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Parma Food Guide – The Best Parma Restaurants

Wondering what and where to eat in Parma Italy? We visited the gastronomic Emilia-Romagna city three times in a culinary quest to create this comprehensive Parma Food Guide. Read on to discover our picks for the best Parma restaurants, cafes and bars.

Tortellini with Porcini Mushrooms at Trattoria Ai Due Platani in Parma

Important Update
Some businesses may revise their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Others may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information and make advance reservations where possible.

When most people think about the best Italian food, the word simplicity immediately pops into mind.

Much of Italy’s best cuisine starts with expertly cooked food, usually pasta, well dressed with a simple elementally constructed sauce made from the finest ingredients. The flavors are clean, clear and true.

Emilia-Romagna food is a blend of rich and poor, rustic and elegant. For every rustic ragu, there are sophisticated sauces with complex flavors and delicate textures. For each seemingly simple plate of Tagliatelle, there’s also exquisite paper-thin Tortelli stuffed with a refined, regal filling of herbs and ricotta.

Raw Pasta at Trattoria Ai Due Platani near Parma
Fresh pasta is a Parma specialty. These stuffed Tortelli and ribbons of Tagliatelle await their final swim in boiling water at Trattoria Ai Due Platani just outside the city of Parma in the town of Coloreto.

This phenomenon is especially true in the great Emilian Province of Parma. Much of what we associate with Italian high culture originates on the farm-strewn plains that line the Po Valley. Although Parma restaurants serve familiar Italian classics, the food in Parma is so much more.

Parma is a city where chefs have access to the Food Valley’s very best products. These chefs don’t just slap food on a plate and add tomato sauce. Instead, they create luxurious dishes that taste like an opera aria and pair excellently with Lambrusco, the region’s ink-red sparkling wine.

White Polenta Pudding at Angiol dOr in Parma
We ate this luxurious white polenta pudding at Angiol d’Or in Parma. The elegant appetizer included roasted beets and a tangy gorgonzola sauce.

Sadly, fast travelers miss out on the best food in Parma as they breeze through the yellow-hued city en route to more popular boot destinations like Milan, Verona, Venice and even cities growing in popularity like Bologna. But, in our opinion, if you miss Parma, you’re missing out on a destination that defines Italian high culture.

Notable artists like the renaissance painter Correggio, the early 20th-century maestro Arturo Toscanni and the opera composing giant Giuseppe Verdi left their creative marks on the historic city, establishing an artistic legacy that thrives to this day. But artists aren’t the only people to leave their mark on Parma.

Parma Cathedral Interior
A Capital of Culture in 2020, Parma is a mecca for lovers of art, history and gastronomy. The city’s cathedral is especially notable for its grand art.

In the 19th century, French/Austrian monarch Maria Luigia left her regal stamp on the city. Not only did she bring her love of violets to Parma, but she contributed the legendary, world-class Teatro Regio opera house and inspired delectable pastries that remain popular to this day.

Pro Tip
Visitors can experience Parma culture at venues like the Cathedral of Parma where Correggio painted the magnificent Assumption of the Virgin and at Teatro Regio, the epicenter of the annual Verdi Festival. The city’s art is so impressive that the city was named the Italian Capital of Culture for 2020

What to Eat in Parma

Cured Meat at Oste Magno Parma in Parma
Most Parma meals start with cured meats like Culatello and Proscuitto. We ate this meaty melange at Oste Magno.

With a food culture so rich that the entire city has been named a UNESCO site for its gastronomy, Parma is a food lover’s paradise. But, when you think about it, this honor was almost inevitable.

Parma is the capital of the Province of Parma, a region that produces many of Italy’s best food products like Parmigiano Reggiano, the undisputed king of cheeses, and cured meats like Prosciutto and Culatello. When most people think about some of the best food in Italy, they’re actually thinking about the best food in Parma.

Lambrusco at Oste Magno in Parma
Drink Lambrusco out of a bowl like a local in Parma. It’s fun.

Then there’s Lambrusco. We could drink the province’s addictive red sparkling wine at every meal except breakfast. Okay, we’d drink Lambrusco at breakfast if properly persuaded. After all, it’s just a couple of shades removed from Venice‘s Bellini.

And Pasta. Although Barilla has its headquarters in Parma, locals eat freshly made Anolini, Tortelli and Tagliatelle both at home and at local Parma restaurants. During our visits, we ate multiple versions of these local favorites including beefy Anolini in Brodo and comforting, pumpkin-filled Tortelli.

We never got bored of the food in Parma. Not even once.

Pro Tip
Take a food tour to familiarize yourself with Parma food favorites soon after your arrival. We recommend booking a Parma Food Tour with our excellent Parma tour guide – Alice Rossi. She’ll introduce you to the local specialties and may even take you to a few of the spots highlighted in this guide.

Parma Food Guide

Anolini in Brodo at Angiol dOr in Parma
Most Parma restaurants serve Anolini in Brodo. The meat-filled pasta pockets, pictured here floating in a special broth of chicken and beef, are a comforting Parmigiano food staple.

