- What Is Bologna Italy Known For?
- Where Is Bologna?
- Our Connection to the Food of Bologna
- Bologna Food – More than Ragu
- Bologna Food Guide
- Bologna Restaurants
- Quick Bites
- Aperitivo Bars / Salumerias / Drinks
- Bologna Food Experiences
- Further Afield
- Research Bologna Hotels
- Book a Tour
- Buy a Travel Guide
- Pin It for Later
Curious about what and where to eat in Bologna Italy? Check out our Bologna Food Guide with our favorite Bologna restaurants, cafes and markets in Italy’s most gastronomic city.
Do you know about the food in Bologna?
Many tourists spend their Italy trips in the ancient city of Rome, the artistic city of Florence and the watery city of Venice. Others spend time drinking wine in the rolling hills of Tuscany or eating pizza in Naples. But not so many travelers realize that Bologna is known around the world for its exciting food culture and that the best things to do in Bologna all involve food.
With the 2017 opening of FICO Eataly World, this situation may be changing as travelers discover the gastronomic charms of Bologna, one of Italy’s major transportation hubs. Yes, Bologna is a city where you can eat well and then get a train or plane to almost anywhere in Italy or beyond.
We first visited Bologna in 2010. After stays in the more touristed cities of Rome and Florence, we opted to skip Venice, the third city in the Italian tourism trifecta, and instead headed to the more food-focused Bologna. Any city known as “La Grassa” (the Fat One) intrigued us for its nickname alone.
What Is Bologna Italy Known For?
The secret is out. For the past several years, savvy food travelers like us have been visiting Bologna to eat some of the best food in Italy. And who can blame them?
As the center of the Emilia-Romagna food culture, Bologna is famous for access to great products like Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Mortadella. Most importantly, Bologna is THE place to eat hand rolled, fresh pasta served along with complex, meat-laden ragus that many around the world as define as bolognese sauce.
Where Is Bologna?
As Italy’s main rail hub and home to Europe’s oldest university, Bologna is a crossroads of culture that spans Italy’s long geographic boot. Located in Northern Italy, the distance by speed train to Florence is under 40 minutes.
With this location, Bologna restaurants have begun to attract chefs from as far away as Campania and Puglia. These chefs are placing an exciting new stamp on Bologna classics like Tagliatelle al Ragu and Lasagna Verde al Forno.
Though we recommend a longer stay in Bologna, it’s feasible to plan a day trip to Bologna. Keep this idea in mind if you’re basing yourself in an Italian city like Florence or Verona.
Our Connection to the Food of Bologna
During our initial visit in 2010, we connected with Bologna and its tasty food selection as well as the city’s rich history and architectural beauty. As we strolled through the city’s maze of ancient porticoes while licking cones stuffed with gelato, we vowed to return to the city one day for many reasons but most of all to eat our Bologna food favorites.
It took us seven years, but we finally made it back. To our pleasant surprise, the Bologna cuisine is even better than we remembered.
Update: We have returned to Bologna TWICE since writing this Bologna guide and have updated the article with new Bologna food favorites and not-to-miss Bologna restaurants.
Bologna Food – More than Ragu
If the question is what is Bologna known for, the answer is food. And lots of it.
Blessed by its geographic placement in Emilia Romagna, one of Italy’s major food regions, Bologna has some of the country’s best cuisine. Streets in the center of town are hectic all day and night, though the city comes alive in the early evening when cafes fill with locals sharing plates topped with locally produced meats and cheeses.
We’re talking about Prosciutto from Parma, Coppa from Piacenza and Parmigiano Reggiano from Modena. And the wine!
Local wine favorites include Sangiovese, Pignoletto and the classic red sparkler Lambrusco. Unlike the swill available in grocery stores around the world, the excellent Lambrusco produced in Emilia Romagna pairs perfectly with Bologna’s hearty pasta fare.
If you’re wondering what to do in Bologna, the answer will likely involve both food and wine.
