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Mar 30, 2011 03:51 AM

Looking for advice on best places for traditional cheap Bolognese food in Bologna

Hi, I'm going to Bologna for a week in a months time and am looking for some advice on the best cheap eats in Bologna that serve traditional Bolognese food to review for my website

Thanks in advance, Conor

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  1. Truthfully, I think the best experience to be had of cheap eats in Bologna is buying food at the shops and markets. One hopes you have a kitchen for your week's stay, but if not, you can still sample some marvelous eats by getting take-away at the shops.

    One of the best is slightly outside the main market district: Bruno e Franco at the via Oberdan. Otherwise, let your eyes and nose be your guide around the markets. Best of all, at lunchtime, you can sit down and eat your market-bought food at Osteria al Sole on the vicolo Ranocchi, so long as you buy an inexpensive glass of wine there. (Bring your own utensils.)

    If you do have a kitchen, be sure to purchase some fresh passatelli from Paolo Atti & Figli to cook in brodo. They also have wonderful stuffed pastas, as does Bruno e Franco.

    One of the more unusual treats I found in Bologna is a rich fruit filled cake/torte called "pinza." It is at its best purchased at the store Tamburini, sold by the ounce. Both Tamburini and Paola Atti & Figli have tables inside where you can sit and eat your purchases.

    It's not cheap, but an espresso or cappuccino at Terzi on the via Oberdan is worth the price.

    For sit down meals in restaurants, I think Serghei's on the via Piella is the best price/quality ratio for classic Bolognese dishes. A bit less reliable, but certainly price friendly and charming, is right around the corner on the via Berteria at La Mariposa. They have an especially good tortelloni con burro e salvia.

    For the price of a drink at the apertivo hour, you can eat no end of free "stuzzachini" (snacks, hot and cold) at the very atmospheric bar Le Stanze at via Borgo San Pietro (number 1). Cocktails are good but the food quality is hit or miss from night to night. Be sure to save your receipt when you pay because you will need to show at the door when you leave.

    You might also want to check out Bologna's chocolatier, Majani, which has its flagship store next to the basilica in the piazza Maggiore.

    Via Piella, 12, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna 40126, IT

    3 Replies
    1. re: barberinibee

      in addition to the above good advice, you might want to look at this list from the Restaurant page indicating the places on the current Bolgna list where you can get a good meal for under $35.

      If you are going to travel around Italy a lot, you might want to pick up an inexpensive slim paperback book, Gambero Rosso's Lowcost Guide, which has I think 1000 cheap eats recommendations all around the country with a lot of overlap with Slowfood, but more pizzerie, and snack places as well. Published in Italian, last year.

      lastly, do you really mean "palette" or do you mean "palate" in your blog name?
      Hope we will see some reports of your eating on this site.

      1. re: barberinibee

        Hi barberinibee, thanks so much for all the advice, all the places look amazing, I'm still unsure where to go for some good tagliatelle ragu and tortellini in brodo, if you could let me know you're choices thats would be amazing, I love local small trattoria-style places.

        Also where exactly is the main market district?

        Thanks again, only a few weeks to go now.


        1. re: hiddenpalette

          Re: Markets. Check out Mercato Delle Erbe, Via Ugo Bassi, and the Mercato di Mezzo, Via Francesco Rizzoli. The market at the Piazza Aldrovandi is good for more 'exotic' ingredients like chillis, lime, coriander, etc.

          Some good info here:

          And here:

          I do hope you will be reporting back on your trip!

      2. I'm currently doing the same sort of research for our trip to Bologna in a few months time. barberinibee's recs are great - I've read good things about Paola Atti & Figli and Mariposa.

        Here are some other restaurants you might consider. They are all reasonably priced and quite 'traditional', from what I can tell.

        Trattoria Trebbi, Al Sangiovese, Da Gianni, Da Cesari, Trattoria Tony, Trattoria Anna Maria, Ristorante Biagi, Trattoria del Rosso, Teresina.

        It's worth searching the names and using Google to filter by blogs so that you can read reviews from bloggers like yourself. Most have websites with menus so have a look for the traditional Bolognese dishes you're searching for.

        Trattoria del Rosso
        Via Righi 30, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna 40126, IT

        Via Guglielmo Oberdan, 4, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna 40126, IT

        Trattoria Anna Maria
        Via delle Belle Arti, 17, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna 40126, IT

        6 Replies
        1. re: PigsOnTour

          Hope we will be hearing more about your trip!

          in addition to blogs you may also want to take a look, if you havent done so already, at this local Bologna foodie discussion forum easily enuf read through googletranslate. I have found the discussions of the local restaurant scene there to be very interesting.

          1. re: PigsOnTour

            I hope to hear about your trip too, but I hope you don't mind my raising a red flag that some of the restaurants you named can't really qualify as "cheap eats". I would not put Teresina in that category, or Da Gianni (although both have good price/qaility ratio). Some others you name I have not tried, but from personal experience, I really hated Trattoria Tony, and likewise Trattoria Anna Maria, although they are cheap. I didn't have tortellini in brodo at Anna Maria, which may be the dish that causes the restaurant to be so frequently recommended.

            Also, I hope you don't mind a spelling correction: Paolo Atti & Figli


            If you are into shopping, Melega on the via Claveture has marvelous fruit preserves


            Via Guglielmo Oberdan, 4, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna 40126, IT

            Trattoria Anna Maria
            Via delle Belle Arti, 17, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna 40126, IT

            1. re: barberinibee

              Good point - I suppose we are looking for value, rather than a strictly 'cheap' or budget place. I had already crossed Trattoria Anna Maria off my shortlist as the reviews I've read were pretty mixed. Spelling of Paolo Atti & Figli also noted - I copied the incorrect spelling from your reply to the OP, oops.

              Trattoria del Rosso might be a safe bet for the OP - they have a 10 euro set menu (posted daily on their website - and the a la carte prices are very reasonable.

              1. re: PigsOnTour

                Thanks for drawing my attention to my incorrect spelling in the second instance, and sorry to have lead you into error without realizing it. Alas, I'm now blocked from going back and changing it.

                1. re: barberinibee

                  not to worry - we can add a link to clarify the name once the site fixes its current problem with saving new records on the Restaurant database.