Our first visit to Parma was just enough time to whet our appetite for the city’s vast culinary delights. We returned twice more and immersed ourselves into the Parma food scene, enjoying everything from morning pastries to late-night drinks. The result is this comprehensive Parma Food Guide

Creating this Parma guide was both exhausting and exhilarating. Not only did we eat extremely well, but we also fell for the city’s many charms. Without a doubt, we’ll return to Parma sooner than later to update this guide and sate our hungry souls.

Top Parma Restaurants

Lamb Chops at Trattoria Ai Due Platani near Parma
Top Parma restaurants serve the best local products. We ate these unctuous lamb chops at Trattoria Ai Due Platani.

As the 18th biggest city in Italy, Parma has more than enough restaurants to feed both locals and visitors. We found great restaurants right in the center of town as well as hidden on side streets. Ironically, our favorite Parma restaurant wasn’t technically in the city of Parma but just a short distance outside the city line.

Read on to find out which Parma restaurants top our list:

Trattoria Ai Due Platani

Server at Trattoria Ai Due Platani in Parma
Mattia Serventi served us lunch with a side of panache at Trattoria Ai Due Platani.

With so many restaurants in Parma, it almost seems wrong to leave the city to eat a meal. At least that’s how we felt until we dined at Trattoria Ai Due Platani in nearby Coloreto.

Ai Due Platani is a dining destination worthy of a special journey. Transportation options include a 15-minute drive, a 90-minute walk or a 50-minute bus ride.

We chose the bus option with a 25-minute ride to Savino and a 25-minute walk. Since the final stretch is along roads without sidewalks, it’s worth taking a cab if you don’t like dodging moving vehicles.

Cured Meat at Trattoria Ai Due Platani in Parma
We started our Trattoria Ai Due Platani lunch with Mixed Antipasto (Prosciutto, Rack Loin, Salami and Cured Bacon) and Parmigiano Reggiano from Ravarano.

Trattoria Ai Due Platani is a casual restaurant with red checkerboard tablecloths and friendly service. Chef Matteo Ugolotti and his team serve up memorable renditions of Parmigiano classics with some of the best available ingredients.

In a way, it’s not what they serve at Ai Due Platani but rather the care and detail in each preparation that sets the restaurant apart.

Porcini Mushrooms at Trattoria Ai Due Platani near Parma
Trattoria Ai Due Platani sources seasonal ingredients like this heaping bucket of porcini mushrooms.

Our midday meal progressed at a leisurely pace with a series of mouth-watering, deceptively simple dishes that all possessed a hidden degree of sophistication in both texture and flavor.

After enjoying a wonderful plate of Culatello, Prosciutto and Salumi, as one does in Parma, we followed with a duo of Tortelli, half with pumpkin and the other half with ricotta and herbs.

Sticking to a seasonal theme (and after glancing at a persuading bucket of seasonal raw porcini displayed by our server), we chose tagliatelle topped with porcini instead of Ai Due Platani’s ragu. We decided to save a tasting of ragu for our next visit.

Porcini mushrooms are uncommon in America. For food lovers, eating products like Porcini mushrooms and truffles in the autumn is not a choice in Emilia-Romagna. It’s simply what you do.

Fork of Tortelli Stuffed with Pumpkin at Trattoria Ai Due Platani in Parma
Pumpkin is a popular Parma ingredient during the autumn months. We ate pumpkin in delicately crafted Tortelli during our lunch at Trattoria Ai Due Platani.

The deep, forest-like flavors of the porcini were like nothing we had tasted before. The pumpkin-stuffed Tortelli was delicate with a thin barely al dente skin yielding to a luscious, rich filling. This was the work of a master sfoglina (pasta maker).

Opting to share a main course, we reluctantly skipped Vitello Tonnato, i.e. veal topped with tuna sauce, and ginormous grilled steaks. Instead, we gleefully enjoyed lamb chops, expertly cooked rare, sourced from the Tuscan town of Maremma and served with carrot purée and purple potatoes.

Gelato Cart at Trattoria Ai Due Platani near Parma
Do not adjust your screen. This gelato mountain is as big as it looks. It’s also one of the best desserts we’ve eaten all year.

Finishing the meal with a bang, server Mattia Serventi wheeled a trolley topped with a mountain of freshly-made, sunbright yellow zabaglione gelato and a half-dozen toppings including molten chocolate, chocolate pearls, candied hazelnuts, Borsci liqueur and Cointreau. He then proceeded to prepare table-side sundaes for our decadent dining pleasure.

Note to all restaurateurs reading this guide: This was the coolest dessert service ever!!!

We’d be remiss not to mention the restaurant’s private-label Lambrusco that seduced our noses with its subtle fragrance of lavender. The deep red, sparkling Emilian wine, one of the best we’ve ever drunk, was a ridiculous value at just €5.50 for a half bottle.

Meals like this one are the primary reason we travel and a relative bargain at 79 € for two. Needless to say, there’s no question if we’ll dine at Trattoria Ai Due Platani on our inevitable return to Parma. The correct question to ask is what we’ll order.