Speaking of pasta, Bologna is the epicenter of freshly prepared pasta. Bologna restaurants serve all types of pasta but local favorites include Tagliatelle al Ragu, Gramigna with Sausage, Lasagna Verdi al Forno and Tortellini in Brodo.
For the uninitiated, Tortellini in Brodo consists of small handmade dumplings served with a rich, meaty broth. Trust us – this dish alone is worth a trip to Bologna.
And it’s not just restaurants. You can buy pasta from local pasta pros named sfoglinas to eat later and, if you’re ambitious, you can even take a pasta class and learn how to make it yourself.
Although it can be fun to make your own pasta, we recommend buying freshly made pasta and cooking it up at your short stay Bologna holiday apartment. Even better, you can also purchase ragu (made by the sfoglinas, of course) to go with the pasta – a true time saver while you’re on a Bologna holiday.
Bologna Food Guide
We dined at some of the most popular Bologna restaurants and found some hidden gems during our four visits to Bologna. We also took pasta-making classes and indulged in leisurely aperitivo sessions.
Every time we thought we had eaten the best Bolognese pasta, we found even better pasta to include in our Bologna guide. And that doesn’t even contemplate pizza, coffee and other local specialties. Such is the food scene in Bologna.
Places to eat in Bologna skew on the casual side with diners enjoying long meals often involving heaping plates of fresh pasta and carafes of local wine. As a bonus, the prices at the best restaurants in Bologna tend to be reasonable with a few exceptions, namely upscale restaurants like Diana, Marconi and I Portici that cater to business travelers and those celebrating special occasions.
As for us, these are our favorite Bologna restaurants:
Trattoria di Via Serra
If you think that all trattorias are created equal, then Trattoria di Via Serra will convince you otherwise. Helmed by slow food acolytes Flavio Benassi and Chef Tommaso Maio, this trattoria serves superior pasta dishes along with an exciting range of Bologna Italy food options that create surprise and delight with every bite.
Don’t be fooled by its off-center location near the train station, Trattoria di Via Serra is a must visit Bologna restaurant.
Benassi, who manages the restaurant’s dining room like a well-oiled machine, greeted us like old friends and then patiently walked us through the menu, explaining how the restaurant procures its ingredients from local producers, many located in small mountain towns near Bologna. Since we were dining with friends, we ordered a range of primi plates (starters) and secondi plates (main courses) to share.
Via Serra’s gramigna dish with its distinctly flavored local pork was notably superior to other gramignas we enjoyed throughout Bologna. We also loved the restaurant’s salumi plate as well as the basket of crescenti tra le tigelle served with mountain pesto. Based on fresh dishes like these, Trattoria di Via Serra may be the best place to eat in Bologna.
Trattoria di Via Serra is located at Via Luigi Serra, 9/b, 40129 Bologna BO, Italy. The restaurant has earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand rating.
Don’t be surprised when you arrive at Oltre located just a few blocks from the bustling Mercato delle Erbe. Plastered with stickers, the restaurant’s front doors look like they lead to a hipster club or dive bar. Once inside the interior of Oltre, which translates to beyond, we realized that the restaurant is no mere saloon.
One of the restaurant’s three partners, Lorenzo Giacomo Costa confided that the doors are an intentional attempt for Oltre to blend into the gentrifying neighborhood. However, Oltre’s interior is a different story with a sleekly modern design by second partner Jacopo Pozzati. And then there’s the food.
Chef Daniele Bendanti, Oltre’s third partner, has created an exciting menu filled with deceptively traditional dishes like tagliatelle, tortelloni and cotoletta. During our meal, each of Bendanti’s dishes featured an array of fresh ingredients that elevated Bologna food classics to new heights.
Sure, we could have ordered tagliatelle al ragu, but how could we resist eating fresh noodles in a buttery white sauce with culatello and asparagus? And tortelloni has never tasted better than the version we ate here stuffed with anchovy perfumed ricotta cheese and adorned with fava beans and pecorino cheese.
