Exploring the trattorie in Bologna

Exploring the trattorie in Bologna

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

I’ve eaten at a lot of good places in Bologna some of which I’ve included in blog posts but I wanted to explore further. The type of eating establishment that I prefer is a trattoria. The difference in general between a trattoria or restaurant is that the restaurant is a white tablecloth kind of place often with fine glassware and table settings (and sometimes delusions of grandeur. A trattoria on the other hand is more humble. The kind that I prefer is absolutely not pretentious. No avante garde food preparations no aspirations to have a Micelin star. It’s more the traditional food of the region. Of course like a restaurant the ambiance and the staff make a difference as well as how the food is prepared. The best ingredients well prepared satisfies me. This includes the quality of bread brought to the table and at least for me, a fine grappa available at the end of the meal.

So with all of that in mind I have now gone with the principessa torinese (Turin princess as I sometimes refer to Laura) to 3 of the top rated trattorie in Bologna. The ratings were from Trip Adviser which is pretty reliable.

The first is Trattoria di Via Serra. If you want to say what tripadvisor says click here. It was probably the highest rating of the three but I rated it as very good but my least favorite of the three. The atmosphere is not, well, welcoming and I found the waitstaff to be a bit cold. It also is striving mightily to be a notch above others. The waitress recited perfectly from memory at least 10 specials of the day. I don’t know about you but by the time the recitation is finished I had forgotten most them. How hard would it be to have a printed list. After all the waitress surely had something to read to memorize them. They could just make 3 or 4 photocopies and that would do. Laura and I usually share things and I don’t remember all that we had but we did have beef cheeks which were VERY good. I was disappointed that such a nice place didn’t have a decent grappa. They had supermarket quality stuff that is never particularly good. Another thing to note is that you need to reserve a table at least 2 weeks in advance, only by phone and I had to call at least 5 times to get a table reserved. It was frankly a pain in the ass.

The second is Trattoria da Me. Again click here for the tripadvisor reviews. This was my second choice and I really liked it. Again you need to reserve a table at least two weeks in advance but at least you can do it online. First because it is a really good place and second because in a national television competition (4 ristoranti) it won the price as best in it’s class in Bologna. Here ambiance was much warmer and the staff was friendly and funny. The food was also VERY good and reasonably priced AND the grappa was exceptional. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Now we come to the third and my favorite Osteria Santa Caterina. Again click here for more info. The food here is also very good but I’d say it’s a step behind Trattoria da Me but the it just feels like home. Very welcoming both in the environment and the staff. The grappa was very good (not as good as Trattoria da Me but also almost half the price). It’s much easier to get a reservation but you do need to call. So it’s the place I will return to most often but I’ll want to go occasionally to Trattoria da Me.

There’s another one that I want to try that’s also highly reviewed and very near Osteria Santa Caterina – All’Osteria Bottega. Here’s a link to that one. I think that it’s a little more expensive than Santa Caterina but not by much. But just to put things into perspective at all 3 of the trattorie I never spent more than 70 euros for a great dinner for 2 including a pretty good bottle of wine. So at current rates that would be about $77. Also keep in mind that there is no further tax and tipping is not considered obligatory and in fact tips are rare here. The wines that we had would each cost at least $40 (and probably more) at probably just about any restaurant in the U.S.

Let me know if you’d like to hear more about food, places to eat (here in Bologna or Torino), etc. And of course if you like what I’m writing I invite you to subscribe – at the top of this page on the right.

2 Responses to “Exploring the trattorie in Bologna”

  1. sara Says:

    Nice to read your thoughts regarding my city. And I share your taste regarding the trattorie. I will read more now that I discovered this blog. Ciao, s.

  2. Joe Says:

    Thanks for the comment Sara,

    It’s nice to have an Italian reading my blog. Let me know of any other great trattorie that you know of here.


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