Pro Tip
Call weeks if not months in advnace to make a dinner reservation at Trattoria Ai due Platani. Lunch reservations are easier to score but must also be made in advance.

Trattoria Ai Due Platani is located at Strada Budellungo, 104 / a, 43123 Coloreto PR, Italy.

Ristorante Cocchi

Female Chef at Ristorante Cocchi in Parma
Roberta sliced braised meat tableside during our lunch at Ristorante Cocchi. More bolito please!!

Ristorante Cocchi is a classic Parma restaurant.

Paride Cocchi opened the self-named establishment in 1925. His son (Corrado) and grandson (Daniele) have continued the restaurant’s tradition serving classic Parmigiano specialties for the past 50 years at the restaurant’s Oltretorrente location. The restaurant moved three blocks from its original spot in 1970.

Located in the Hotel Daniel on the ‘other’ side of the Parma River, the restaurant reveals a sense of playful, functional, eighties-esque formality in a dining room lined with a gold-framed art and modern recessed bookshelves. This is a room where businessmen and women enjoy power lunches while eating copious amounts of pasta and meat between negotiations.

Salami at Ristorante Cocchi in Parma
Most meals at Ristorante Cocchi start with locally sourced Strolghino – a specialty of the region.

As for us, we went to Ristorante Cocchi for the food. The wait staff welcomed us warmly despite our casual attire and lack of Italian skills, handling our questions seamlessly as they guided us through the menu that’s become a Parma classic.

The restaurant offers plenty of cured meat starter options, nine at our count. We say order to your taste when choosing between classic Proscuitto, Culatello or Strolghino, a classic Parma salumi produced using ground culatello meat. We also recommend accompanying your salumi with a chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano and a serving of Gnoccho Frito – classic, pillowy Emilian fried bread available at most restaurants in Parma.

Tortelli with Fresh Porcini Mushrooms Ristorante Cocchi in Parma
Never say no to fresh porcini mushrooms in Parma. We ate these Funghi with Tortelli at Ristorante Cocchi.

After eating locally sourced salumi and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, we enjoyed stuffed pasta nuggets of Anolini which arrived swimming in a savory, meaty brodo – a finesseful, warming combination of beef and chicken broth that warmed us from the seasonal chill. Tortelli with porcini mushrooms was equally seasonal, enhanced by generous Parmigiano Reggiano shavings.

Keeping to the seasonal theme, we shared a meat-alicious plate of Bollito Misto for our main course. With this dish, we finally experienced the fun tableside service we missed while eating bolito in Verona, reveling in a plate of hand-carved roasted meats including Cotechino, beef and pork as well as creamy mashed potatoes, verdant salsa verde and golden orange, spicy mostarda.

Bollito Misto at Ristorante Cocchi in Parma
Bollito Misto at Ristorante Cocchi isn’t for dainty diners. Meat and potato lovers, however, will be in beefy, porky heaven.

Bollito Misto isn’t available in the warmer months. In other words, make sure you dine at Ristorante Cocchi between October and April to experience this highlight of Parma cuisine.

Pro Tip
Leave your vegetarian friends at home. Ristorante Cocchi is un unabashedly meat-forward restaurant.

Ristorante Cocchi is located at Viale Antonio Gramsci, 16 / A, 43126 Parma PR, Italy.

Angiol d’Or

Angiol dOr in Parma
The contemporary dining room at Agiol d’Oro is just steps from Parma’s historic cathedral.

Proving that diners can eat well in the heart of Parma, Angiol d’Or doesn’t disappoint at its central location just next to the epic, historical Parma Cathedral. Angiol d’Or’s upscale space has a contemporary atmosphere, sweeping glass windows and exposed brick. Service is friendly and efficient, and the food is wonderful.

Veal with Olive Sauce at Angiol dOr in Parma
Chefs artfully plate food at Angiol d’Or is art. They topped this veal with salsa verde and a special Taggiasche Sauce with chopped olives.

When you dine at Angiol d’Or, expect a menu filled with Parma food favorites including Culatello, Parmigiano Reggiano and Pasta. Although the restaurant features a signature beef tenderloin ‘Rosa di Parma’ stuffed with Parma Ham and Parmigiano cheese, Vegetarians and Pescatarans will find plenty of options with a menu filled with meatless pastas and fish dishes.

During our meal, we indulged in an excellent bowl of Anolini in Brodo as well as Veal served in a wine reduction and topped with a special Taggiasche (chopped olives) sauce and salsa verde. However, creamy White Polenta Pudding appetizer served with red beet cubes, tangy gorgonzola fondue and sage leaves was the star of the night.

Pro Tip
Try to save room for dessert. Angiol d’Or serves a range of sophisticated sweets and tempting liqueurs.

Angiol d’Or is located at Via Scutellari, 1, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Additional Parma Restaurants

Cured Meat at Ristorante La Greppia in Parma
Most Parma meals start with cured meat and/or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. We ate this salumi platter at Ristorante La Greppia.