It was fortunate we opted to share a secondi. The Cotoletta alla Bolognese (Bolognese cutlet), literally as big as our heads and topped with generous amounts of culatello and 24-month aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, packed a mighty flavor punch. As we plowed through the gargantuan dish, glasses of fruit forward local chardonnay provided a nice and surprisingly weighty counterbalance to the delightfully salty, umami-packed cutlet.
Dessert options include favorites like 70% dark fondant cake with English cream but the true gem is the recently introduced breakfast pannacotta. This sweet and salty dessert looks like pain perdu but has elements of buttery, salty popcorn. Trust the team at Oltre to turn a classic dessert into something ‘beyond’ the expected.
Oltre is located at b 1, Via Augusto Majani, 40122 Bologna BO, Italy.
Place this restaurant in the category of elevated traditional Emilian cuisine. You’re going to pay a little more to dine at All’Osteria Bottega but the ingredients are fresh, the pasta exquisitely constructed and the family-run atmosphere special.
During our leisurely lunch, we enjoyed two pasta renditions made with seasonal ingredients – Strichetti with fresh sausage, super green spring peas (piselli) and onions and Tagliatelle with culatello and asparagus. We also shared a gorgeous secondi featuring fried sweetbreads (animale) and fresh peas.
We recommend All’Osteria Bottega not only for wonderful fresh pastas but also for its relaxed, intimate atmosphere. Located under a portico in a quiet area of the city, this restaurant is as classic Bologna as it gets.
All’Osteria Bottega is located at Via Santa Caterina, 51, 40123 Bologna BO, Italy.
Osteria al 15
Cozy and decorated with a kitschy decor, Osteria al 15 is the neighborhood tavern of our dreams. Located in the Via Mirasole neighborhood, Osteria 15 serves classic Bolognese dishes at reasonable prices and in generous portions.
We started our meal by sharing a plate of Crescentine (fried bread) and Squacquerone (soft cheese from Emilia Romagna). The dish conveyed the rich, decadent, melt in your mouth flavors we crave in Bologna.
Our primi plates, Tagliatelle al Ragu and a generous slab of Lasagna, surprised us with their execution and sophisticated mouth feel. The tagliatelle, though cooked, still maintained a pillow-like texture.
Osteria al 15 also offers desserts like tiramisù and pannacotta just in case you have any room after a day of consuming cornetti, salumi and gelato.
Osteria Al 15 is located at Via Mirasole, 13, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy.
Unlike many of the top restaurants in Bologna Italy, tiny Sette Tavoli offers cuisine with origins beyond the Emilia Romagna borders. Chef Marco Spanghero offers a rotating menu that spans Italy’s many regions like Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria.
After starting our meal with a selection of cured meats, we plowed into a range of pasta dishes including the “Super Spaghettone” Verrigni with Langoustine and Mullet Bottarga pictured above. We managed to save just enough room for a light dessert of Pannacotta made with basil, strawberry sauce and fresh mint – an odd flavor combination that worked.
Sette Tavoli is located at Via Cartoleria, 15/2, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy.
We first visited Sfoglia Rina in 2017, entranced by the restaurant’s display case filled with a colorful array of green, gold and even black handmade pastas. Like every worst blogger stereotype, we wandered toward the drool-worthy pasta case, snapped a photo of the shop’s hunter green tortelloni and bolted for the street.
Shame on us! It just so happens that Sfoglia Rina offers one of the best traditional lunch values in Bologna. On our most recent visit to La Grassa, we headed to the central Bologna restaurant to satisfy our craving for Tortellini in Brodo.
Eating this thimble-sized bologna pasta staple, typically filled with a traditional mince of Parmigiano, prosciutto and mortadella and pork or veal loin and swimming in a light chickeny broth, is reason enough to visit Bologna. The dish may seem inconsequential the first time you eat it, but its undeniably porky and cheesy flavors will inevitably grow in your memory every time the chew filled knots of handmade tortellini enter your mouth.
