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Apr 10, 2011 11:19 PM

Finalising restaurants in Bologna

Less than two weeks before I am in Italy and the closer it gets the more I change my mind about restaurants. I am not relying on guidebooks, I am mainly relying on this site. When I had a look, however, at a major on line travel site, virtually none of the restaurants I intend to visit in Bologna are in the top 50 (which is not necessarily a bad thing!).

At the moment, my short list is thus:

Da Gianni (terrible reviews on other site)
Anna Maria
Trattoria Twinside
Osteria Numero Sette
Da Cesari

On the 'other' website, I am interested in Al Sangiovese and Trattoria Battibecco. Are these worth trying? Are any of the restaurants on my original list now no longer worth visiting? (I have been researching on here for some time!!)

We will have 5 nights (dinners) and two lunch spots to fill. Including Sunday night and Monday night which I believe can be quite difficult (but Gigina is open Sunday).

Any thought/advice would be much appreciated.

Via Henri Beyle Stendhal, 1, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna 40128, IT

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

Osteria Numero Sette
loc. - Rastignano ,Via Andrea Costa 7, Pianoro Bologna, Emilia-Romagna , IT

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  1. It is impossible to help you unless you name the other website you are using for comparison. If it is Tripadvisor or Fodor's, all I can say is woe unto you if you follow in those foot steps. Very few contributors to these websites bring anything other than an extremely uneducated palate to their Italian travels, and a desire to spend less than 30e per person per meal. They often think they are being "ripped off" or "treated like second-class citizens" when they are not loaded up with cheap meaty food or when -- I think understandably -- they are seated in an area with other English-speaking tourists so that the restaurants sole English speaking waiter can deal with the fact they don't understand the menu.

    Or maybe you were reading egullet -- which would be a different story.

    Since you asked for "any thoughts", five Bolognese restaurant dinners and two Bolognese restaurant lunches over a five day span would probably kill most people.

    3 Replies
    1. re: barberinibee

      "Since you asked for "any thoughts", five Bolognese restaurant dinners and two Bolognese restaurant lunches over a five day span would probably kill most people."

      That's good Barberinibee! La Grande Bouffe set in Il Grasso :-)

      1. re: barberinibee

        OK, I was trying to be discreet and not offend anyone,but it was TA. I have never gone for restaurant recs from TA before but it's a bit seductive when they bring out all the hyperboles and you can't see a bad review.....

        I have not heard of egullet, I am keen to have a look now!

        In terms of the quantities, I am truly a small pixie (160cm tall, 50kgs) therefore I cannot manage anything more than one big meal a day and even that can be a struggle. But I do love my food! We are staying in a hotel but are going to try and have meals/picnics from fresh food we buy and I love the idea of Osteria del Sole so we will probably end up there a bit.

        The five day span is actually 8 days, with side trips to Venice, Florence and a couple of days driving the countryside, and I would like to vary what we eat as much as possible but that's pretty much down to what I select from the menu I would imagine. Fish in Venice, Bistecca in Florence...pasta and cured meats in Bologna!

        1. re: PixieM

          I just knew it was Trip Advisor as soon as I read your post. I detest that site. It almost made me have a nervous breakdown before my last Italy trip! lol Such fighting and disparaging of one another's views. Awful.

      2. Some places that seem to be relatively well regarded by the locals are Fadiga Bistrot,Bistrot 18,Scacco Matto, which I think is Pugliese, and All'Osteria Bottega. The Bolognesi also seem to deplore their city restaurants a bit and feel that the eat better going out into the country.

        If Da Amerigo isnt working for you schedule there are other country places nearby, like Ostaria di Rubbiara, with the Pedroni aceto balsamico a liqueur making operation adjoining.

        I agree with BBee that two meals a day of this food will do you in. I felt like an old frenchman obsessing about his liver after a couple of days of E-R food. I cant figure out what you plan to be doing other than eating - sometimes the meal planning lays out easier if it matches up with your touring plans. think about including some meals that include fish perhaps, or have a dinner of bread, cheese and fruit. Or Eataly or a wine bar.

        Osteria di Rubbiara
        Via Risaia, 2, Nonantola, Emilia-Romagna 41015, IT

        Fadiga Bistrot
        Via Rialto 23, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna , IT

        All'Osteria Bottega
        Via Santa Caterina, 51, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna , IT

        Scacco Matto
        Via Broccaindosso, 63, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna , IT

        Bistro 18
        Via Clavature 18/b, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna , IT

        Eataly Ambasciatori
        Via degli Orefici 19, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna , IT

        2 Replies
        1. re: jen kalb

          Hi Jen, we have made a booking at Da Amerigo but we are still undecided about where the overnight stay will be and how we can fit in a few more country restaurants. In terms of what we are doing other than eating, we tend to travel in a meandering, meet the locals kind of way wherever we are in the world. I don't like crowds and I don't tend to go much for the big wow monuments and museums so we do this sort of stuff in little chunks. I just love getting a feel for a place.....and I think we will have good time doing that on this trip.Last year we ate our way around large swathes of the middle east and still managed to see some amazing stuff. This will be our first trip to Italy but I really hope not our last.

