A city of buttermilk buildings and marvellous medieval attractions, Bologna remains a main contender in the race for the best food culture in Italy. Rivalling tourist hotspots such as Rome and Italy, Bologna is one not to be overlooked, and our list attests to its brilliance.
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For small plates, what a great way to kick off a tour of Bologna’s best restaurants with this well-known snug venue in the city’s centre. Coffee and pastries are the café’s specialty; wafts of roast-ground beans and freshly baked dough greet both street-goers and frequent passers-by walking on the stone-cobbled streets outside.
With over a thousand positive reviews on Google alone, Café Terzi is one of Bologna’s most celebrated spots. So expect queues and waits. Rest assured, many claim this little café does the best ever coffee in the city. Indisputably great for starters.
This is one of the city’s favourite corners to live the good life. If you’re looking for a close-knit, intimate space for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, then Corner Bar is your ideal spot. Since 2016, two brothers have successfully brought many smiles to the city. Their cocktail list is something to marvel at. Make sure to sample their extensive drinks selection during an evening in the Via Saragozza district.
About a five minute walk from some of Bologna’s best restaurants in the city centre, this is a polished contemporary venue serving a modern mix of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. When reviewing this restaurant, visitors are highly enthusiastic. One even described their experience in one word: “perfect”.
A few streets away in the city’s historic quarter, Trattoria Leonida ranks high among Bologna’s best restaurants. Open since 1938, this venue’s traditional cuisine has maintained its success for almost a century. