at the restaurant.) I would love to return to this welcoming restaurant.

Unfortunately, those were the only meals in Bologna on this trip, as we had to move on to a business meeting in Venice. But I would urge you to seek out Drogheria when in Bologna.

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On a recent trip I ate at several new places for me:

The Cantina Bentivoglio, was a place I went to with a research group that was meeting. They needed a big place that would accommodate them, not necessarily a great food opportunity. I was not especially taken by the food, sampling the antipasti and tagliatelles al ragu Bolognese, but really enjoying only the green salad and “cream” gelato.

Da “Silvio,” was hosted by the heart of the research group I was answering questions for, my two colleagues and one girlfriend. Our host, Silvio Cavalieri, half maitre d’, half raconteur, flooded us with antipasti and desserts; the most memorable of which were the mortadella mousse and cream gelati. In between I had a divine goat’s knuckle and they equally enjoyed their food (osso bucco, beef and baby chicken). I have no idea what the bill was because it constituted part of my “consulting fee.”

The Ristorante Cesarina, “in business since 1908,” it said on the aprons. My host was keen on my having tortellini, a Bologna specialty, until we looked at the menu, and I fixed on the culatello, a ham cured in sweet wine that’s soaked in a cloth that’s wrapped around the ham. It’s served with Bologna’s version of New Orleans’ Café du Monde’s beignets, without the sugar dusting. We also split the green asparagus topped with melted pecorino; quite good too. We both discussed the merits of the (sweet and sour) guinea hen and rabbit and again did a bit of splitting – I think my guinea hen won out. No dessert but the requisite after dinner liquids and we were off (bill again paid by my host’s “administration,” he said.)

We also dropped by but did not eat at the brand new book store cum wine shop/wine bar cum restaurant cum café called Eataly that one of my Facebook or blog correspondents suggested I go to. It was a cinema before, a market before that, a church (St Michels) before that, and originally a market street (or did I reverse the last two?) I thought it was great; it had everything from Simenon to St Emilion, ravioli to ristretto, etc.


John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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