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recommendations for bologna

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I will be in Bologna in Mid-May for 2 nightsSaturday and Sunday) . I really need restaurant/trattoria recommendations and suggestions of food stores to wander into. Also, are there any markets in the city center area that would be fun to go to? We would prefer not to leave the city for dinner.
Thanks for all your help and recommendations

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  1. I will be in Bologna in late June and was just looking at this post, which you may find helpful:


    1 Reply
    1. re: lisaonthecape

      Here is a link to a more recent thread, from a different poster, with a follow up from the poster on their Bologna meals when they completed their trip


    2. Yes, there are markets in the city center. Fish, meats, vegs, fruit, you name it. Maybe not Sunday.

      1. Thanks for the suggestion. My only concern is that the review was a few years old--

        11 Replies
        1. re: begpe


          I see that you are a new poster on CH and welcome you. I must point out that things do not change much in a few years, maybe in Paris or Rome, but certainly not in Bologna. The trickiest thing about when you will be in Bologna is not that things will have changed since these older reviews, but that you will be there on a weekend, when many places are closed. We had this problem when we were there several years ago. We ate much better on Monday and Tuesday than on Saturday and Sunday (dinners at Diana and Meloncello were mediocre).

          Sadly, I can't be of much help finding wonderful food on those days.

          I hope others will chime in with good Saturday and Sunday recs.

          1. re: rrems

            As the author of the thread being referred to, I would like to say that I disagree that things don't change in a few years in Bologna. There is more dynamism in Bologna's eating scene then is generally talked about on Chowhound, where the dominant view of the city is pretty fixed on crying into the brodo about the decline in Bologna's fine dining opportunities and people are warned against going there at all (by people who haven't been in years).

            While hoping not to sound rude, I really don't understand on what basis someone who spends one Saturday and one Sunday in a city of 350,000+ people and more than 1500 restaurants concludes that one only eats well on Monday and Tuesdays there! Every place you enjoyed eating at on Monday and Tuesday in Bologna was open on Saturday night, so if you would tell the poster where you ate those nights she or he would possibly be on their way to solving half their meal needs.

            As for what is open on Sundays, you are not going to eat a better lunch on Tuesday in Da Gianni than you can eat on a Sunday (it is open for Sunday lunch), or a better dinner at Teresina's on Monday than you will on Sunday (it is open for Sunday dinner). Like I said, every restaurant in Bologna is open Saturday night and the people doing the cooking are the same ones cooking on Monday and Tuesday (if they are open those days).

            Personally I don't think it is a good idea to eat in Bolognese restaurants twice a day. Even the simplest looking pasta dishes are usually rich in egg and cheese and sometimes fatty meat as well. Any day that the markets are open it is possible to assemble wonderful food head to Osteria del Sole to eat it. There are bars and cafes serving large salads and light plates, even in the evenings.

            1. re: barberinibee

              The places where we ate on Monday and Tuesday were not open for dinner on weekends. I agree with Da Gianni as a great lunch choice for Sunday.

              I would also point out that "while hoping not to sound rude" you are doing a very good job of just that. Even those of us who have not spent a great deal of time in a place can contribute useful information. You can express your disagreement without denigrating someone else's credibility.

              1. re: rrems

                I am curious to know which two restaurants you ate at are not open Saturday nights in Bologna. I'm also just curious to know where you ate "wonderfully." I'm sure everyone here would like that information.

                I fear I learned my manners about Bologna restaurants from a rough crowd, but I actually didn't wish to sound rude. But I do think there is a difference between disagreeing on whether or not a particular restaurant is worthy of recommendations (or even whether Bologna is worthy of its reputation as a destination for restaurant lovers), and advising that people eating in Bologna on weekends won't eat as well as they do on Mondays and Tuesdays. I do find that an incredible statement. Yes, it is the local custom to eat a very large Sunday lunch, so Sunday dinner means many restaurants are not open because nobody is hungry. But it is rare to find frequently recommended ones that are not open Saturdays.

                Anyway, the real reason I am here is to say that the restaurant page for the Bologna tourist office shows Teresina to be closed on Sunday -- so my apologies. I take that to be authoritative. The tourist office index is actually a good way of locating which restaurants are open and in one's desired price range. You can cross check them with online reviews.


                I note that Home Food is serving dinner in Bologna center every Sunday night in May (lunch as well). That would be my pick over any restaurant meal in Italy.


                1. re: barberinibee

                  Your last statement is interesting - your great experience in Sicily aside, can it be true that any Homefood meal is going to be better than ANY restaurant meal in Italy?

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Forgive me for once again running the risk of sounding rude, but I think that's a ridiculous question to put to anybody regarding eating in Italy, and anybody who tells you there is some guaranteed great destination for eating in Italy that supersedes all others -- well, believe that if has some meaning for you, but thinking like that has no meaning for me.

