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19 Dishes you Have to Strive

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flat lay of a blue and white bowl on a circular seagrass placemat. The bowl is full of flat tagliatelle pasta and ground beef in a red ragu sauce. A fork is lifting some of the pasta up from the bowl towards the camera. Bologna Italy Food Guide.

Relating to Bologna, the query isn’t a lot what to do there as what to EAT! So this Bologna Italy meals information ought to are available in fairly helpful for visiting town!

Together with the encompassing Emilia-Romagna area, Bologna is taken into account to be the culinary capital of Italy.

That is the house of a few of Italy’s most well-known meals, together with town’s namesake, bolognese – which locals merely name ragu, and eat with tagliatelle relatively than spaghetti.

Italian meals may be very regional: every space of the nation has its personal distinctive delicacies, influenced by its historical past, tradition, and by the sorts of components it produces. The meals in Rome may be very completely different to the meals in Bologna or Naples, for instance.

A few of the meals you may affiliate most with Italy really comes from Bologna and the Emilia Romagna area. Meals akin to balsamic di Modena, Parmigiano Reggiano, parma ham all originate from right here – to call just some!

So Bologna is the right metropolis break for foodies!

It is a metropolis the place it’s genuinely exhausting to discover a dangerous meal. The place the meals is so good you may simply make lunch final all afternoon and neglect to go sightseeing. And the place you’ll end up wishing you had extra room in your baggage for all of the meals souvenirs you’ll need to take dwelling!

Learn on for the highest meals and drinks it’s important to strive in Bologna, plus recommendations for the place to strive them…

Greatest Bologna Meals Tour

Should you actually need to uncover the Bologna meals scene, your finest guess is to take a tour with an area.

We did the 4-hour Traditional Meals tour from Style Bologna on our first morning within the metropolis. It was SUCH a great way to immerse ourselves within the native delicacies, with a number of stops at completely different markets, cafes, and eating places to find a few of the must-try dishes in Bologna.

close up of three women's hands making pasta in a shop in bologna italy - the one in the foreground is rolling a large ball of dough while the two behind are filling a large board of pasta with ground meat
Visiting a standard pasta store with Style Bologna

A meals tour is all the time my favorite approach to discover a brand new metropolis, because it provides an opportunity to see it via an area’s eyes. Not solely did we go to some locations I’d in all probability by no means have skilled in any other case – just like the historic Osteria del Sole – however our information was additionally filled with ideas for locations to eat and meals to strive all through the remainder of our go to.

I extremely advocate reserving a meals tour with Style Bologna to your journey. Ideally as near the beginning of your journey as doable, as a result of this can be a nice approach to begin exploring! Click on right here to take a look at extra critiques and examine availability.

ALTERNATIVE TOUR: You would additionally take a cooking class, just like the Palms On Dwelling Cooking Class, to study extra about native delicacies. Click on right here to examine costs and availability.

What to Eat in Bologna: High 7 Dishes

Bologna is the house of a few of the most well-known meals in Italy, together with various unimaginable pasta dishes. In fact, bolognese might be essentially the most well-known – however that’s simply the tip of the iceberg.

I’m kicking off my information to what to eat in Bologna with the highest 7 dishes it’s essential to strive if you’re within the metropolis. Then, within the subsequent part, I’ll delve into a few of the high regional meals that you just additionally have to strive!

1. Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese (NOT spaghetti bolognese)

close up of a white paper plate with thick tagliatelle topped with ground meat in a dark red sauce and yellow parmesan shavings served at a food court in bologna italy

One of the well-known dishes in Italy comes from Bologna: the meals we name “bolognese” was named after town, in any case!

However don’t search around the restaurant menus for “spaghetti bolognese”, since you gained’t discover it! The dish you’re on the lookout for is tagliatelle al ragù or ragù alla Bolognese.

Again dwelling, our model of spaghetti bolognese is often a fairly heavy, moist dish with a number of tomato sauce. That is really nothing in any respect like the normal ragù in Italy.

Ragù alla Bolognese is a thick, meat-based sauce. A mix of beef and pork are slow-cooked in white wine, milk, and a really small quantity of tomato paste. It’s very wealthy and fairly dry in comparison with the “bolognese sauce” you may need tried exterior of Italy.