Thanks to Parma’s prime location in Emilia-Romagna’s Food Valley, Parma chefs have access to some of the best Italian food products in the country. It would almost be wrong for travelers not to take advantage of this situation at every meal, both before and after touring local attractions.

We recommend the following restaurants serving solid food in Parma:

Ristorante La Greppia

Green Tagliolini with Culatello at Ristorante La Greppia in Parma
Crispy Culatello adds texture and punch to green Tagliolini at Ristorante La Greppia.

Open for decades, La Greppia’s menu digs deep into the past inspired by century-old recipes enjoyed by Napoleon’s wife Maria Luigia. This tradition lives on with new Chef Filippo Diego at the restaurant’s helm.

More traditional than chic, La Greppia’s dining room has several comfortable tables where diners can eat local classics for lunch or dinner. Diego and his team proudly cook in a kitchen behind the dining room’s back glass window.

Veal Breast at Ristorante La Greppia in Parma
Porcini mushrooms make everything taste better. We ate these porcini’s with pork chops at Ristorante La Greppia.

Purists can start their meals with plates of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese aged for 12, 24 and 36 months as well as plates topped with Parma Ham, Culatello, Coppa and Salumi. More adventurous diners can instead opt for the likes of Artichokes in Mornay sauce or Veal Tongue with Chestnuts and Black Truffle.

La Greppeia’s primi menu follows the Parma playbook with dishes featuring Tortelli, Anolini and Tagliatelle. We opted for the restaurant’s creative combination of thin green Taglione and crispy Culatello and then a secondi of Pork Chops with seasonal Porcini Mushrooms and black garlic.

Pro Tip
Don’t skip wine during your meal at Ristorante La Greppia. The restaurant has an extensive wine list.

Ristorante La Greppia is located at Strada G. Garibaldi, 39, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Osteria dello Zingaro

Insalatona Zingaro at Osteria Dello Zingaro in Parma
Osteria Dello Zingaro’s menu features several salad options for those wanting a break from pasta. Thie Insalatona Zingaro salad features fresh vegetables and Cavallo (horse) tartare.

Popular with locals, Osteria dello Zingaro is a cheerfully decorated Parma restaurant situated near the city’s cathedral. The casual eatery features typical Emilia-Romagna food like Tortelli stuffed with pumpkin or spinach as well as meats like Culatello, Prosciutto, Culaccia and Spala Cotta sliced to order.

During our dinner at Osteria dello Zingaro, we skipped the traditional fare and instead ordered Cavallo (i.e. horse meat), a house specialty. Daryl ate Roast Beef di Cavallo with roasted tomatoes, while Mindi enjoyed Insalatona Zingaro salad topped with artichokes, boiled potato, tomatoes and Cavallo tartare.

Roast Horse Meat at Osteria Dello Zingaro in Parma
Roast Cavallo (horse) is a local specialty at Osteria dello Zingaro. The lean meat practically trotted from the plate to Daryl’s mouth.

The restaurant won’t judge you if you choose to order Tortelli di Erbette instead of Cavallo. However, truly adventurous food travelers will revel at the opportunity to sample this local delicacy not available back home.

Pro Tip
Don’t plan to spend a fortune at Osteria dello Zingaro. Our dinner for two cost us 35 € and included a bottle of water and a carafe of wine.

Osteria dello Zingaro is located at Borgo del Correggio, 5 / B, 43100 Parma PR, Italy.

Il Trovatore Ristorante

Lasagna at Il Trovatore in Parma
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano enhanced this hunk of meaty lasagne at Il Trovatore.

Open since 1998, Il Trovatore Ristorante honors Parma’s culture with a name that pays homage to wandering minstrels. Should you wander into Il Trovatore for a meal during your time in Parma, expect a traditional menu filled with ample selections of seafood and meat. Vegetarians will find dishes to order as well.

While dining at Il Trovatore with a large group, we enjoyed a hearty lunch served with sparkling Lambrusco wine. Meal highlights were saucy lasagna slabs and creamy tiramisu.

Pro Tip
Weather permitting, request to sit on the restaurant’s outside terrace.

Il Trovatore is located at Via Ireneo Affò, 2 / A, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Parma Pizza

Pizzaiola at Oven in Parma
Don’t worry about the quality of pizza in Parma. Local pizzaiolos craft pizza using traditional methods and local ingredients.

Italy is famous for pizza in cities like Naples and Rome. However, savvy food travelers can also find great pies in Italian cities like Verona, Modena and… Parma.

As certifiable pizza fanatics, we always look for the best pizza in every city during our travels. Read on to find our pick for the best pizza in Parma.

Oven

La Crudaiola Pizza at Oven in Parma
This La Crudaiola Pizza came topped with Prosciutto Crudo di Parma, Stracciatella, Piennolo Cherry Tomatoes, Olive Oil and Fresh Basil.

With meter-long utensils on one wall and moss on another, Oven isn’t your typical Parma pizzeria. The Oltretorrente joint is a relatively quick walk from the center of Parma and serves some of the best Neapolitan pies we’ve tasted in Northern Italy.