                    I said where I would prefer to eat on a Sunday this coming May in Italy if my only choices were paying somebody to feed me. That's it. I do tend to think that no one will jump on you if you now say what you would do on a Sunday this coming May in Italy, or maybe in particular in Bologna. if you know. (Or at least I won't. The Slow Food trattoria Meloncello isopen on Sundays in Bologna, maybe you would prefer that despite rrems disdain. I've never eaten there.)

                    1. re: barberinibee

                      I must have misread the clear meaning of your last paragrah then where you said that [a Homefood meal] "would be my pick over any restaurant meal in Italy.". It sounded like you werent just make a Sunday eve in May in Bologna recommendation.

                      If you have more solid info about good Homefood cooks it would be great to hear it. The Bologna homefood site looks like most (not all) the cesarine are currently serving the same menu

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        Yes, Homefood would be my pick over any restaurant meal in italy in these circumstances and even in most travel circumstances in Italy. Why?

                        I am certain I am not the only person whose experience of traveling in Italy has revealed that much of the glory of Italian food culture is not in its restaurant culture at all but in the tradition of home cooking.

                        In addition, restaurant meals based on recommendations either from the internet, or apps or most guidebooks is VERY hit or miss and results in a lot of -- shall we say head scratching? Just in this thread alone we have one poster issuing dire warnings against eating Sunday dinner at Meloncello, a trattoria in Bologna that has been in the Slow Food guide ever since its inception and still is. I added a link to show that another poster who was warned against eating at Meloncello on Sunday night did anyway and reported back they disagreed and enjoyed their meal and would go again.

                        So why is a recommendation for HomeFood somehow in need of a huge amount of back up in your world? That's why I asked you what you would personally do in these circumstances. Believe rrems? Believe Slow Food? Check Michelin or Gambero Rosso? Why not try Home Food?

                        To me HomeFood has some outstanding advantages right from the get-go, including that I can see the menu for evening in advance AND I can book the dinner online! I don't have to negotiate making reservations, meaning cell phone issues and language issues. Best of all it is home cooking within the traditions of Italy prepared just for me by an Italian who loves to cook.

                        So is that plainer now? I don't know what more "solid" info you are looking for but maybe you don't understand what the Homefood program is. The cooks aren't just anybody who signs up out of the blue. They are an association with its own internal quality control. They aren't interested in giving you a bad meal. Everything is home cooked for you and it is authentic, whether it is in Firenze or Palermo or Bologna.

                        Yes, the cooks cook strictly local recipes. That is the point. Most people going to a particular region want to eat the local food. The menus are created by the cooks, built around inspirational themes reflective of the history of the regions and they are fixed menus. These places are not restaurants where you go and choose from a menu -- but please note that even in restaurants in Bologna the menus are identical to each other before you put down Home Food for that.

                        Home Food is a serious and important culinary and cultural endeavor. The menus are fixed so that people understand what they are getting when they book in advance and can see if they would enjoy the food. I am not understanding why you want to put this down or make it conform to Michelin rating systems or restaurant entertainments of non-stop variety.

                        I understand that many, many, many people traveling like to go restaurant hopping and think restaurants are fun. Of course many restaurants serve outstanding, serious food. I am not putting that down. But there is nothing at all odd -- given what Italian eating is -- to say that HomeFood would be my first choice as a traveler in Italy if I want to plan in advance where to eat and certainly if I want to understand the local cuisine.

                        1. re: barberinibee

                          A new post to this thread just popped up in my email notification, and your comments on HomeFood caught my attention. We are recently back from Italy and had our first experience with HomeFood just outside of Ravenna. It was one of our favorite experiences of the trip, for many of the reasons you noted. It's something we would highly recommend and plan to include on future trips.

                2. re: rrems

                  I think it still be useful for future posters to know where you ate wonderfully in Bologna since many will be traveling on Mondays and Tuesdays as well as weekends. Unfortunately there has been an impression fostered on Chowhound's Italy board that there is no wonderful eating to be had in Bologna, and that the only solution is to rent a car and go out of town. It is nice to have reports from longtime posters about the restaurants in Bologna they enjoyed.

                  So i am including a link to your trip report of your meals in Bologna.


                  I believe Al Pappagallo is open Saturday nights, but am not sure. (I've never eaten there.) As for Da Gianni, it appears from an internet search that is only closed on Mondays, so it should be open weekends, but it is always best to call directly to confirm and reserve. It is a justly popular place.

                3. re: barberinibee

                  Hi barberinibee,

                  We are heading to Bologna on Friday and staying until Sunday. Osteria del Sole sounds intriguing; can you elaborate? How does it work? Do you bring food to be cooked, or just antipasti type stuff?