Sfoglia Rina’s version of Tortellini in Brodo did not disappoint us. We also enjoyed a comforting slab of Lasagna Verde al Forno that stood up to some of Bologna’s best with a deep flavorful ragu and tender, melt-in-your-mouth layers of pasta. Pairing our lunch with Belgian ale from Emilian brewer Birrificio Zuker was a no-brainer.
Sfoglia Rina is located at Via Castiglione, 5/b, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy.
Not every meal needs to be an epic event, which is how we ended up at Osteria Broccaindosso on a night when we wanted a casual meal filled with pasta and red wine. After settling into a corner table, we ordered classic pasta dishes and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Veneto.
As we ate generous portions of gramigna and tortelloni, we enjoyed a bit of voyeurism while observing our fellow diners including a group of young women sharing salads and spirited conversation. With a welcoming and convivial vibe, the restaurant made us comfortable while we indulged in some Bologna pasta classics.
Osteria Broccaindosso is located at Via Broccaindosso, 7/A, 40125 Bologna BO, Italy.
Located near the Basilica Santo Stefano (also known as the Seven Churches), Vineria Favalli serves a range of Bologna food classics including lasagna, tortelloni and tigelle. For sandwich lovers, the restaurant also serves a variety of piadina options including parma ham, mortadella, speck and eggplant for lunch.
Since vineria literally translates to winery, it’s no surprise that Vineria Favalli has an extensive wine menu with white, red, rosé, sparkling and sweet selections available by the glass or by the bottle. Choosing the right wine is half of the fun. Drinking it is the other half.
Vineria Favalli is located at Via Santo Stefano, 5A, 40125 Bologna BO, Italy.
Antica Osteria Le Mura
You really can’t go wrong at a restaurant like Antica Osteria Le Mura located slightly off Bologna’s tourist trail. With a menu that seems fairly typical for Bologna, this restaurant sources products like cheese, meat and pasta from top Emilia Romagna producers. Even the wine list has a local flair.
We found the homemade pastas and sauces to be solid. However, we were most impressed by cotoletta covered in 24-month red cow Parmigiano- Reggiano. From the ‘creative’ side of the menu, this dish features a juicy thick cut of veal cooked medium and topped with a crispy slice of prosciutto.
Antica Osteria Le Mura is located at Vicolo del Falcone, 13A, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy.
Trattoria del Rosso
A visit to Bologna would be incomplete without trying Tortellini in Brodo at least once, even in summer. We satisfied this requirement at Trattoria del Rosso, a cheap and cheerful restaurant in the city center. Reputed to be the oldest trattoria in town, Trattoria del Rosso serves a range of local pastas and other regional favorites.
Trattoria del Rosso is located at Via Augusto Righi, 30, 40126 Bologna BO, Italy.
We mentioned that Bologna’s dining scene is mostly casual, with most diners opting for pasta for part of their meal if not for the entire meal. In Bologna, this situation is not a sacrifice since much of the best food in Bologna is available for under 10 €. Saving money for wine = winning!
Pasta Fresca Naldi
Open since 1985, Pasta Fresca Naldi is one of the most popular pasta shops in Bologna thanks to owner Valeria Nardi’s commitment to freshly prepared pasta at reasonable prices. Although Nardi’s shop serves a variety of pasta meals there are no tables. Everything is sold on a takeaway basis.
Pasta Fresca Naldi is located at Via del Pratello, 69, 40122 Bologna BO, Italy.
Open since 1996 and located behind Bologna’s best market, Mercato delle Erbe, Le Sfogline is a pasta institution. Sisters Daniela and Monica Venturi prepare their pasta by hand, only using machines to stretch the dough.
Lucky enough to have learned how to make pasta as young girls, they are now skilled enough to make 24 tortellini in a minute. As we learned from personal experience, this is not an easy task to master as adults.
Watch our video to see the ladies of Le Sfogline in action.
The shop is busy all day long with locals bringing in their babies and leaving with bags of pasta and, in some cases, pints of ragu. Tourists also stream into the shop, lured by positive word of mouth and the shop’s spread in Long Weekends, Rick Stein’s gorgeous cookbook.
Le Sfogline is located at Via Belvedere, 7, 40121 Bologna BO, Italy.
Located across the street from Pasta Fresca Naldi, MozzaBella is serving the best pizza in Bologna with an exciting selection of gourmet toppings. The rectangular in teglio style reminded us of pizzerias we previously enjoyed in Strasbourg and Bucharest, but the ingredients at MozzaBella are pure Emilia Romagna.
We especially liked the Mortadella, Parma Ham and Yellow Tomato toppings. For full enjoyment, we paired the pizza with cold, refreshing Menebrea craft beer.
MozzaBella is located at Via del Pratello, 65, 40122 Bologna BO, Italy.
If the question is where to find cheap eats in Bologna, then PizzArtist is the answer so long as you like Roman-style pizza served al taglio style. The design is casual with just a few chairs scattered around the sidewalk, but the solid pizza is so well priced that three of us enjoyed lunch for under €10 including three bottles of sparkling water.
PizzArtist is located at Via Marsala, 35/A, 40126 Bologna BO, Italy.
Pizzeria da Totò
We once met a Romanian couple who didn’t like Italian pizza since, in their opinion, it doesn’t have enough toppings. That couple would like the Bolognese pizza at Pizzeria da Totò, a sprawling Bologna pizzeria with a menu that has a lot of topping options. Though not the best pizza we’ve eaten in Italy or even Bologna, Pizzeria da Totò is a solid choice if you’re looking for a cheap, filling meal outside of the city center.
Pizzeria da Totò is located at Via S. Rocco, 7, 40122 Bologna BO, Italy.
Although Ca’ Peletti has a full menu featuring pasta and desserts, we like the Centro Historico’s cafe’s Mortadella Panini for a quick snack or light lunch. In our opinion, there’s no better place to eat Mortadella, Bologna’s signature pork product dating back to the 17th century, than in the city of Bologna.
Ca’ Peletti is located at Via Altabella, 15 C/D, 40125 Bologna BO, Italy.
Aperitivo Bars / Salumerias / Drinks
The streets of Bologna come alive when the day turns to night as that’s when locals stream to cafes and bars to share aperitivo with their friends and loved ones. An aperitivo is technically a pre-dinner drink, but, in Bologna, the aperitvo is a social activity that involves food and drinks. What can be better than that?!
Typical Bologna aperitivo sessions involve flowing wine and big plates topped with charcuterie and cheese. Those more in the mood for an Aperol Spritz or a Gin & Tonic flock to spots like Very Nice Cocktail Bar, Pastis and Virus Shop.
Locals and tourists can expect to find excellent drink and snacks throughout the city. Note – buffet spreads are not the norm in Bologna as opposed to other Italian cities.
The corner of Via Drapperie and Via Pescherie is the epicenter of the Bologna aperitivo scene, and that’s where you’ll find Salumeria Simoni, a Bologna fixture since 1960. Aperitivo fans fill the shop and spill on the sidewalks every day where they enjoy plates with Emilia Romagna products like Mortadella (i.e. Italian bologna or baloney), Cicioli, Culatello, Ham and the king of cheese – Parmigiano Reggiano along with other local favorites.
Salumeria Simoni is located at Via Drapperie, 5/2a, 40100 Bologna BO, Italy.
Located around the corner from Simoni in Bologna’s Quadrilatero, Tamburini is another classic aperitivo spot where locals meet friends for drinks and a pre-dinner meal. Tourists also flock to Tamburini to try the scintillating variety of Emilia Romagna meats and cheeses that the shop has been selling since 1932.
If you order correctly, it is possible to get all the best things to eat in Bologna on one plate at Tamburini. How cool is that?
Tamburini is located at via 40124, Via Caprarie, 1, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy.