During our meal at Oven, we ate two excellent pies topped with terrific local ingredients from Parma along with ingredients from Campania in the South of Italy. Our Crudaiola pizza dazzled with Prosciutto and stringy Stracciatella cheese along with Campanian Red Piennolo Tomatoes, Olive Oil and Fresh Basil. Our second pie, the Napoli 2.0, evoked memories of our time in Naples with its supple crust, funky anchovies and bright yellow piennolo tomatoes.

Napoli 2.0 Pizza at Oven in Parma
Channeling its inspiration, the colorful Napoli 2.0 pie features artisan fior di latte from Compagna, yellow piennolo tomatoes, anchovies, black olives, wild oregano, basil and extra virgin olive oil.

In addition to its excellent pies, Oven serves craft cocktails like the popular Rosemary Tonic made with premium gin, tonic, rosemary and pink grapefruit. Beer fans won’t be disappointed by the tiny pizzeria’s craft beer selection including our choice, Greendew Saison beer brewed in nearby Fontevivo.

Pro Tip
You can make an online reservation on Oven’s website.

Oven is located at Strada Nino Bixio, 52 / A, 43125 Parma PR, Italy.

Parma Cheap Eats

Eating Pesto di Cavallo Crudo at Pepen in Parma
We’re eating Pepèn’s signature Pesto di Cavallo Crudo. In other words, we’re eating minced raw horse topped with homemade mayonnaise. This dish may be the most exotic cheap eats in Parma.

Parma has excellent options if you’re looking for an inexpensive meal. We recommend the following spots for quick, cheap eats in Parma:

Pepèn

Pepen in Parma
It pays to get to Pepèn early. The tiny panini shop fills with customers five days a week.

Pepèn serves paninis (i.e. sandwiches) to a standing-room crowd of local customers hungry for cheap, satisfying food. Far from a new kid on the block, Pepèn has been a Parma institution for three generations

Ordering at Pepèn for the first time can be a challenge due to the number of tempting ingredients like Proscuitto Cotto, Coppa, Salame di Felino and Speck. Don’t be deterred. The quality and value of the Pesto di Cavallo Crudo (horse tartare) and Carciofa we ate during our visit were worth any momentary stress we may have experienced.

Carciofa at Pepen in Parma
Don’t miss the Carciofa at Pepèn. The vegetarian pie is stuffed with briny artichoke hearts, Parmigiano Reggiano, Ricotta and Spinach.

Not for fans of My Little Pony or Black Beauty, our Pesto di Cavallo Crudo came with raw minced horse meat, lemon, oil and homemade mayonnaise. This wasn’t the first time we’d eaten horse meat during our travels, and we adored the combination of flavors in this version.

Pepèn’s Carciofa is more accessible to non-horse eaters. The panini proprietor fills the double-crusted savory pie with artichoke hearts, Parmigiano Reggiano, ricotta and spinach. As a bonus, Carciofa makes a wonderful breakfast or late afternoon snack.

Pro Tip
Avoid crowds by eating at Pepèn before the inevitable lunch and dinner crush.

Pepèn is located at Borgo, Vicolo Sant’Ambrogio, 2, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Cantina della Salute

Cotechino at Cantina della Salute in Parma
Donato Ugolotti serves cotechino at Cantina della Salute in Parma.

Cantina della Salute is the kind of place we seek out when we travel. Merry di Venere and Donato Ugolotti (the eatery’s mother/son owners) greeted us warmly and plied us with samples during our visit. They clearly knew the way to our hearts.

Reopened in 2018 after a 28-year hiatus, family-run Cantina della Salute serves a range of local lunch items like pasta, soup and paninis. However, Cotechino is the thing to order at this casual Parma eatery.

Cotechino on Bread at Cantina della Salute in Parma
Be sure to add housemade mostarda to your Cotechino when you eat a sandwich at Cantina della Salute in Parma.

For those unfamiliar with this Emilia-Romagna food favorite, Cotechino is a large, rustic slow-cooked, pate-like pork sausage that locals often eat with lentils, potatoes or on a sandwich. On the day of our visit, Cantina della Salute served Cotechino on sandwiches as well as in fried cutlets.

Ugolotti and Di Venere pair their food with homemade sauces based on ‘nonna’s recipes’ and offer orange bread with Sicilian oranges for dessert. As if that’s not enough, prices are low enough that it’s possible for a diner to eat well and keep the bill under 10 €.

Pro Tip
Order a glass (or two) of Lambrusco to go with your Cotechino sandwich. The local red sparkling wine pairs well and is fun to drink.

Cantina della Salute is located at Via Goffredo Mameli, 4B, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Parma Gelato

Eating Gelato at Ciacco Lab Parma in Parma
Gelato lovers like us will not be disappointed in Parma.

For many travelers, eating gelato in Italy is the highlight of any trip to the boot. Let’s face it, the best gelato in Italy is the best gelato in the world.