            2. Here is one of my very favorite websites for restaurants in Bologna, in particular because it has a page devoted entirely the varieties of pasta you can get in Bologna (and sometimes only in Bologna, and with a few pasta dishes snuck in that are from other regions). It is worth looking at so that you don't always feel like you have to eat either tagliatelle al ragu or tortellini in brodo. But actually is just plain fun. If you spot a pasta dish that looks particularly appealing you can read the review of the trattoria where it was taken. If you don't speak Italian you can click on the English language flag in the upper right corner but best to learn the exact name of the pasta dish in Italian if you want to recognize it and order it off a menu


              and a picture of passatelli in brodo, which they forgot to include but is commonplace on menus in Bologna


              As for the reviews of the "100" trattorie themselves, I think it is not a bad list although don't mistake them for "destination" restaurants. I would knock Diana off the list for sure, but the rest of the most highly recommended fall squarely in the category of where people who like Bolognese trattoria food like to eat when they aren't interested in driving out of town. A lot meat-lovers would add all'Osteria Bottega to the list (but only when they are okay with spending a bit more money).

              By mid-May Bologna will have heated up a bit and it is okay to order for a second course grilled vegetables or sliced meats and melon, or just a cheese course if your pasta hasn't been to cheesy.

              As for historic shops in the historic market section, perusing this guide from the Bologna tourist office might be helpful


              1. Oops... not the thread I was expecting. I thought it would be a discussion of Boars Head vs. Schickhaus... :-)~

                1. Wow!! I didn't mean to start a firestorm here but I still need a few recommendations for a few really good restaurants for Saturday and Sunday!! The web site of the pasta looks amazing but it gives me options for 100 trattorias! We are staying near the Piazza Maggiore--

                  We are going to Bologna still believing it is one of the epicurean capitals of the world--there must be someone out there who knows where to eat where the locals love their meals!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: begpe

                    You didn't start a firestorm. You walked into a long standing debate about whether people who seldom go to Bologna or don't basically like its food as opposed to other areas of Emilia Romagna are the best sources of information about where to eat well in Bologna. (Not to mention an even more lively and long debate about the glorification of restaurant chasing in Italy and the reliability of internet or guidebook recommendations, plus people's absolutely differing ideas of why come to eat in Italy anyway, and just where and how in Italy you can find what you might be *personally* looking for as an experience of Italian eating culture. Whew.)

                    But getting back to your specific dilemma: The link that you were given for 100 trattorie has a smaller sub-section within it of top "buonissima" recommendations. That blog is the work of a local living in Bologna and his top choices reflect the places he likes to take visiting friends. None of the people posting about Bologna here live in Bologna so that list is a perfectly reasonable guide for what you just said you are looking for. For what it's worth, I myself like half the trattorie on that list, which gives me confidence that I might like the other half too. Nobody likes Diana, however, and Drogheria della Rosa is very controversial.


                    Be aware that Bologna's reputation for being one of the epicurean capitals of the world is largely based on 2 things: Bologna's former position within the international trade world as a center for international business travel, which resulted in its having a plethora of high-end Michelin'styled restaurants serving rich, cream-and-butter based food that non-Italians rated more gourmet-worthy than "typical" rustic Italian food. Not only has the economic center of gravity shifted away from Bologna and expense accounts have been slashed, but even international business travelers who still must go there no longer want to eat a lot of cream and butter. Those restaurants have gone out of business, changed their menus or are now tourist traps.

                    However, the second leg of Bologna's reputation for epicurean excellence (apart from its historic markets) rests entirely upon home-made pasta in all its lovely local variety. Unfortunately for Bologna, the world associates the pasta of Bologna pretty much entirely with Spaghetti Bolognese, and many "foodies" make a pilgrimage to Bologna to eat pasta with meat sauce. An authentic "tagliatelle al ragu" in Bologna has no one fixed recipe, and a great majority of the highly authentic versions of this one dish served in restaurants in Bologna turn out to be not to the liking of visitors (who understandably prefer their mother's pasta sauces just like Italians do).

                    What's tricky about getting exemplary home-made pasta is getting into somebody's home, since most locals in Bologna prefer to eat at home and few would rank any of Bologna's restaurants as serving better pasta than what they get at home or at the homes of friends. I reiterate my recommendation that if you are going to Bologna based on its reputation for food, then eating home-made pasta at Home Food makes eminent sense. The Home Food movement began in Bologna. They are very proud of what they do there.

                    However, if you prefer to eat in restaurants in Italy, then wherever you go in Italy it is good advice that if you like your first meal at a restaurant then you should keep going back there rather than restaurant hop. Certainly in Bologna, most restaurants serve EXACTLY the same menu, so there is no point in restaurant hopping once you have found a cook whose food you like.

