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Sep 14, 2012 07:49 AM

My Bologna Food Itinerary...Thoughts?

Hi everyone! Been really enjoying reading all the opinions on Chowhound regarding restaurants in Italy. Going on a 10 day trip in October and spending 3 nights in Bologna. Just so you know...we can eat!! We are in our early 30s and have very good appetites (at least when we're on vacation, haha). We're really into trying all the traditional food and I more than my husband am happy to try a little more adventerous food, too.

First day I have us going to lunch at Da Cesari.

First night have a reservation at La Traviata at 9:00 p.m.

Second day we are doing the Italian Days Food Tour so lunch will be taken care of with them, and then for dinner I figured we probably won't want a full meal so we might go to Tamburini or Le Stanze.

Third day we're doing the Bologna Cooking School from about 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

For dinner, I was thinking Al Sangiovese around 9 p.m.

What are your thoughts? Also, if I changed our 2 dinner reservations to 9:30 p.m., would that be too late or okay?

Thanks so much!


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  1. You should check when Tamburini closes the day you think you might go there. You asked for thoughts, and my thoughts are that apart from a nice strudel-cake they make there called "pinzi," I think there is much better food elsewhere in Bologna.

    There is nothing "traditional" about the array of bar snacks you might find on any given night at Le Stanze, or particularly adventurous. Sometimes they are good; sometimes they are inedible. You might find hummus alongside tuna rolls, or chicken wings next to cheese chunks or olive salad. Cocktails are the only thing they do reliably well. If you decide to go to Le Stanze, you need to hang on to your receipt when you pay, because you will be asked to show it to the doorman when you leave to prove you paid.

    Other than that, I've never eaten at the other places you mention.

    1. Look in the end of the day its up to you - some of these places have been reported on favorably by chowhounds (Al Sangiovese) others have received nary a mention here, but I dont see any reason not to try them based on your total mix of info. Hope you report back on your experience.

      1. Check out Trattoria Meloncello. It was one of our favorite meals in two weeks in Italy. You might also want to leave something open after Italian Food Days & get a reccomendation. Alessandro is great!

        20 Replies
        1. re: Ruby16

          I found the food at Meloncello ordinary, and the prices no bargain. Ranks pretty low against so many other places we have been to in Italy. For about the same price, Trattoria Da Gianni is infinitely better, and right in the old town.

          1. re: rrems


            The lasgne al forno di Bolognese is fabulous. We met Chef Mario Batali lunching here.

            1. re: foodeditormargaux

              I tracked this down, online Enoteca la Capannina in Poretta Terme is referenced a number of times in Mario Batali materials and recipes, evidently a place where he apprenticed.
              Lasagna recipe is also available via epicurious.
              But I cant see any current listings for this restaurant. Maybe someone more persistent can find.

              1. re: jen kalb

                A long way away from Bologna.


                The fact that Batali was lunching there means absolutely nothing. When you look at some of the restaurants that he chose in Bologna, when he went to Capannina in 2006, you can see some of his problems.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  Poretta Terme is not now and never was near the historic center of Bologna. As far as La Capannina goes, I think I read in Bill Buford's book, in which he went to all the places where Batali had worked in Italy, that the couple who had owned La Capannina had found it more and more difficult to make an economic go of it and now owned a ristorante-pizzeria. The Italian Yellow pages list a ristorante-pizzeria called La Capannina in Granaglione, 3.2 km from Poretta Terme. I doubt that it's worth a trip from Bologna to eat there.

                  1. re: Octavian

                    The place that is worth the trip is Da Amerigo in Savigno, About half an hour from Bologna.

                    In Buford's book, by the way, even though he raved about it, he couldn't even properly capture La Buca in Zibello. It was clear that he had no idea of what was going on (in addition to making numerous factual mistakes).

                    1. re: allende

                      Hello...just checked out the menu for Da Amerigo and it sounds amazing! How much approximately do you think it would be for a cab from hotel (Albergo al Cappello Rosso located at Via de’ Fusari, 9 Bologna, 40123) in central Bologna? Would that be something that my hotel would arrange for me? I'm assuming so... Also, what is the attire for Da Amerigo? Thanks so much for the suggestion!

                      1. re: chattys82

                        You should ask your hotel, because they probably work with a regular driver who does airport pickups and other out-of-center trips, and thus can get you a "price."

                        Google puts the drive-time at a bit over 45 minutes, which is at least twice as long as a trip to the airport, which generally costs between 15-20 euros. So my guess would be at least 40 euros each way, maybe more, unless you can get Da Amerigo to arrange for the trip back at a comparable price.

                        You can look on tripadvisor and see a picture of people dining there.

                        I doubt you can make a reservation for 9.30 there and you should check with your other places if they are OK with a 9.30 reservation.

                        1. re: barberinibee

                          What do you think, barberinibee? Is it worth it to have dinner there? :)
                          I'll do it if people say it is!