Parma has a slew of gelaterias serving frozen treats to both locals and visitors. Many ice cream fans flock to Cremeria Gioelia (formerly known as Emilia Cremeria). Though this chain’s gelato is certainly spoon-worthy, we recommend the following local Parma gelaterias:

Ciacco Lab

Gelato at Ciacco Lab Parma in Parma
Crowds go crazy for Ciacco Lab’s award-winning gelato. We enjoyed these two scoops during our time in Parma.

Awarded ‘three cones’ by Gambero Rosso, Ciacco Lab creates a colorful array of gelato flavors and sells them in a shop across the street from Teatro Regio. In other words, savvy travelers can satisfy their opera and gelato cravings in one fell swoop.

Stefano Guzzetti and his team source local, seasonal ingredients to create unique concoctions like Quasi Cheesecake and Miracle Cream. Purists can enjoy familiar varieties like Stracciatella and Pistachio.

Pro Tip
Don’t feel let out if you’re intolerant to lactose or eat a Vegan diet. Ciacco Lab serves an excellent variety of dairy-free sorbet flavors.

Ciacco Lab has two Parma locations. We visited the gelateria located at Strada G. Garibaldi, 11, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Gelateria Harnold’s

Gelato at Gelateria Harnolds in Parma
In addition to scoops of gelato, Gelateria Harnold’s serves pre-made cones dipped in chocolate like the one we devoured during our first visit.

Located in Oltretorrente away from the tourist trail, Gelateria Harnold’s isn’t on any top lists. Instead, this Parma gelateria has been serving excellent house-made ice cream to crowds of locals since 1987.

During our first visit, we encountered families with kids in football (i.e. soccer) uniforms enjoying gelato just like us. The chocolate-dipped Fior di Latte gelato cone we shared was a revelation deserving of a repeat visit.

Popsicle at Gelateria Harnolds in Parma
This dark chocolate gelato popsicle was a decadent mid-day treat during our second visit at Gelateria Harnold’s.

Not wanting to be repetitive, we shared a chocolate popsicle on our second visit. The frozen treat with chocolate gelato, chocolate coating and chocolate chips did not disappoint these two chocoholics. Our question is what should we order on our third visit?

Pro Tip
Stop by Gelateria Harnold’s for a sweet ending after a meal at Cocchi or Oven. Both restaurants are just a short walk away.

Gelateria Harnold’s is located at Viale Antonio Gramsci, 10 / c, 43126 Parma PR, Italy.

Parma Cafes

Pasticceria Torino in Parma
If you have a bike, ride it to a Parma pasticceria. Otherwise, you can walk like we did.

In Parma, pasticcerrias are magical places filled with tempting treats and traditional Italian coffee. These pastry shops serve a variety of Italian pastries including the Duchessa di Parma, a decadent, chocolate-topped cake named after one of Parma’s most famous residents. Some pasticcerias also bake Tortes Maria Luigia, a surprising sweet spinach pastry.

While we can’t be certain that Maria Luigia actually ate the pastries named in her honor, we can be certain that the following cafes are our favorites in Parma:

Pasticceria San Biagio

Cannoncino Pastries at San Biagio Pasticceria e Bar Cafe Cannoncino
Watch out Sicily! The cannocino is a worthy competitor to the cannoli.

Pasticceria San Biaggio is a tony cafe with an outdoor terrace and upstairs dining room. Opened by brothers Mauro and Guido Zambelli in the 1980s, the pasticeria is now a local favorite.

In addition to chocolates and macarons, the centrally located bakes the best cannoncino pastries we ate in Parma. These cream-filled horns are addictively sweet and perfectly crunchy. If you love cannolis, then you’ll love cannoncinios too.

Pro Tip
Stop by Pasticceria San Biaggio for a pastry in the morning and return for an Aperol Spritz before dinner.

Pasticceria San Biagio is located at Strada G. Garibaldi 41, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Pasticceria Cocconi

Duchesse e Sacher at Pasticceria Cocconi in Parma
Pasticceria Cocconi is a great Parma spot to enjoy a sweet treat.

Open since 1951, Pasticceria Cocconi is a traditional Parma pastry shop where diners can start their day with dozens of pastries and coffee. During our visit, we kicked off a day of touring with three tiny treats – Duchessina, Ossa Dei Morti and Cannoncino – that we chose from the counter display. We also drank cappuccinos as one does in Italy.

Pro Tip
Stop by Pasticceria Cocconi for an afternoon pick-me-up tea or hot chocolate.

Pasticceria Cocconi is located at Strada Della Repubblica, 22, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Pasticceria Torino

Pastries at Pasticceria Torino in Parma
We shared these two small pastries at Pasticceria Torino. Both were divine.

Don’t plan to linger at Pasticceria Torino. This is a spot to enjoy a pastry and espresso break while walking to the Parma train station. At least that’s what we did.

This pastry shop sells Parma treats like the Cannoncino as well as treats like the Gianduiotti, a pastry more commonly found in the pasticceria’s Turin inspiration. Beyond pastries, Pasticceria Torino sells a variety of gourmet chocolates including violet chocolates similar to the ones sold at Violetta Di Parma Borsari Negozio Storico (see below).

