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part 1 ~ the food in Bologna

The food!! ~ Reason #1 why I love Bologna.

I have eaten wonderful food all over Italy (well in 11 regions of Italy) and I have to say that one of my favorite places to find food that has blown me away with each bite is in Bologna.

To give you a little background about my taste in food, I don’t eat beef and pork (although I have occasionally been tempted to try a tiny piece of good proscuitto). Because I like to have at least a few options on the menu, I am more picky about the restaurants I like to eat at. I often decide against eating at restaurants famous for mainly meat dishes. Put ravioli or tortelloni con burro e salvia (butter and sage) on the menu and I will order it. I also love fresh pomodoro (tomato) sauce and a good pesto sauce (although you won’t find much pesto in Bologna).

I have been to Bologna four times now, although my first visit really doesn't count since it was only a quick two hour peek in 2000 while waiting for a train connection to Verona. I can't even remember what I ate while I was there. My first real visit to Bologna was a one night stay the following year in 2001 to break up the train travel from Rome to Coccaglio. My second visit to Bologna was again a one night stay, this time in 2007 to break up train travel from Coccaglio to Cortona. Last summer, I finally spent more time in Bologna, this time spending six nights. I was so excited to finally have enough time to try more of the amazing restaurants I had read about.

Back in 2001 during my one night stay in Bologna, I ate lunch at Ristorante Montegrappa da Nello (located at Via Montegrappa 2). I ordered the melanzane all parmigiana (eggplant parmesan) and the Fiori di Zucchini (fried zucchini flowers). It was so good that I returned to Ristorante Montegrappa da Nello for dinner. I don’t recall what I ordered for dinner, but I do remember ordering some sort of zuppa inglese or zabaglione dessert which was delicious.

Two years ago during my second visit to Bologna, again a one night stay, I enjoyed a very delicious lunch at Al Sangiovese (Vicolo del Falcone, 2), a wonderful restaurant just down the street from the Hotel Porta San Mamolo where I was staying. I ordered the spinach and ricotta tortelloni with burro and salvia (butter and sage) for lunch. It was so good that I returned there that night and ordered it again for dinner.

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Last year, I had two so so meals the first two nights of my stay. I returned to Ristorante Montegrappa da Nello for my first dinner in Bologna. I think there was a bit of miscommunication when I ordered because instead of being served the fresh pomodoro with penne I thought I ordered, I ended up being served half tortelline with the creme pomodoro sauce and half penne with the fresh pomodoro sauce. The misunderstanding turned out ok though because I ended up being served two types of pasta. The pasta was good, but not outstanding. I also ordered a caprese salad (mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil) which was just ok. I have had much better caprese salads in the past. I now have mixed feelings about this restaurant.

The second evening many restaurants were closed. My hotel recommended Le Mura, an osteria across the street. That sounded wonderful to me since I spent the day in Modena walking all day. La Mura was just ok. It had a smoky smell inside, although no one was actually smoking while I was there. The menu was meat based. The waiter who was perhaps the owner was extremely nice. He offered to make me some penne pasta with a tomato and cream sauce. I also ordered some grilled vegetables. The food was good but not anything to rave about. Then again, the meat dishes may be fantastic.

After two good but not great meals, I was starting to wonder about the food in Bologna. On Monday, I did the long trek to the Sanctuary I did the long trek to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca one day while in Bologna. I had a sandwich in a bar for lunch. If only I had known about Trattoria Meloncello, which is located near the start of the walk to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca, I would have definitely eaten there for lunch. Make sure to read this review if you are heading to Bologna. The restaurant is given a 9.5 out of a 10 rating.

For dinner that evening, I decided to give Ristorante Teresina a try. Colleenk from Slow Travel wrote a nice review about this restaurant. Ristorante Teresina is located between the two towers and Piazza Maggiore right off the main street (Via Francesco Rizzoli) at Via Guglielmo Oberdan, 4. I was seated inside at a little table in the corner. There was also outside seating but I prefer eating inside now that there is no smoking inside and everyone smokes outside. This was the view of the tables across from me.

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Two very nice waiters took my order and brought me my food. I ordered melone (without the prosciutto) and then mezzelune ripiene di melanzane e formaggio caprino con pomodoro fresco e basilica. My melone (cantalope) was wonderful.

The mezzeluna pasta filled with eggplant and a type of cheese that I think came from sheep was incredibile! The photo does not do it justice.

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My dinner at Ristorante Teresina was the best meal I had so far during my entire stay in Italy last summer. For once at the end of my meal I had room for dessert, but I declined because I wanted to keep the taste of the mezzeluna pasta in my mouth for as long as possible. After I paid my bill, I told one of the waiters that my meal was so good that I wanted to make a reservation to return the following night.

