Home to the Mortadella, Bolognese sauce (or Ragu in Italian), Parma ham and Tortellini, Bologna will keep you coming back for more. Contrary to what you think, Bologna “La Grassa”, or the Fat One, has nothing to do with fat and everything to do with flavours, richness, and quality of its cuisine. After spending a few weeks in the Fat One, I can testify that it is a city of culinary pleasures! So I’ve listed a few places that were outstanding and are worth exploring if you should find yourself in Bologna. Enjoy!
Gelaterias and Sorbetterias
There are plenty top notch gelaterias to be found in Bologna. I recommend giving them all a try. After all, two scoops are usually around 2 to 2.5 euros so why not? A specialty in a few gelaterias is putting melted hazelnut chocolate (known as Gianduia) in the bottom of the cone and then topping with the “Alice” flavour, which is a mascarpone gelato. It is absolutely divine!
These two gelaterias below are incredible and worth the walk as they are little bit off the beaten track. They are open all year round.
Cremeria Santo Stefano
Address: Via Santo Stefano, 70, 40125 Bologna, Italy
Best flavour: Salted Pistacchio
La Sorbetteria di Castiglione
Address: Via Castiglione, 44, 40124 Bologna, Italy
Flavour to try: so many but go for the mint. It has real mint leaves!
PIZZA, PIZZA, PIZZA!
Finding great pizza outside of Naples is difficult. While the foreigner may be tempted by many pizzerias in the city, most Italians would say “Mah!” and disapprove. However, there are two pizzerias in Bologna that offer pizza just as good as the Napolitan ones.
Pizzeria Belli Arti
Address: Via delle Belle Arti, 14, 40126 Bologna, Italy
A proper restaurant serving gourmet pizzas and regional pasta. The pizzas are quite large and prices are a bit on the expensive side at around 12-15 euros the pizza. Expect to be charged a cover charge of 2 euros per seat on your bill. Serving staff is kind and attentive. Menus are in a few different languages.
Address: Via Giovanni Brugnoli, 17/f, 40122 Bologna, Italy
This is a little pizza place that feels like a Subway sandwich shop. With only two plastic tables, it isn’t appealing for those looking for a romantic experience. However, if you are just looking for phenomenal pizza than this is the place. Everything is made fresh and right before your eyes. Plenty of toppings using quality DOP ingredients. The owner and his staff are really kind and price per pizza is between 7 and 9 euros.
Vagh in Ufezzi
Address: Via Dè Coltelli, 9/2, 40124 Bologna, Italy
A small and homely restaurant run by husband and wife, this is the place to go to for regional cuisine. The couple places a lot of importance on the quality and authenticity of their food. As such, the menu is small, with around 6 dishes, and there is a featured dish every day. The prices are very reasonable here, at around 15euro per person for full meal including dessert and drink. Wonderful little spot but fills up quickly so best to call ahead and make a reservation.
Chiosco Ai Pini
Address: Via Emilia Ponente 351, 40132 Bologna
This is a family place that focuses entirely on crescentine and tigelle, which are regional specialties. A small restaurant beside a city park, it is plastic chair kind of place. But the food is great! At 15 euro per person (no drink included), you get a basket of tigelle (a small flat bread) and another basket of crescentine (fried dough rectangles, similar to empanadas) plus a tray of fillings such as prosciutto, ham, mortadella, squaquerone cheese, tomato and sweet onion sauce, artichokes, and of course, chocolate, Nutella, and other goodies to top your crescentine and tigelle.
Corte d’Aibo Agriturismo
Address: Via Marzatore, 15, 40050 Monteveglio BO, Italy
Although not in Bologna city, this winery, guesthouse and restaurant is located 20 kms from Bologna in Monteveglio. It is worth a visit to Corte d’Aibo as it offers so much, from incredible food, organic wines and great stay in the hills of Bologna. The guesthouse has 12 double rooms with beautiful views of the rolling hills covered with vines. Guests have access to a freshwater “biolake”, which is a small swimming pool that has no chemical treatments whatsoever and is completely reliant on plants, microflora and microfauna for filtration. The restaurant is in a lovely stone house that dates back to the 17th century. Stone and wooden beams, as well as checkered tablecloths give this restaurant a rustic, homely feel. The food is absolutely wonderful! We opted for the tasting menu which included a starter of Porcini mushrooms in polenta, three flavourful pasta dishes, two entrees: roasted Guanciale with grilled vegetables and potatoes, and a cheese platter. The dessert was a sample tray of Panacotta with wild berries, a brownie (similar to a torta barozzi) and a wild berry pie. The ingredients are full of flavour, as they come directly from Corte d’Aibo’s organic vegetable garden. The chef exquisitely integrates traditional Italian ingredients but adds a few twists such the squash Tortelloni with pistachio and balsamic sauce. Truly outstanding meal.
The winery is also located on the property, where they produce approximately 180,000 bottles of certified organic wines. We tried 2014 Cucherla and Meriggio with our meal, which were lovely gastronomic wines that paired well with our meal. (Unfortunately no tasting notes for you as I was blown away by the whole experience). The wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in amphorae. We stopped by only for lunch, but I would definitely return here to spend a few days admiring the views, tasting more of those wonderful dishes and sampling their wines.