Historically, ragù alla Bolognese is served with a large, flat pasta like tagliatelle – not spaghetti – and topped with loads of native parmigiano (parmesan) cheese.

The place to strive it: I get the sensation that it’s exhausting to discover a dangerous Tagliatelle al Ragù in Bologna. I believe one of the best one I had got here from Mercato di Mezzo – a coated market with a renovated meals courtroom within the Quadrilatero space.

2. Stuffed Pastas: Tortellini and Tortelloni

close up of a wooden board with lots of small filled pasta dumblings lightly dusted in flour. In the background a man's hands are shaping one of the pastas.

Alongside its namesake ragù, the opposite factor Bologna is known for is its stuffed pasta dishes – particularly tortellini and tortelloni.

Each of those stuffed pastas are comparable shapes. The principle distinction is that tortellini is smaller and extra delicate than tortelloni. These scrumptious crammed pastas are made by hand at pasta outlets all through town.

Tortellini is historically full of floor meat and parmesan cheese, and is mostly served in a broth (see under) – though it might probably additionally come served with ragù or different sauces.

close up of a white plate with large filled pastas and pieces of light brown truffle shavings
Tortelloni with truffles
close up of a white plate with small stuffed pasta dumplings in a white sauce topped with a tiny amount of ground meat in a red rag sauce and lots of grated parmesan
Tortellini Montegrappa

The bigger tortelloni is often full of a vegetarian filling – ricotta and parsley or pumpkin are the commonest – and could be served with quite a lot of sauces. It’s typically served merely with sage-infused butter, or with a creamy parmesan sauce.

The place to strive: the truffle tortelloni at Ristorante Da Cesari is a should, or head to the ultra-trendy Oltre for his or her unimaginable meat tortellini in parmesan sauce. Additionally, don’t miss the Tortellini Montegrappa, served with cream and ragù, at Ristorante da Nello.

3. Tortellini en Brodo

close up of a white bowl filled with thin brown broth and stuffed pasta shapes

Tortellini en Brodo (tortellini in broth) is likely one of the most conventional dishes in Bologna. The mini crammed pastas are boiled and served in a bowl of wealthy, meat-based broth – often topped with a little bit of parmesan.

This super-simple dish doesn’t look nice in pictures, however I can guarantee you its completely scrumptious. A must-try with regards to what to eat in Bologna.

The place to strive it: I had mine at Ristorante Da Cesari – a historic restaurant referred to as among the best locations to strive conventional meals in Bologna. It was scrumptious!

4. Balanzoni 

close up of many green coloured stuffed pasta shapes with some metal tongs and a paper sign which says balanzoni with the price obscured underneath. balanzoni pasta are a traditional food from bologna  italy

As if that wasn’t sufficient crammed pasta for one metropolis, Bologna has one other traditional dish up its sleeve! Balanzoni are one other kind of stuffed pasta, however these ones are a placing inexperienced color, as a result of the dough has been flavoured with spinach.

Balanzoni are just a little larger than tortelloni. The filling is generally ricotta, parmesan, eggs, spinach, and both mortadella or chopped pork loin. Sage butter is likely one of the hottest sauces – however we tried our balanzoni with ragù, which was additionally scrumptious.

5. Lasagne al forno

close up of a lasagna on a white plate, with layers of pasta and creamy sauce topped with ground meat in a dark red sauce

Lasagne has many kinds throughout Italy – however the one from the Emilia Romagna area, Lasagna al forno, most carefully resembles the dish you’ve in all probability tried at dwelling.

In Bologna and the encompassing area, Lasagna al forno is historically made with layers of thick ragù alla Bolognese, lasagne, bechamel sauce, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

One native distinction is that the sheets of lasagne pasta are often inexperienced. The color comes from spinach combined into the dough.

6. Cotoletta alla Bolognese (Veal Cutlet)

Cotoletta alla Bolognese, also referred to as Petroniana, is a really conventional dish from Bologna. Nonetheless, for the reason that primary ingredient is veal, this one won’t be to everybody’s style.

It’s a really skinny veal cutlet, coated in breadcrumbs and fried in butter. That is topped with a slice of prosciutto and grated parmesan. It’s fairly wealthy, and the model I attempted was a tad on the salty aspect, but it surely’s definitely one of the conventional dishes to strive in Bologna.

7. Gramigna alla salsiccia

a white plate with small curled pasta shapes in a white sauce topped with pieces of ground sausage meat and sliced mushrooms and parmesan with a white tablecloth in the background and a silver dish containing pieces of bread at a restaurant in bologna italy

There’s one final pasta dish so that you can strive in Bologna: gramigna alla salsiccia (gramgina with sausage).

Gramigna is a slim, hole pasta tube which seems just a little like a mini model of macaroni. It’s often served with chopped sausage meat, both in cream or a thick, tomato-based sauce.

The place to Strive: we tried the gramigna with cream, sausage and mushrooms at Ristorante Da Nello and beloved it.

Regional Meals in Bologna and Emilia Romagna

close up of a grey rectangular platter loaded with multiple pieces of ham and a small pot of soft white cheese
Native hams and cheeses in Bologna

Bologna is the capital of the Emilia Romagna area in northern Italy – a area recognized for its wealthy conventional foods and drinks. This area’s gastronomy has the best variety of DOP merchandise in Italy – together with Balsamic di Modena and Parmigiano Reggiano.

What’s DOP?

DOP stands for Denominazione d’Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin). It’s a authorized certification from the European Union that ensures a meals product is produced in a particular geographical zone and within the conventional method.

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Emilia Excellence Meals Tour (7 hours). Uncover all one of the best DOP produce within the Emilia Romagna area on this full-day meals tour. Click on right here to examine the most recent costs and availability.

1. Mortadella

close up of a slice of pale pink ham on a white plate

Mortadella is likely one of the hottest cured meats in Bologna. It’s a big sausage or luncheon meat, often served in skinny slices as charcuterie or in a sandwich.

It seems just a little bit just like the ham they name baloney within the USA – and likewise jogs my memory of the “teddy bear” ham we had within the UK again within the 90s – but it surely’s a lot, a lot nicer!

You also needs to strive Salami Rosa, which is similar to mortadella however is a extra historic recipe. It has a barely completely different flavour as a result of it’s sliced by hand relatively than utilizing a machine.

2. Prosciutto di Parma

close up of several thin slices of pale pink parma ham

Parma ham, aka Prosciutto di Parma, might be one of the well-known DOP meals to come back out of the Emilia Romagna area in Italy.

Prosciutto is a cured, unsmoked ham – salty-sweet and completely scrumptious. “Di Parma” merely signifies that it comes from the city of Parma, about 1.5 hours from Bologna. Right here, the normal technique of curing ham dates proper again to 100BC!

RECOMENDED TOUR: Parmesan, Parma Ham & Balsamic Vinegar Tour from Parma (6 hours, from £91.15pp)

3. Parmigiano Reggiano

close up of a large triangular chunk of crumbly pale yellow parmesan cheese with a metal grater and wooden chopping board behind it - bologna food guide

One other well-known DOP meals from Emilia Romagna is Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan). Usually known as the “king of cheese”, that is a tough, granular cow’s milk cheese. It’s aged for a minimum of 12 months – typically as much as 48 months!

And if it doesn’t say DOP, it’s not true Parmigiano Reggiano.

The cheese is mostly served on high of pasta dishes. In Emilia Romagna, additionally they eat parmesan by itself, drizzled in just a little balsamic. Remember to strive it this manner, too!

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Tour (2 hours, from £57.18pp)

4. Balsamic di Modena

Modena is a small city simply west of Bologna, well-known because the “dwelling” of balsamic vinegar.

There are two “ranges”. Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP is taken into account the “finest”, protected by its DOP standing, whereas Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP is inexpensive.

Each are scrumptious, and one thing it’s essential to strive if you go to Bologna. You would even make a journey to Modena to see the place the well-known condiment comes from!

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Balsamic Vinegar “Aceto” Tasting Expertise in Modena (1 hour, from £20.63pp)

5. Tigelle

close up of a small round flat bread with a flower designed burned into it held by a thumb and forefinger in front of a brown paper bag

Also called crescentina modenese, tigelle are small, spherical flatbreads which remind me just a little of English breakfast muffins.