The next evening, I returned Ristorante Teresina. One of the waiters smiled when I arrived. He said they were waiting for me and showed me to my same table. I ordered the mezzaluna pasta again along with the rabbit roll with rosemary.
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The food was fabulous. I ate much too much with my big lunch earlier in the day and had no room for dessert. When paying the bill, the waiter brought me some grappa. I thanked him but told him that I could not drink it because to me grappa tastes like gasoline (not that I have actually tasted gasoline). He was so nice that he then offered me some limoncella. After drinking my limoncella I thanked both of the waiters once again and headed to Piazza Maggiore.

Stay tuned for part 2 coming up tomorrow on the food in Bologna...

Comments (16)

menehune:

Oh, my gawd -- my stomach is growling after reading this - it all looks sooo good! M

My mouth is watering. Literally! That pasta sounds and looks amazing!

Great info on Bologna! I've printed it off for my Italy folders. As much as I love food, you'd think that city was a regular stop for me, but I've actually NEVER been there!

Great post about your adventures in restaurants in Bologna. In a way it's probably best to go from good meals to great ones at the end. Leaves the best taste in your mouth so to speak.

Thanks for your visit to snap2. Embarrassingly enough, although the seeds on the right are from a wildflower in my garden, I can't think of the name for the life of me.

Palma:

So many more reasons/restaurants to return to in Bologna! Yum!

Another place on my list of cities to visit. ITs incredible how much I haven't seen after living in the country for so long!

sandrac:

Another wonderful post, Girasoli -- you are giving me so much help for my trip to Bologna! (By the way, I hadn't realized before how many times you have visited there -- you really are a Bologna expert!)

The food looks so good at Ristorante Teresina and I love places where I have the choice of sitting outside. I'm printing this off for my trip file (and adding to your earlier reviews of Osteria al 15.)

The review for Trattoria Meloncello really was glowing, and the photos were divine. That's definitely going on my list (and so inexpensive, too!) Al Sangiovese also sounds wonderful (and close to our hotel for nights when I'm footsore.)

Marcia:

Bologna is so much at the top of my bucket list, and this reminds me why - we have never been and really hope to get there soon, soon not being so soon, but you know what I mean.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Girasoli, this is a great post! I shall have to remember it if I am every lucky enough to visit Bolgna. That photo of the mezzeluna pasta looks so good.

Thanks for posting this very informative post. Have a great evening.

Jane:

Girasoli--this was a very mean post!! How can I face dinner here tonight? Sometimes I wonder why I miss Italy so much and then I remember--the food. Yum, Yum

Anne:

mmm-MMMMM, that mezzeluna sounds and looks so delicious!! What a great post, girasoli.

Oh oh - now I am hungry again!

What a great idea to do a best of Bologna-series! It is funny that even though I lived there for one year I don't know most of these restaurants; but things are a little different when you are a student, I guess. But I thoroughly enjoyed the whole atmosphere of food appreciation. My favorite food activity was definitely browsing the food shops in the center (Via delle Pescherie Vecchie etc.)

Looking forward to the nine other reasons!

Barb Cabot:

Love this, got to go to Balogna.

menehune, it was really really good!!

Annie, thanks. I am not great at food photos. I appreciate your comment.

Deborah, I am surprised. You really should put it on your list.

Snap2Days, thanks. I hadn’t thought about it that way. Beautiful flower none the less. I completely understand. I am horrible at knowing the names of many of the flowers and trees in Hawaii.

Palma, I know what you mean. It is now the only thing I can think about when I think of going back to Italy!

charlie, thanks for stopping by :) I guess Bologna is not too close to your neck of the woods, but if you ever get the chance, I would definitely recommend it. I have been thinking a lot about heading back down to the Amalfi Coast area again (have only been there once back in 2000), but now Bologna is busy in my brain.

sandra, thanks! I am really glad I have been able to help :) I still owe you an email but have been so busy with Feb blogging, reading, and commenting that I haven’t had time for much else. I have only been to Bologna a total of 8 nights. I guess that is longer than many people have been there but definitely not long enough to be called an expert. I really wish I knew about Trattoria Meloncello last year. Both Al Sangiovese and Osteria al 15 are steps from our hotel, which is very convenient for those nights when you don’t want to walk far.

Marcia, I completely understand abou the soon but not being so soon. Have many places like that on my bucket list. Just need more time (and more money).

Kathy and Anne, the photo of the mezzeluna pasta really does not do it justice. It tastes sooo much better than it looks!

Jane, I feel the same way thinking about dinner whenever I think about Italy.

Jerry, :)

Chiocciola, I really didn’t plan it at first, even after Dana asked me about Bologna. I ended up doing a best of Bologna series after I realized there was much to much to write about Bologna in one or two posts. I missed out on lots of good restaurants also when I was a student. You will have to check some of these places out when you head back to Bologna this year. The food market area was the first thing that got me hooked on Bologna back in 2001…that and not having time to climb the tower the first time I stayed in Bologna.

Barb, it is so close to Florence. Definitely, put it on your list.

jgk:

You're killin' me!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 16, 2009 4:00 PM.

The previous post in this blog was 10 things I love about Bologna.

The next post in this blog is part 2 ~ the food in Bologna .

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.