Known as Italy’s food capital, Bologna is packed full of culinary treasures waiting to be discovered by enthusiastic foodies from around the world. There are countless reasons to visit Bologna and so many things to do, but one thing to pay special attention to is Bologna’s food scene. Kickstart your very own Bologna food tour with this list of the 10 best trattorias in Bologna and find out what Bolognese food is all about. Follow this guide to the top places to eat in Bologna and discover amazing Bologna trattorias, osterias, cafés and hot spots serving the best pasta and best pizza in Bologna.
Va Mo La
To start off the list of 10 best trattorias in Bologna, I recommend Va Mo La (via delle Moline, 3); a typical Bologna trattoria offering tasty home-cooked dishes. This restaurant used to be an old bookstore and you can really feel that warm, homely atmosphere that’d you’d imagine a bookstore to have. The Menu Bologna consists of traditional Bologna dishes made from the freshest ingredients and the wine list covers the different regions of Italy, all at reasonable prices. For those wanting to experience exactly what food Bologna is known for, this is the place to come! Order the ragù, one of Va Mo La’s most popular pasta dishes, or ask Stefano for his personal recommendation. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. This restaurant is a must-try for anyone visiting Bologna, I really hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Trattoria Casa Mia
If you’re visiting Santuario di San Luca via the Portico (one of my favourite things to do in Bologna), I recommend stopping for a hearty lunch at another typical Bologna restaurant located on via Saragozza, Trattoria Casa Mia (via Saragozza, 9). This cosy, classic eatery caters mainly to locals so you’ll be guaranteed an authentic food experience. The menu is built around fresh, regional produce, as is the wine list. Indulge in a rich, meaty lasagne dish or perhaps the Bolognese classic, tortellini al brodo – a must try food whilst in Bologna. Note that the portions here are relatively large so ordering primi, secondi and dolce might be slightly ambitious. But then again, we all know stomachs expand to cater for holiday eating, right?
La Fastuchera (via Saragozza, 60/A) is a Sicilian restaurant located just outside the main heart of Bologna. The food is sublime, “just like nonna’s” as us Italians would say! The menu is in fact quite different to your typical Bolognese trattoria and offers a fantastic variety of creative and interesting dishes, I recommend the swordfish! The service is charming, unpretentious and the atmosphere is warm and elegant. Start off with a couple of zesty negronis for your aperitivo, sat out in the garden terrace, before tucking in to your main meal. For veggies and vegans out there, this place also has some great options for you. La Fastuchera is slightly off the beaten track, but it is definitely worth hunting down!
Trattoria Dal Biassanot
Biassanot (via Piella 16/a) is a strong contender for best trattoria in Bologna. Packed-out with locals and tourists alike every day of the week, it’s clearly a popular choice. And rightly so! The menu is varied and interesting, including many of the Bolognese classics as well as a number of creative Italian dishes. Start off with the antipasti taster consisting of cured meats, cold cuts and various local cheeses. Then choose your favourite pasta dish or order a few different ones to share. And finish off with Trattoria Dal Biassanot’s famous panacotta – it’s the best around!
Slightly out of the way, south of Piazza Maggiore (next to the viale), this casual neighbourhood spot serving traditional Bologna food, is one of the top places to eat in Bologna. Al Sangiovese (Vicolo del Falcone, 2) is the kind of place where you are always guaranteed an exceptional meal no matter what you order or when you order it. Pretty much anything the owner (who is probably your waiter too) recommends will be worth getting. That said, what he recommends might not even be on the menu! It’s a place that loves to cater to people’s food preferences. The classics are great but pay attention to the specials as they are even better! The Risotto al Sangiovese with chunks of Lardo della Colonnata is an instant winner, if they have it on the menu when you go order it without hesitation!
This laid-back trattoria is one of the most popular Bologna restaurants, with both locals and tourist packing out the restaurant daily. The simple setup, quick service, tasty food and affordable prices, make for a informal, comfortable dining experience with no fuss. I love how they stick to the classic dishes and present them in the most traditional way possible. Want to rub shoulders with Bologna locals and eat satisfying, no-frills Italian home-cooking? Osteria dell’Orsa (via Mentana, 1) is where you need to be.
For great Bologna food paired with a lively, authentic evening ambience, check out 051 (via de' Pignattari 1/F) situated in a narrow pedestrianised road very close to Piazza Maggiore. The whole area is always crowded with people sharing delicious food and drinks and enjoying each other’s company after a busy day. People will eat both inside and outside even in the winter. The atmosphere in this place is fun, friendly and exciting and it’s also known to be one of the places to get the best pasta in Bologna! Take your time here, start with a meats and cheeses platter and follow on with a luxurious pasta dish or a meaty main.
Amedeo (via Saragozza, 88 ) is another lovely little trattoria loved by locals (and tourists in the know!) It's wonderfully cosy and welcoming. Although the staff speak very little English, you will find that they welcome you like old friends nonetheless, trying their best to communicate and provide you with the best service possible. You will feel like a true local the second you step through the door! The seafood risotto is outstanding, and I recommend ending your meal the sorbetto al limone. Delizioso
Trattoria Collegio di Spagna
Despite being so close to Piazza Maggiore, this hidden gem is tucked away in a secret spot down a quiet and quaint side street. Collegio di Spagna (via Collegio di Spagna, 15) uses simple, quality ingredients which are handled with the care and respect that us Italians believe these traditional recipes deserve. The result is a selection of super fresh and delicious dishes bursting with flavour and colour. This is one of the top Bologna restaurants showcasing what the local region has to offer in terms of food. Don't miss the zuppa inglese or the traditional rice cake for dessert.
Osteria del Sole
Though not your typical trattoria, del Sole (Vicolo Ranocchi,1) is a huge favourite among locals and therefore deserves a spot on the list. Through a small doorway located in an alley off via Pescherie Vecchie, lies this unique and historic bar. Once inside you’ll find long communal wooden tables and an array of mismatched chairs surrounded by simply decorated walls covered in old-style pictures. You’ll join an eclectic mix of locals from pensioners playing cards, to students chatting in groups, to couples enjoying a romantic evening together. This hidden gem is the perfect place for an Italian-style aperitivo. The bar serves a selection of great wines and beers at exceptional prices and although this osteria doesn’t serve food, you can bring your own to enjoy with your drinks.
One last tip
Do as the locals do and stop off at a nearby deli or supermarket to buy some cured meats, cheeses and other aperitivo snacks to bring with you. Be sure to come here when in Bologna, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its authentic character, warm atmosphere and friendly staff.
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