When we initially encountered Italian craft beer on our first trip to Bologna in 2010, the concept left us dumbfounded. Why and how, in a continent with such strong culinary traditions, would American style craft beer, with its untraditional labels, flavors and conventions, become so popular? And why would anybody skip the chance to drink Italian wine at the source?
Since that time, craft brewers like Piemonte’s Baladin have become a major brewing force in the boot and an assortment of Emilia-Romagna brewers like Birra Amarcord in Rimini province and Ca’ del Brado in nearby Rastignano have raised the bar (pun intended) when it comes to Bologna’s emerging craft beer scene. With all this in mind, we wandered over to Il Punto to meet a friend for pre-dinner beers during our latest visit to Bologna.
Opting to share two beer flights allowed us to try all eight beers featured on bar’s rotating tap. Priced at €6 at the time of our visit, these flights are an incredible value not to mention a fun way to start a night out in Bologna. Though the Triplus Mora from Marche craft brewer Birrificio dei Castelli was our favorite beer of the night, there were no bad pours from the sour beer to the smoked rauchbier.
We also enjoyed tasting the house-cured salumi so much that we later regretted not ordering a fassona hamburger or piadina to go with our beers. Oh well, there’s always next time.
Il Punto is located at Via S. Rocco, 1, 40122 Bologna BO, Italy.
L’Arco degli Albari
** Important Update: L’Arco degli Albari has permanently closed. **
The Aperol Spritz is quite the rage in Europe these days, and Bologna may be at the forefront of the craze. We drank quite a few spritzes in La Grassa (The Fat One) but none were better than the ones we drank at L’Arco degli Albari in a quiet alley just off Piazza Maggiore.
After the server shared the special off-menu Aperol Spritz options, we chose the ones made with local sparkling wine. We liked them so much that we ordered seconds. The bar also offers a curated wine selection.
L’Arco degli Albari was located at Via Degli Albari, 2/a, 40126 Bologna BO, Italy. It is now permanently closed.
La Bottega di via Montegrappa
La Bottega di via Montegrappa is a great spot for enjoying aperitivo away from the Quadrilatero’s maddening crowds. Don’t get us wrong, we like the action but sometimes we prefer a chill atmosphere to end the day with good friends, good wine and good food.
This family-run Bologna enoteca serves plates piled high with local meat and cheese (see photo above) as well as a range of tempting pasta dishes. Choosing wine can be a challenge since the selection runs the gamut from inexpensive local glasses to special occasions bottles; however, the friendly staff is more than willing to offer helpful suggestions upon request.
La Bottega di via Montegrappa is located at Via Monte Grappa, 13, 40121 Bologna BO, Italy.
Considering the pervasive prevalence of pasta in Bologna, you might think that desserts are not a big deal in the northern Italian city, but you would be wrong. It is the fat city after all!
Bologna desserts include Zuppa Inglese, inspired by the English trifle and similar to tiramisu, as well as traditional cookies like Raviole and Pinza. The Torta di Riso (rice cake) is another popular Bologna dessert, but none of these compare to Bologna’s greatest sweet treat – gelato.
We could have eaten a cone of gelato every day in Bologna … so we did just that. We alternated our visits to the best gelaterias in the world including Cremeria Santo Stefano, Galliera 49, Stefino, Cremeria Funivia, Gelatauro and Sorbetteria Castiglione.
** Check out our comprehensive Bologna Gelato Guide featuring all of these top Bologna gelaterias and more. **
Cremeria Santo Stephano is located at Via Santo Stefano, 70, 40125 Bologna BO, Italy.
Galliera 49 is located at Via Galliera, 49/b, 40121 Bologna BO, Italy.
Stephino is located at Via S. Vitale, 37, 40125 Bologna BO, Italy.
Cremeria Funivia is located at Via Porrettana, 158/4d, 40135 Bologna BO, Italy.
Gelatauro is located at Via San Vitale, 98/b, 40125 Bologna BO, Italy.
