Bologna, Italy foodie guide: where locals eat and drink
Local markets, mortadella pizza and 'tree bark' chocolate make this northern Italian city a foodie hotspot
Looking for restaurants in Bologna? Want to know where to eat in the Italian foodie capital? Local food and travel writer Sarah Lane shares her insider tips for the best restaurants in Bologna, along with where to find the best pizza, handmade pasta and mortadella sausage.
Osteria del Sole – for local atmosphere
Market stall holders have gathered to drink and put the world to rights at Osteria del Sole since 1465; nowadays they’re joined by students, tourists and professionals drawn to its old-time vibe and good wine.
Mercato di Mezzo – for pizza
A beautifully converted market pavilion is home to Mercato di Mezzo, the new hot spot at the heart of Bologna’s historic open-air food market. Here there are a dozen stalls serving local snacks. Head upstairs for the main event, a ricotta and mortadella pizza.
Via Francesco Rizzoli 9
Vecchia Scuola Bolognese – for a cookery school
TV chef Alessandra Spisni, who picked up her traditional style of Bolognese cooking from her grandmother, is partly responsible for the recent surge in popularity of handmade pasta. After a half-day course with lunch at her Vecchia Scuola Bolognese you’ll come away with some much-sharpened pasta skills.
Salumeria Simoni – for a food tour
Book a mortadella tour with Davide Simoni of the Salumeria Simoni deli and you’ll be rewarded with an hour of culture and history focussed on Bologna’s famous sausage. Alternatively, buy a few slices from the deli to make your own panino filling.
Trattoria Serghei – for authentic cuisine
Tiny Trattoria Serghei, one of the city’s temples of authentic Bolognese cuisine, hides behind an unassuming exterior. Inside the cosy wood-panelled interior, choose from specialities like tagliatelle al ragù, stuffed courgettes with meatballs and sautéed chicory.
Via Piella 12, 00 39 51 233 533
Osteria Dal Nonno – for a farmyard lunch
A favourite treat for the locals is a trip into the hills for fragrant crescentine (fried dough puffs) and tigelle (baked bread discs) served with cold meats and cheeses. Find them at the farmyard tables of Osteria Dal Nonno.
Da Maro – for Sicilian dishes
Mediterranean-style Da Maro offers a lighter alternative to Bologna’s meatheavy menus. Sicilian chef Cristian Salas creates dishes inspired by his native island. Try the spaghetti with mussels, clams, frigitelli peppers and tomato confit.
Majani – for chocolate
Italy’s first solid chocolate, the crinkly Scorza, which translates as ‘tree bark’, was made in 1832 by Bologna-based Majani. Another long-standing favourite worth stocking up on is the Fiat – a smooth and tender nutty flavoured chocolate commissioned in 1911 to mark the launch of the Fiat Tipo 4.
Photographs: Matt Munro/Lonely Planet Traveller, Fabio Baradi