Pro Tip
Celebrate the Verdi Festival at Pasticceria Torino by ordering a chocolate bust modeled after the famed composer.

Pasticceria Torino is located at Strada G. Garibaldi, 61, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Parma Drinks

Wine at Vineria Giramondo in Parma
Saluti! Parma is a great Italian city to drink Italian wine.

Given its Food Valley location in Emilia-Romagna, most Parma bars serve local wines like Lambrusco and Pignoletto. Parma bars also serve more far-flung wines as well as cocktails and beer.

After drinking our way around the historic city center, these are our favorite spots to imbibe in Parma:

Bread

Parma on the Rocks Cocktail and Salume Sandwich at Bread in Parma
We enjoyed this Parma on the Rocks cocktail and Salume sandwich at Bread. Note the vintage typewriter in the background.

Bread caught our eye during a walk on our first night in Parma. Once we visited, we were surprised to find out that Bread ironically doesn’t bake their own bread, choosing instead to purchase loaves from a nearby baker.

Irony aside, Bread is a great spot to enjoy pre-dinner drinks and snacks. The atmosphere is chill with music from the likes of Velvet Underground adding to the vibe.

We particularly enjoyed Bread’s refreshing Parma on the Rocks cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, sugar and Lambrusco. This drink paired particularly well with our Salumi panini. Then again, Lambrusco seems to pair well with everything in Parma.

Pro Tip
Don’t order too much food during your aperitivo session at Bread. We were served complimentary bruschetta during our early evening visit.

Bread is located at Via Nazario Sauro, 18, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Oste Magno

Oste Magno in Parma
Oste Magno is a Parma ‘cheap drinks’ destination for locals and tourists.

Oste Magno serves wine, beer and charcuterie to a cast of characters who appreciate the bar’s cheap prices and shabby chic decor. We felt right at home as we sipped white porcelain bowls filled with Lambrusco and indulged in meats including Prosciutto de Parma, Pancetta, Salumi and Spallacotta.

Pro Tip
Bring your spare change to Oste Magno. Lambrusco prices started at 1.50 € at the time of our visit.

Oste Magno is located at Borgo Angelo Mazza, 12/B, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Vineria Giramondo

Vineria Giramondo in Parma
Wine lovers find a happy place at Parma’s Vineria Giramondo.

Sophisticated wine drinkers will want to stop by Vineria Giramondo for a glass of wine and complimentary nibbles. An even better plan is to linger with a bottle plus cheese and charcuterie.

This Parma enoteca is an oasis for oenophiles looking to sample Emilia-Romagna wine produced at local wineries. Vineria Giramondo’s reach goes further into Italy and beyond for those looking to drink outside the region’s confines.

Pro Tip
Don’t be intimidated by the Vineria Giramondo’s chalkboard wine list. The owners are available to provide suggestions and guidance with their wine offerings.

Vineria Giramondo is located at Strada Luigi Carlo Farini, 38, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Parma Coffee Shops

Torrefazione Anceschi in Parma
Italian coffee is alive and well in Parma.

Parma is not a progressive city when it comes to coffee. Unlike our experiences in Italian cities like Bologna, Trento and Venice, we did not find specialty coffee in Parma.

Despite the lack of specialty coffee and, as is the case in most of Italy, Parmigiano baristas know how to pull a good espresso shot. During our stays in Parma, we drank the best coffee at the following two Parma coffee shops:

Torrefazione Anceschi

Coffee at Torrefazione Anceschi in Parma
Torrefazione Anceschi has been roasting beans in Parma for over 50 years. Travelers can order a coffee or three when they visit the local institution.

Roasting coffee beans in Parma for a half-century, Torrefazione Aneschi is the city’s oldest coffee shop and a fine spot to stop for a coffee break. Expect to practice the fine art of drinking Italian coffee among locals and order a cornetto if you’re hungry.

Pro Tip
Buy a bag of freshly roasted beans to brew at your Airbnb apartment.

Torrefazione Aneschi is located at Strada G. Garibaldi, 46, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Lino’s Coffee

Cappuccino at Linos Coffee in Parma
You can enjoy a cappuccino at any time at Lino’s Coffee. We drank this cappuccino in the morning.

Coffee drinkers in the mood for something different can order a Coffee Crack – coffee liqueur covered with a layer of cream and topped with dark chocolate – at Lino’s Coffee. Everybody else can order more traditional coffee drinks in Parma where the international chain started roasting coffee beans in 1991.

Lino’s Coffee may have locations throughout Italy and as far away as Oman, but the Parma location we visited twice didn’t feel like a chain coffee shop. An efficient barista prepared our cappuccinos with care, and the cafe was filled with locals starting their days with coffee and the local newspaper.

Pro Tip
You can grab a light bite if you stop by Lino’s Coffee at lunchtime.

Lino’s Coffee has multiple locations in Parma. We drank at the cafe located at Via Nazario Sauro, 4, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Parma Specialty Shops

Fruit Market in Parma
Parma’s specialty shops sell local food products including the fruits and vegetables at this produce shop.