Sorbetteria Castiglione is located at Via Castiglione, 44 d/e, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy.
Finding a good cup of coffee in Italy can be a challenge for lovers of third wave coffee since the art of drinking coffee is unique in the country that invented the cappuccino and espresso. We drank a lot of coffee around Bologna from tony cafes on the Piazza Maggiore to trendy student cafes near the city’s prestigious university.
At the end of the day, these are our favorite spots to drink the best coffee in Bologna:
Despite Italy’s reluctance toward specialty coffee, Forno Brisa is leading the third wave coffee charge in Bologna. Open since 2015, the cafe brews modern drinks like flat whites and V60 pour overs with locally roasted beans sourced from Africa and South America.
Prices skew higher here compared to other Bologna cafes. However, the extra cost is worth it considering the quality of the coffee and internet availability.
More than just coffee, Forno Brisa reigns as a premiere Bologna bakery with a wide selection of bread, pastry and pizza. The cafe also sells artisan products like jams that can be eaten with toast or purchased to enjoy later
Talented baker Ilaria Prosperi fills the cafe’s counters with a variety of local favorites like cornettos and pinza con mostarda as well as top-notch Teglia alla Romana pizzas. Not your grandmother’s pizza, these square pies are creatively adorned with toppings like ragu, cured meat and creamy squacquerone cheese.
In a city known for strong, unyielding customs, Forno Brisa is a shining example of Bologna’s willingness to accept new ideas, like specialty coffee techniques, and integrate these ideas into the city’s long-standing culinary traditions. Be sure to stop by this cafe when you visit Bologna.
Forno Brisa has multiple locations in Bologna. We were repeat visitors at the location at Via Galleria, 34D, 40121 Bologna BO, Italy.
At first glance, Caffè Terzi looks like a typical Italian cafe with its long bar filled with locals quickly drinking shots of espresso. However, this popular cafe near the city center takes its coffee to the next level by offering a global selection of beans. Trained baristas carefully prepare the drinks, shaving orange peel into some and coffee flakes into others.
Caffè Terzi is located at Via Guglielmo Oberdan, 10/d, 40126 Bologna BO, Italy.
Award-winning Aroma serves single origin specialty coffee drinks like Cappuccino Melange with vanilla or cinnamon, Caffé allo Zabione with artisan eggnog and cocoa powder and Caffe Diordilatte with artisan pannacotta. If you want a more simple coffee, the baristas at Aroma also serve coffees brewed with alternative extraction methods such as French Press, V60 and Aeropress.
Aroma is located at Via Porta Nova, 12/b, 40123 Bologna BO, Italy.
Taking the Bologna coffee scene to the 21st century, Pappare serves coffee with a side of internet, not a given in Bologna. We loved the modern cafe’s airy space and dessert selection but appreciated the coffee and free WI-FI even more. In addition to coffee, Pappare serves a selection of cafe fare including options for Vegetarians and Vegans.
Pappare is located at Via De’ Giudei, 2, 40126 Bologna BO, Italy.
Bologna Food Experiences
Eating in Bologna is the best way to experience the city, with many different food experiences available to visitors. The most obvious choice is to take a pasta class at Le Sfoglione (see above) or with a Bologna local like Davide Labanti.
Watch our video to see us learn how to make tortellini in Bologna.
Another fun food experience is to take a Bologna food tour so you can taste a selection of Bologna food favorites. For the adventurous food traveler, we recommend a Vespa tour of the Bologna hills with Travelhoo.
Time permitted, plan to spend a day in nearby Modena for the ultimate Emilia Romagna food experiences of tasting Parmigiano Reggiano, Balsamic Vinegar and Prosciutto di Modena at artisan factories where they are produced. You can then take a self-guided Master of None tour in the city. If you haven’t watched the first two seasons of the Aziz Ansari show – watch them now.
