Looking for a place to eat in Bologna you may be confused and have plenty of choice. In a city so famous and appreciated for its cuisine, however, be careful not to fall into a classic tourist trap.
Fortunately, the Bologna Guide team is made by people who like good foods and, more important, who love to research and try out new restaurants!
20 places and restaurants where to eat in Bologna
In these 20 tips on where to eat in Bologna you will find a general overview with various ideas to satisfy all your culinary cravings. From classic restaurants to typical taverns passing through places where you can have an Aperitivo not forgetting desserts and ice cream.
Eat like a local in a typical restaurant: Trattorie and Osterie
If you want to taste the typical dishes of the Emilia Romagna and Bolognese tradition rather than a classic restaurant it is better to look for a Trattoria or an Osteria.In these simple places the dishes have a home-made taste of fresh eggs pasta and the goodness that comes from the passion.
1. Trattoria di via serra
This is a place where you can taste typical dishes prepared with local ingredients. The Trattoria di Via Serra maintains the appearance of a family-run inn where the passion for food and kindness are the fundamental pillars.
2. Trattoria Da Vito
Da Vito is the historic trattoria where Lucio Dalla loved to spend his evenings. The classic restaurant where you will find a red and white tablecloth and a two-liter bottle of wine as a centrepiece. Even if the Vito who had opened the restaurant is no longer with us, the atmosphere is still the same as in the past: cheap wine and dishes, crowded and noisy place.
3. Osteria de' Poeti
L’osteria de ‘Poeti is located in a small street in the city center and the entrance is not really in sight. Despite this, this is one of the best restaurants in Bologna, really well known and appreciated. The osteria specializes in traditional dishes and obviously boasts an excellent selection of wines.
4. Osteria Bottega
Some people think that eating in Bologna means going to the Bottega tavern. In fact, this restaurant is a perfect example of the Emilia Romagna cuisine, tasty dishes, excellent wine and that feeling of being at home. Definitely recommended tortellini in capon broth and the Petroniana cutlet. As for the wine let yourself be advised by the experience of the waiters, you will not be disappointed!
5. Osteria al 15
Small rooms furnished with wooden tables and old furniture, dim and warm lights that give prominence to the exposed beams, the ceiling covered with old newspapers. What a better environment to enjoy a plate of tigelle and salami? At Osteria al 15 you can enjoy the simplicity of life as it used to be.
6. Il Mulino Bruciato
For many, “traditional” means large portions. That’s exactly how they think at Mulino Bruciato. Here you feel at home, that of grandparents who take care to fill your plate and make you eat your fill.
We challenge you to finish, on your own, the delicious Cotoletta alla Bolognese, perhaps after a nice plate of tagliatelle with meat sauce.
Il Mulino is so popular that it can be difficult to find a seat available during the classic dinner hours, but don’t worry the place is open from 7.30pm to 3.00am!
Cheap restaurants in Bologna city center
Do you want to eat in the center of Bologna and are you looking for a cheap restaurant? Do not worry, have the same idea and we have found excellent solutions to this problem. Choosing between these three places you can satisfy your appetite, staying on a budget.
7. Sfoglia Rina
I must confess, this is my favorite place to have lunch in Bologna. Sfoglia Rina is the place opened by our trustworthy “sfoglina”, its fresh pasta has never disappointed us. The traditional menu offers both tagliatelle with meat sauce and tortellini (I recommend those with zabaione cream) while the weekly menu changes according to the season and the chef’s imagination.
There are only two important notes:
Here you can eat just past and some desserts, as the speciality of the restaurant is handmade pasta.
You can eat from lunchtime until about 7pm, closing time is at 20 but arriving at the end it is not recommended in any restaurant where you want to receive good service.
A good restaurant and cheap prices in a particular environment. Do you want something else? In a side area of the Mercato delle Erbe, off course a special location. Inside you’ll find a dozen coloured tables surrounded by delicious ornamental plants. At lunchtime the restaurant is often crowded but we suggest you try the same to taste the excellent Petronia cutlet.
9. Buca Manzoni
We are in a side street of Via Indipendenza, via Manzoni precisely, here you’ll find what you are looking for. A small door and few steps lead us inside, the room look like an old cellar carefully restored. Here the classics of the Bolognese cuisine are waiting for us, an excellent restaurant where you can eat on a budget.
Restaurants for a romantic dinner
A romantic restaurant is a special place, it needs the right atmosphere, the touch of class, the discretion of the waiter. Even the dish must also be presented in a sensual way. These characteristics make it a restaurant suitable for a couple of lovers, be it Valentine’s Day or another special occasion.
10. Vicolo Colombina
We are not far from Piazza Maggiore, right in the city center. In vicolo colombina we find the ideal place for a romantic dinner. The furnishings of a pure white, perhaps to remember a dove, and decidedly minimalist give an immediate feeling of serenity. The friendly and attentive waiter will greet you at the entrance with a smile and then I will hand you the menu: the dishes are a reinterpretation of the classic Bolognese cuisine. Simple and high quality ingredients recomposed to give a new form to tradition.