Some of the best meals in Parma are the ones cooked at home. The city has a slew of specialty shops that sell everything necessary to prepare an epic feast as well as items to enjoy on the go. These are two shops not to miss during your visit:

Salumeria Garibaldi

Salumeria Garibaldi in Parma
Robert Malanca proudly let us sample Parmigiano Reggianoo at Salumeria Garibaldi in Parma.

With a history dating back to the 19th century, Salumeria Garibaldi is a great spot to enjoy all of Emilia-Romagna’s best foods in one place. The current owners have owned the Parma delicatessen since the 1950s and sell locally sourced items like Culatello di Zibello, Parmigiano Reggiano, Porcini Mushrooms and Lambrusco.

In addition to selling some of the Food Valley’s best meats and cheeses, Salumeria Garibaldi prepares pasta that can be enjoyed in the shop or taken away for a later meal. The key is to buy enough since it’s difficult to stop eating the precious cargo once you start.

Pro Tip
Skip the trinket shops and buy souvenirs at Salumeria Garibaldi. Okay, you can also buy a magnet to remember your trip to Parma.

Salumeria Garibaldi is located at Strada G. Garibaldi, 42, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Violetta Di Parma Borsari Negozio Storico

Violet Chocolates at Violetta Di Parma in Parma
Violet chocolates celebrate Parma’s history. Maria Luigi was a huge fan of the fragrant purple flower.

Violets have been popular in Parma since Napoleon’s wife Maria Luigia became the Duchess of Parma in the early 19th century. Luigi’s violet obsession has permeated through the city where shoppers can now buy violet products like perfume, soap and even chocolate.

After sampling violet chocolate at Violetta di Parma Borsari Beozio Storico, we later returned to buy more to enjoy later. The handcrafted chocolates contain actual violet flowers, resulting in chocolate that’s both flavorful and aesthetically pleasing.

Pro Tip
Violet chocolates make excellent gifts for family members who aren’t able to join you in Parma.

Violetta Di Parma Borsari Negozio Storico is located at Strada Della Repubblica, 43121 Parma PR, Italy.

Further Afield

Culatello at Antica Corte Pallavicina near Parma
Culatello is a unique pork product only produced in the Province of Parma. Producers like Antica Corte Pallavincina let Culatello age in the dark before selling the final product to royalty and connoisseurs.

Although food travelers can eat well in Parma, there’s nothing like eating food at the source throughout the province. Those willing to rent a car or take a food tour can visit local producers who create DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) products including Culatello, Parmigiano Reggiano and Proscuitto.

Antica Corte Pallavicina

Pasta Lunch at Antica Corte Pallavicina near Parma
We ate these two bowls of pasta after preparing them at an Antica Corte Pallavicina cooking class.

Antica Corte Pallavincina is a worthy destination for history buffs and lovers of good food. Not only does Chef Massimo Spiragoli operate a Michelin restaurant at his family’s estate, but he also runs a more casual eatery, cooking school and Culatello museum.

Visitors can learn all about the history of Culatello, view Culatello hanging in a dark cellar and then taste Culatello over lunch. If there’s a more interactive way to experience Culatello, we have yet to find it.

Pro Tip
Plan to stay overnight at Antico Corte Pallavincina if you have the time and budget.

Antico Corte Pallavicina is located at Strada Palazzo due Torri, 3, 43016 Polesine Zibello PR, Italy.

Latteria Santo Stefano

Parmigiano Reggiano Wheels at Latteria Sociale S.Stefano near Parma
Huge Parmigiano Reggiano wheels line the shelves at Latteria Sociale S. Stefano.

Cheese lovers never forget their first time visiting a Parmigiano Reggiano dairy. The experience is nothing short of overwhelming from being in a room filled with aging wheels to the chance to taste the King of Cheese at the source.

We fulfilled our Parmigiano Reggiano goals at Latteria Santo Stefano, a typical Parmigiano Reggiano producer. Not only did we tour the facility and taste cheese aged for 12, 24 and 36 months, but we also bought a wedge to enjoy back home.

Pro Tip
Plan to spend a morning touring a Parmigiano Reggiano dairy as part of your Parma experience.

Latteria Santo Stefano is located at Via Parma, 78 / Ter, 43022 Basilicagoiano PR, Italy.

Things To Do in Parma

Parma Cathedral Exterior
Be sure to visit Piazza del Duomo when you see the sites in Parma.

Many of the best things to do in Parma involve food. Consider some of the following culinary activities to get the full Parma food experience:

Research Parma Hotels

Parma Street Scene

You can best enjoy Parma’s charms when you stay overnight. Click here to research the best rates for hotels in Parma or click here to book an Airbnb.

Hungry for More?
Check out our comprehensive food guides for Bologna, Modena, Trento, Venice and Verona.

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We thank Emilia-Romagna Tourism for assisting our efforts as part of iAmbassodor‘s BlogVille program.

About the Authors
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Affiliate Disclosures
(1) As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
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