As is the case in much of Europe, markets in Bologna are a great place to buy produce and connect with locals. Farmers bring their wares to Bologna from nearby towns, resulting in a vast selection of local, seasonal products at reasonable costs.
Mercato Delle Erbe
Although Mercato delle Erbe is historically a vegetable market, vendors at the largest market in Bologna also sell fruit, meat, wine and prepared foods. Part of the market is now a food court with tables where visitors can enjoy a quick lunch or longer aperitivo.
Though tourists are welcome at this covered market, most of the market’s shoppers are locals buying supplies for their next meal. If you’re wondering what to eat in Bologna Italy, you will surely find something good at this Bologna market.
Mercato delle Erbe is located Via Ugo Bassi, 25, 40121 Bologna BO, Italy.
Though it’s the biggest Bologna food market, Mercato delle Erbe is not the only game in town. Other recommended markets include Mercato di Mezzo near Piazza Maggiore and Mercato della Terra operated by denizens of the Italian Slow Food movement.
Mercato di Mezzo is located at Via Clavature, 12, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy.
Mercato della Terra is located at Via Azzo Gardino, 65, 40122 Bologna BO, Italy.
As a transportation hub, Bologna makes a great base for exploring Emilia Romagna and its many food experiences. Here are a few that you shouldn’t miss.
Even if you don’t stay at an agriturismo, you can eat a meal at one like we did at DonnaLivia. In addition to serving meals made with locally produced products, DonnaLivia also offers tastings of the olive oil and wine that it produces on the premises.
Agriturismo DonnaLivia is located at Via Cavina 26-28, 48013 Brisighella RA, Italy.
We stopped at Fienile Fluò during our Vespa tour of the Bologna Hills. This agriturismo offers wonderful local products plus wine produced at the onsite vineyard. However, the best part of eating at Fienile Fluò is its epic view.
Fienile Fluò is located at Via di Paderno, 9, 40136 Bologna BO, Italy.
Modena’s most famous restaurant, Osteria Francescana, tops the world’s most important restaurant lists and sports three Michelin stars. However, it’s not feasible for most tourists to eat every meal there, if even one.
Luckily, the city has affordable restaurants that offer better reservation availability. During our day trip to Modena, we enjoyed dinner at Trattoria Pomposa where Chef Luca Marchini serves traditional Emilia Romagna dishes including house-made pasta.
Trattoria Pomposa is located at V. Castel Maraldo, 57, 41121 Modena MO, Italy.
Osteria de Borg
Osteria de Borg may be located in the old fishing village of San Giuliano in Rimini, but the restaurant serves more than just fish. Popular dishes include piadina, homemade pasta, meatballs and wood-fired pizza. As a bonus, the outdoor terrace is a lovely spot to enjoy a fine meal and a bottle of local red wine with friends.
Osteria de Borg is located at Via Forzieri, 12, 47921 Rimini RN, Italy.
Emilia Romagna has its share of Michelin starred restaurants including Ristorante Righi in San Marino. Plan to stay overnight and spend a leisurely night enjoying Chef Luigi Sartini’s creative menu. As a bonus, you’ll get to enjoy the sunset and sunrise in San Marino, two magical experiences.
Ristorante Righi is located at Piazza della Libertà, 10, 47890 City of San Marino, San Marino.
Hungry for more? Check out our Bologna Gelato Guide with the scoop on the best spots to eat gelato in Bologna.
Research Bologna Hotels
Click here to research rates for hotels in Bologna. The city doesn’t have a ton of hotels, so you’ll want to plan your Bologna accommodations in advance.
Book a Tour
There’s more to do in Bologna beyond eating great food! Click here to find an awesome Bologna tour or try one of these tours:
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We thank Emilia Romagna Tourism for hosting us during our participation in their Blogville project in collaboration with iAmbassodor. We also pthank Valentina Cavalli from Bologna Welcome for her restaurant recommendations and for setting up our pasta making demo at Le Sfoglione. Finally, we thank Halldis for hosting us for a few nights and for facilitating our pasta making class.
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