They originated within the Modena area and are a well-liked road meals all through Emilia Romagna. They’re typically full of cured meats and cheese to create a mini sandwich.

Different Cured Meats and Cheeses to strive in Bologna

  • Squacquerone – a comfortable cow’s milk cheese which seems like a type of spreadable mozzerella. Unfold it on some bread and high with prosciutto. Scrumptious.
  • Formaggio di Fossa – “cheese of the pit”, a type of cheese ripened in particular pits dug in tuff rock. Particularly, search for Pecorino di Fossa di Sogliano DOP, cave-aged sheep’s cheese.
  • Copa Di testa – a type of salami constituted of pig’s head. Seems to be a bit gross – tastes wonderful.
  • Salami Rosa – just like mortadella (see above).

Should-Strive Desserts and Candy Meals in Bologna

1. Tenerina

close up of a white plate with a slim triangular slice of chocolate cake next to a large pool of chocolate sauce, all dusted with white powdered sugar - a traditional dessert food in bolgona italy

Torta Tenerina is a standard dessert from town of Ferrara in Emilia Romagna – and one among my private favorite meals in Bologna!

It’s a slim, moist chocolate cake just like a brownie, with a barely crisp crust and a decadent, intensley chcoolatey inside.

The place to strive: mine got here from Ristorante Da Cesari and I beloved it.

2. Zuppa Inglese

a large rectangular trifle with pink sponge and yellow custard lagers topped with a criss cross pattern of thick yellow custard and brown chcolate sauce stripes. the trifle is on a silver platter on a wooden table surrounded by various ingredients including nuts, sponge pieces, and a jug of milk. This is a traditional essert food in bologna italy.

Zuppa Inglese, aka “English Soup”, is just a little bit like an Italian model of an English trifle. It’s made utilizing sponge dipped in Alchermes (an Italian herb liquor) layered with a thick egg custard. There’s additionally typically a layer of chocolate custard.

3. Fiordilatte Bolognese 

close up of two white plates with a circular dessert that looks like a cream coloured pannacotta topped with a golden brown caramel sauce

Loads of meals guides for Bologna neglect to say Fiordilatte Bolognese, a dessert that’s little-known exterior of Italy. It’s a easy dessert constituted of eggs, sugar and milk – similar to a crème caramel.

4. Torta di Riso

Torta di Riso, rice cake, is a standard cake from Bologna which is fashionable throughout Italy. It’s made by boiling rice in milk with lemon peel and vanilla sugar, which is then used to make a cake dough flavoured with almonds, almond liqueur, and candied citron.

5. Gelato

close up of an ice cream cone with a big swirl of yellow custard flavour and brown chocolate flavour gelato in front of a narrow cobbled street in bologna with orange painted walls

You’ll be able to’t go to Italy with out attempting gelato! And Bologna may simply be among the best cities in Italy to strive it.

There’s a Gelato College right here which trains college students from world wide. The truth is, there’s even a gelato museum in Bologna!

For a Bolognese twist, look out for native flavours like fiordilatte or zupa inglese. Cremeria Santo Stefano is a superb store for that, or for a really decadent deal with strive the Cremino (an area triple layer chocolate) gelato at La Torinese 1888.

The place to strive: my favorite meals bloggers have a devoted put up itemizing the 7 finest gelato outlets in Bologna, so examine that out for ideas.

6. Chocolate Tortelloni

One final candy meals in Bologna that makes an important memento out of your Italy journey: chocolate tortelloni!

These are tasty little goodies within the form of town’s well-known crammed pasta. Inside is a comfortable, creamy chocolate filling. Chocolate Tortelloni are made by Majani, one of many oldest Italian chocolate factories in Bologna.

The place to purchase: choose some up on the Drogheria Gilberto within the Quadrilatero district, a historic family-run store which opened in 1905!

Drinks in Bologna

Decadent Coffees

close up of a shot glass containing a swirled mix of yellow custrd with dark brown espresso at a coffee shop in bologna italy
Espresso with Zabaione

The most effective issues about Italian delicacies is the espresso, and Bologna isn’t any exception! You’ll be able to’t miss the classics, in fact, from a cappuccino with breakfast to an after-dinner espresso.