          And thanks for the tips re city restaurants!

          1. re: PixieM

            I ate at Scacco Motto, and if you are going to veer away from the Bolognese classics, I would put Teresina ahead of Scacco Matto. (Perhaps the owners of Scacco Matto are Pugliese, but the menu is all over the map.) Both are popular for offering plenty of fish on their menu, instead of the fatty all-meat-all-the-time which tends to be the norm in the city.

            Trattoria Twinside is a place where many diners are eating light, such as only one course or a salads. They have a great wine and beer list.

            One classic dish that I adore is passatelli in brodo, so I hope you give it a try when you are in Emilia Romagna. That and some cured meats makes a satisfying but not leaden dinner.


            I didn't eat in Eataly, but I also didn't see much food there. It is overwhelmingly a book store in my recollection, but I just waltzed through it rather early in the morning, so maybe I missed it.

            This blog my interest you:


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

            Scacco Matto
            Via Broccaindosso, 63, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna , IT

        2. PixieM, like you I've been busily planning a foodie itinerary for Bologna and the restaurants on my 'shortlist' have changed numerous times. It's hard to know which review sites and diner opinions to trust, so I've been cross referencing recommendations with food and travel blogs. (Search for the restaurant name in Google, then filter by blog). At least this way, you can usually see some snaps of the food and get opinions from well travelled / well fed people.

          Da Cesari has made our 'final cut'. You might find these links interesting:


          Also Da Gianni:


          Having read mixed reviews of Trattoria Anna Maria, we've replaced it with Al Sangiovese, which does get great reviews on TA, but also elsewhere.


          For a cheap, light lunch, you might consider Trattoria del Rosso:


          Apologies if this is link overload, but the blogs etc have really helped with my planning. From what I've read (and I've read EVERYTHING), I would skip Battibecco. If you'd like any bar / cafe / food shop recs, do let me know and please post a trip report when you're back.

          2 Replies
          1. re: PigsOnTour

            No, this was not link overload, it was great - the more information the better, I say! Whatever we end up deciding, I will be sure to report back. I am now officially unbelievably excited, but I guess that also might be because I am getting married in two days!

            1. re: PixieM

              Congratulations to you and your inamorato!

          2. When in Italy, follow your nose. The web is a confusing mess interspersed with comments from people with little to no knowledge about food and knowledgeable foodies brought up on interpretations of Italian cooking. We spend months each year in Italy eating. In more than 10 years of doing this our best meal so far cost us $14 for three of us, primo, secondo, wine, espresso and grappa. Try to find that place on the internet!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ray2

              "We spend months each year in Italy eating."

              Therein lies the rub. Most people on this site looking for information have about two weeks to spend in Italy and it's not every year, believe me. Using a hit or miss tactic really doesn't work. Going to Italy with a few good recommendations is essential. There is plenty of good information to glean from these boards. :)

            2. I loved Tamburini. Their charcuterie platters are amazing if you want to discover all things salumi.
              It's on the corner of Via Drapperie and Via Caprarie (on the tower side of Piazza Maggiore).

              For gelato, which Bologna is known for, try Gelaeria di Stefino and Il Gelatauro. The more famousla Sorbetteria undershot my expectations. Venchi (opp. Tamburini) was also good for chocolates.

              For quick bites, there is a local fast food place that makes gourmet slider sized panini's that are quite good. Some of the varieties include argula, balsamic and Roast beef, Prosciutto fig jam and parmesan.

              I went to the Eataly in Turin, prior to arriving in Bologna and it is a lesser version of the Turin outlet. It is as was mentioned, mostly a bookstore, and what you get there in terms of cooked food, is special only for the 'artisanal, organic, slow food' novelty. That being said, I was on something of a crudo/charcuterie bender the entire time I was in Bologna, Turin and Parma so my experience is somewhat biased.

              Just avoid the overtly touristic places and you'll be fine, but even then, the Bolognese cooked better than almost anywhere else in Italy.

              3 Replies
              1. re: meatnveg

                I ate at Da Cesari and loved it. A great chowhound type of place with excellent salads. I also loved Drogheria della Rosa, which is somewhat pricey but I thought it was the best food that I ate in Bologna.

                Da Cesari
                Via de' Carbonesi, 8, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna 40123, IT

                1. re: mpierce64

                  I liked Da Cesari a lot as well, although my visit was a few years ago:


                  Da Cesari
                  Via de' Carbonesi, 8, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna 40123, IT

                  1. re: erica

                    I believe Da Cesari is recommended by a recent article in Bon Appetit, as is Da Gianni.

                    Da Cesari
                    Via de' Carbonesi, 8, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna 40123, IT