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Our Worst Meal In Bologna

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  • AWG Oct 23, 2011 12:31 PM
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We had many great meals in Bologna. Tutto bene! Details are posted here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/813720

Our only disappointment was dinner at Drogheria Della Rosa

In fairness it wasn’t ALL bad but a few fatal flaws made this meal a big loser in our book. I can see why people like the place. On arrival you are immediately served a cool glass of prosecco. Nice, but the server said nothing, made no eye contact and roughly smacked the glasses down on the table, then spilled wine over the side of my glass without noticing the mess and left. OK, no biggie.

The waitress arrives and recites an oral menu in English. She could not be taken off her script, even in Italian. We ordered tortellini in brodo and tagliatelle ragu ( I stubbornly refused to order “noodles in meat sauce”). Would you like wine? Red? Poof, instantly a server arrives with a bottle of Sangiovese di Romagna and opens it and pours. “Here is a wine of the region” . Very nice. We happily accept the “house wine” and it is just fine. Then we are served a plate of mixed meats including mortadella.. Again, not a word or a glance as the server seems to be going through the motions of a play he is not interested in being in. We realize that we are involved in a prix fixe dinner and just go with the flow; they want you to experience a classic Bolognese meal, but the staff is not making us feel very welcome.

The pasta arrives and is quite good. (Hey, this is Bologna, so even our worst meal is not all bad) My wife is finishing with the Tortellini and then on her last one just stops and puts down her spoon. I was a bit shocked that she would leave ONE tortellini uneaten and then she shows me the hair attached to it, unmistakably an eyelash. No, it was not her lash, it was woven into the pasta as if it was growing its own lash. We are slightly disgusted but not upset (I am sure we have inadvertently eaten many, many hairs and lashes in our lifetime, but you just don’t want to see it).

As quickly as out pasta plates are gone our secondi arrive. The Mrs. had fillet of beef with “big salt” and rosemary. I had beef brasato “cooked and cooked in wine” was the description. The steak was quite good, very tender and tasty. Maybe a bit too salty for my taste but it was quite thick so I guess it handled the “big salt” alright. My braised beef was cold. We shared the steak bite for bite, I finally got the attention of the server to complain “troppo freddo” and she apologized and took my plate. It returned a few minutes later, properly re-plated, but was this time still just barely warm. A second bite revealed the horrid nature of the dish. The wine flavor was so overpowering to make it sickening, almost pungent, and it was outrageously salty. The gravy, maybe because still sort of cold, had that congealed just out of the fridge look to it, and was not very appetizing. YUK!

We shared the steak, and when they came to take our plates the waitress did notice that mine was full. I told her it was very bad and she politely offered me a fillet or anything else. At this point I had enough and we were ready to go. We almost never eat dessert so refused it and then “Mr. Congeniality” slapped down 2 glasses of bad limoncello and a bowl of ugly grapes.

The owner came around and was having a ball pouring prosecco for himself and for new arrivals and was literally prancing around amongst the outdoor tables. We were sitting inside and got to watch his show through the windows. We were unsure what to expect but when the bill arrived, it had no detail just 2 persons x 35 = 70 euros. A fair price I guess for what we had but we left quite unsatisfied. The staff acted like they didn’t want to be there and projected that mood onto us. The vision of a tortellini with eyelash and the lingering taste of the horrid stewed beef persisted.

As we were leaving the owner called out to us and presented my wife with a red rose. She accepted it and took a long deep sniff as we walked away. My wife LOVES the smell of roses. Amazingly, this rose had absolutely no smell. She held it to my nose with a look of disbelief. We laughed and decided it was a perfect metaphor for Drogheria della Rosa. A rose, but without the beautiful scent.

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Drogheria Della Rosa
Via Cartoleria, 10, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna , IT

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  1. Until I read your report here, I had almost forgotten about our lackluster dinner at Drogheria della Rosa last year (along with Marco Fadiga). We experienced the same brusque service, along with the plate of mortadella and cheese that magically appeared with the prosecco. I think I had some sort of tortellini dish (edible), and now I can't even remember what Mr. db ordered. None of the food was memorable.

    I think this place may have once been good, but after it received one too many great reviews in various publications/sites, the owner may have gotten an inflated head from the success, and may be now focused on turning tourist tables as quickly as possible (whilst giving warm attention to locals/regulars - which is not uncommon, but most restaurants are not so blatant about it).

    Sorry to hear that you experienced such a bad meal here. But also glad to read your 6 great meals in La Grassa!