11. Drogheria della Rosa
La Drogheria della Rosa is for those who love intimacy and tradition. You will be enchanted by the delicious cuisine so much that you will feel like dining in a fairytale. in fact, this restaurant has been chosen over the years by several celebrities, if you have any doubts, read here what they think about it!
The Arcimboldo, which takes its name from the famous painter, is a place where art and culinary tradition come together to offer a pleasant spectacle for both the eyes and the palate. This small restaurant in the historic center, with an intimate atmosphere, is ideal for a romantic dinner, what are you waiting for to admire and taste the various proposals?
In addition to traditional dishes revisited in a gourmet way, you will also find delicious fish-based choices.
13. La Bottega di Franco
La Bottega di Franco surprises with its magical location immersed in the green garden, just a few minutes drive from downtown. The elegant and romantic atmosphere will involve you as soon as you cross the threshold. Exposed beams, tables and chairs in a delicate white, complete with candles ready to brighten your dinner. The highlight is definitely the veranda and in the summer the enchanting garden, complete with the possibility of eating on a tree!
This romantic restaurant is focused on fish dishes but for lovers of the traditional Bologna food do not worry, the tasty tagliatelle with meat sauce and the tasty tortellini in broth are waiting for you to taste.
Best places to have an Aperitivo
The Aperitivo is one of the most loved evening habits of the Bolognese. Although many places offer aperitifs, not all of them meet the expectations. So let’s discover the best places to spend a pleasant evening delighting your palates.
We are in one of the most characteristic streets of the city, via Pescherie Vecchie. Zerocinquantino offers the best of tradition and is undoubtedly the ideal choice to enjoy salami and tigelle accompanied by a glass of excellent quality wine.
The friendliness of the staff has been the winning weapon of the Marsalino which is one of the most popular bars in the evening. The delicious cocktails and the tasty croutons offered to accompany them complete a perfect aperitivo in Bologna.
16. Osteria del Sole
Not just a tavern but the oldest in Italy! This is a unique place of its kind as simple as true and convivial. In the Osteria del Sole you will find the house wine as vintage bottles. Another peculiarity of this tavern is the habit of not serving any dish, but do not worry the rule of the house is: bring to eat what you want and the wine take the wine here! So get yourself something to eat and enjoy a nice evening in this historic inn.
17. Senza Nome
The Senza Nome is a beautiful place very popular with young people. During the evening hours there is the possibility of an aperitif with beer, wine or cocktails accompanied by a delicious buffet. This is not enough, the Senza Nome is not just a bar but a place of cultural and social promotion that often hosts events such as exhibitions and small acoustic concerts.
Moreover, what really makes it special and valuable local, is that managers are hearing impaired. These guys are dedicated to the integration and spread of sign language with great passion. In fact you can easily order at the counter using the cards or following the instructions provided for the use of sign language.
Where to eat dessert and ice cream
Well, now you know where to eat and drink! Would you like a dessert? Here we will reveal where to go to taste the best one of Bologna.
18. Cremeria Cavour
I don’t feel unbalanced when I say that at Cremeria Cavour (ex Cremeria Funivia) you will find the best ice cream in Bologna. Surely there will be a few minutes to wait in line but once you have tasted this delight you will understand that it was worth it.
Among the flavors offered, I always recommend Tortino Brenso and La Dotta (obviously accompanied by whipped cream) but don’t be afraid to dare, whatever flavor you choose will certainly be exceptional!
In addition to being among the best pastry shops ever tried Gamberini is a historic shop that since 1907 continues its activity with passion. Over the years its quality has never failed and the Bolognese culinary tradition has maintained its place alongside innovation and experimentation. If you want to try something typical, we recommend the rice cake.
20. Naama Cafè
If, full of Italian flavors, you are now looking for something exotic, you can find what you are looking for at Naama Cafè. Here you will find not only the excellent pastry with a unique taste but also herbal teas, tea and coffee with a unique aroma. Sitting on the cozy tables of Arabian style you will feel comfortable thanks to the courtesy of the staff.
Bonus: 3 more tips on where to eat in Bologna
When it comes to restaurants where to eat well, suggestions are never enough, we know it well! For this reason we have decided to give you a few more names to put on your list of places to try.
Pizzeria: Banco del Vino
If you want pizza, we suggest you try the Banco del Vino. This pizzeria offers a gourmet reinterpretation of the classic Neapolitan dish. The excellent dough and the wonderful presentation of the dishes are accompanied by the choice of high quality ingredients that make this traditional dish a real delicacy. The courtesy of the staff and the excellent selection of wines and beers will make your evening even more pleasant.
In you like pizza then do not miss: the best pizza restaurants in Bologna!
Mercato di Mezzo
We are inside the Quadrilatero, the historical commercial district of the city. In via Clavature 12 an urban recovery project gave life to the Mercato di Mezzo. The building, once used as a fruit and vegetable market, then went into disuse and abandoned, has recently been renovated and now houses some excellent Italian cuisine.
Guided Food Tour
If you want to taste all the flavors that Bologna has to offer but have little time at your disposal, a guided tour could be the ideal solution.
Luckily for you we have written an article on the Best Food Tours of Bologna!