                    Since you will be there on a Sunday, and since you say you want a local experience of the food, then if you haven't got too heavy a sightseeing agenda, it makes good sense to eat a a major Sunday lunch like the locals do because it is true that many recommended eateries in Bologna are not open Sunday nights. Again, the Home Food calendar shows opportunities for every Sunday in May to eat Sunday lunch as the locals do, at home, with traditional recipes. Or Sunday dinner if your day is too crowded for a big Sunday lunch.

                    1. re: barberinibee

                      Why is Drogheria della Rosa is very controversial.?

                    2. re: begpe

                      I don't know if you have gone yet, but my husband and I were there last April. One of our favorite meals was at Ristorante pizzeria il Sacraceno. Fantastic service as well. Another good one was la traviata- the mortadella lasagna was unique. My husband isn't a mortadella fan and even he loved it. Great squash blossoms as well. There is one more we really enjoyed that I am trying to find the name of. These are all close to your hotel and nothing too fancy, just good.

                    3. Can anyone recommend a consistent restaurant for my last meal in Bologna on a Saturday night? Something fitting to end our vacation, but not stuffy or expensive.

                      1. We would love to go to someone's home for dinner but since we will be there for 2 nights only we are going to go with the restaurant.

                        We have decided to eat at Da Gianni for Saturday night. Restaurants that the hotel recommended were for Sunday evening were Pappagallo, Diane, Anna Maria and Cesarina.
                        Any recommendations amongst the 4 of these?
                        Thanks again

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: begpe

                          We had a lunch at Trattoria Anna Maria that we throughly enjoyed. One of the better Tortelloni of our visit, and I loved the friggione (stewed onions). But I have no idea where it rates in the culinary world. We ate outside, it may be a touristy place, I think they had promotional postcards. Who knows, the friggione was great, and the pasta very good.

                          1. re: DavyTheFatBoy

                            Dave is that a picture of the friggione?

                        2. I am also going to Bologna in Mid-May, spending 1 day there and Saturday night. We have planned a food walking tour for the entire day, but are a little stumped for dinner.

                          We have on the list of ideas: I Portici, Al Sangiovese, Caminetto d'Oro (anyone know pricing on this?), All'Osteria Bottega or Da Ginni.

                          Has anyone tried these- recommendations. We would like to spend a total of $175 including wines. If it was really nice and worth it, we could go up to around $400 with wine pairings total, but would probably have to cut a different splurge meal on our trip.

                          1. I'd love to know where you are going on your walking tour! Please let me know

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: begpe

                              Here is our walking tour. I have made this myself based on tons of different reviews. We may not go to all of them and will probably add or change depending on what we see or like. Our starting point is our hotel Starhotels Excelsior on Viale Pietramellara. We decided not to go in order of food then dessert, but go by where things are located- so if it goes gelato, pizza, wine, gelato, etc we dont care. We love food and will be grazing all all these places. We probably need to tweek stuff and review hours of places- I heard Majani closes at 4 and we should start there (still need to confirm) but we wanted to possibly buy some chocolates to either take home or onto our next destination - but we didnt want to walk around with them all day in our bag in May. Let me know your thoughts and suggestions. Things to add or take off!

                              Walking Tour:

                              Gelateria Galliera 49

                              - Famous Gelato, Rated Best in Bologna by many

                              Ristorante Donatello

                              - One of the oldest operating restaurant, best for pasta dishes, classic bolognese cusinie

                              Enoteca Italiana

                              - Ralted one of the best wine & enoteca in Bolonga (Sells many different bottles along with enoteca)

                              Banco Del Vino

                              - Said to have really good pizza


                              - Said to have really good pizza

                              Piazza Maggiore

                              - Piazza, View Shops & Get Coffee

                              Pescheria Del Pavaglione

                              - Fresh Fish, Oysters and Ceviche (heard mix views on this place, but we love fresh fish and seafood)

                              Osteria del Sole

                              - Oldest Bar, opened in 1465, Serves fresh pasta, beer and wine

                              Salumeria Simoni S.R.L

                              - Specialty meat and food store, serves deli style


                              - Top rated market and deli

                              Paolo Atti & Figli

                              - Best breads and cakes in town

                              Godot wine bar & restaurant

                              - Carries over 1,000 different bottles, rated by some as best wine bar in town

                              Rue de la fromagerie & rouge

                              - Cheese shop with only local cheeses

                              La Sorbetteria Castiglione

                              - Famous Gelato, Rated Best in Bologna by many

                              - Best Chocolate in Italy, Making it since 1796

                            2. Based on what we have read, we are planning to go to La Biata Formaggi which is one of the oldest cheese shops in Bologna--it's behind Piazza Maggiore andwe want to go to Mercato delle Erbe on Via Ugo Bassi--a fruit, vegetable and seafood outdoor market.