                          1. re: chattys82

                            I've never been! I'd love to go -- I think. I tend to be a seafood and vegetable lover, along with being a pasta lover, and many highly regarded restaurants in that part of Emilia-Romagna are very meat centric. I'd have to study a seasonal menu, looking for mushrooms. (And i'd probably drive there and spend the night if I decided to go.)

                            But try doing a search of Chowhound, using the name of the restaurant. Most of the people who've reported eating there have been in a swoon about their experience. The restaurant also wins great praise from Italy's most respected Italian guidebooks for dining.

                            1. re: chattys82

                              @ chattys82

                              We've been to Amerigo many times. Look at my notes on this board and those of several others who have been there.

                              Below is one of my old notes from another site, about our first time there.

                              Da Amerigo is the real deal. It is a classic trattoria serving very skillfully prepared Bolognese dishes. We arrived in Savigno late in the afternoon. Peaking through the window of the trattoria, we see the classic tableau… three elderly woman sitting at a table in the dining room, oblivious to the outside world, intently focused on rolling pasta, filling pasta and shaping pasta, for that night’s dinner. The ingredients used in the dishes are first rate, the flavors are full, the plating is well done, the menu changes frequently and the wine list is well thought out. The owner, Alberto Bettini, his wife Susanna, and the rest of his family are warm and welcoming, the service is casual but professional, courteous and helpful, and most of all the whole meal was “natural” i.e. this is how we’ve done it for a long time, we enjoy doing it this way and we hope you like it. It is a very relaxed place and Susanna runs the dining room very well, helpful but not obtrusive and with a pace in the service that allows you to eat and then sit for a while before the next dishes are served. This is not a “rush rush” place; they want you to really enjoy the evening (on the other hand, there was no half hour wait for the next course). The physical setting is classic trattoria and reminded us of both Villetta and La Buca, very comfortable, but the decor is much the same as it was fifty years ago. As I said, the quality of the ingredients is exceptional, whether it was in the coniglio all’ aceto balsamico (the best example of this classic that I’ve ever had) or the guancia di vitella brasata al barbera. The lasagna al forno was so well prepared, my wife said that the pasta was only a notch (no pun intended) below Bruna Santini’s (our standard for excellence). Cherries from nearby Vignola on a simple baked dessert of light pound cake with a little vanilla custard was fantastic. Whether it was the warm tigelle or the quality of the mortadella, Bettini “gets it.” One other thing: their nocino is fantastic and is available to buy at their dispensa. What a pleasure to have a meal at Da Amerigo.

                              1. re: allende

                                Great. I made a reservation for Da Amerigo. We arranged with the restaurant for transportation to the restaurant and back from our hotel. Really looking forward to it! Will give a full trip report upon our return (will be in Italy Oct 10-21).

                                1. re: chattys82

                                  Ok, I too am convinced this would be worth the little extra effort to get there. Chatty, did you make your res. online or by telephone? How were your transportation arrangements made? Do you mind if I ask what price you were quoted? We will be in Bologna Oct. 17-20. Am I correct this will be the time of Porcini? White truffle?

                                  1. re: deensdream

                                    Hi deensdream, what night are you going to go to dinner at Amerigo? We made a reservation for 9:00 p.m. on October 17th (Wednesday) and we're being picked up at 8:15 p.m. by someone at the restaurant and then brought back to our hotel. We're staying near the main Piazza in Bologna which apparently is about 45 minutes away from the restaurant. I was quoted 90 euros. It is the time of white truffle and mushrooms. :) If you go the same night, maybe we can split the transportation!

                                    1. re: chattys82

                                      Wow, Chatty, I was hoping for a little helpful information, but you over delivered! We arrive in Bologna on the 17th, so that evening would work for us. Let me check with my better half, and I'll come back with my email info. This sounds so much like the kind of place we're looking for.

                                      1. re: chattys82

                                        Okay, talked it over with our committee of two, and we'd like to share in the transport. I can give you my personal email info to firm up the arrangements. Is there a way to do this offline? I am not reluctant to do so here, but I am wondering if there is protocol as far as the board is concerned. I'm sort of new here. Maybe someone can pipe in and tell us? I've been looking at the menu online...SO looking forward to this.
                                        We are also going on the Italian Days Food Tour, of which I have read nothing but good, no - make that great reviews.

                                          1. re: chattys82

                                            As I mentioned above (and on other notes), Da Amerigo is the real Bolognese food. So much better than anything we've ever eaten in the city.

                                            Have fun.

                                            1. re: allende

                                              Thanks allende for all your input. I value your posts, and really appreaciate you sharing your experiences. I went to the website, and the way they discuss their ingredients - like fond treasures-makes me love them already. We'll be in Bologna just 4 evenings following 6 in Venice (where PBSF has been a much appreciated font of experience.) I'll definitely report back!

                                        1. re: chattys82

                                          Chattys82, did you end up doing this trip to Amerigo? How did it work out?