However for one thing just a little completely different, strive one among these distinctive native twists which flip the traditional espresso right into a candy deal with!

Zabaione – espresso combined with a wealthy egg custard.
Torinese – espresso combined with chocolate and cream.
Fior de latte – espresso combined with a type of artisan pannacotta.

The place to strive: You’ll be able to strive all three at Aroma Specialty Coffees, a brief stroll from the Piazza Maggiore.


close up of a bright red wine being poured into a wine glass on a white tablecloth

Lambrusco might be essentially the most well-known wine from the Emilia Romagna area of Italy. It’s a glowing crimson wine, which sounds a bit uncommon, however its fruity and candy style make it interesting on heat days in Bologna!


white paper plate with several pieces of crusty bread with a small wine glass behind it filled with an almost clear sparkling wine next to a dark green glass wine bottle with the label reading osteria del sole

The a lot much less well-known pignoletto is a white glowing wine, softer and just a little drier than the extra well-known prosecco.

The grapes for pignoletto are grown within the vineyards between Modena and Bologna, so it’s very a lot town’s signature drink. And it goes down very nicely with a platter of native cured meats and cheeses!

The place to Strive: Head to the historic Osteria del Sole, the oldest osteria in Bologna which has been within the metropolis centre since 1465! They don’t serve meals, however clients are allowed to convey their very own – so long as they purchase the wine!

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Wine Tasting in One in all Bologna’s Oldest Inns (2.5 hours, from £45.58pp)

Aperitivo in Bologna

Talking of drink, one factor it’s essential to do if you go to Bologna – or any Italian metropolis, for that matter – is expertise aperitivo.

An aperitivo is a pre-dinner drink, often alocholic, which is supposed to stimulate the urge for food. These cocktails are typically on the extra dry and bitter aspect, akin to the enduring Aperol spritz. Apparently, the thought is to cleanse the palette and get up your digestive system, able to eat!

Listed here are a few of the finest locations to go for aperitivo in Bologna:

Excessive Finish

Café Marinetti at Grand Resort Majestic. Should you’re on the lookout for one thing particular, the gorgeous Café Marinetti at Bologna’s historic Grand Resort Majestic is the place for you.

It is a really elegant area adorned with marble columns, glittering chandeliers, and framed pictures of royalty and political figures who’ve visited the gorgeous resort over time. And the cocktail menu is totally fabulous – you’ll battle to decide on only one!


Digital camera a Sud. We occurred to be staying proper across the nook from this vigorous, cosy bar – which was all the time filled with locals each inside and outside. This is likely one of the hottest spots in Bologna for an aperitivo, with boho, shabby-chic decor and an important vibe.

Bologna Welcome Card

Wish to squeeze a little bit of sightseeing in between all that scrumptious meals in Bologna?! The Bologna Welcome Card is a good way to avoid wasting a bit of cash.

The cardboard begins from €25 per particular person and provides you entry to most of Bologna’s high points of interest. Together with the well-known Asinelli tower (the 498 steps are a good way to burn off all that previous), and a number of other museums.

It additionally features a guided strolling tour of town centre, and reductions for a number of different points of interest.

We had the Bologna Welcome PLUS card (€40pp) for our go to and it proved invaluable. The PLUS choice features a few extras, such because the Metropolis Crimson Bus (an open-top vacationer bus) which made for an important lazy afternoon of sightseeing when our tummies had been too filled with bolognese and gelato to stroll!

Last Ideas

Bologna actually is likely one of the finest cities in Italy for foods and drinks! With so many unimaginable “DOP” merchandise within the surrounding area, and a few nice signature dishes, you’re sure to be well-fed daily of your journey!

I hope this information to what to eat in Bologna has given you loads of inspiration. Simply ensure you convey your urge for food!

Learn Extra

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The place to Discover the Greatest Gelato in Rome

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Is there something lacking from my Bologna Italy meals information? Scroll right down to share within the feedback!

Bologna Italy Food Guide
Bologna Italy Food Guide

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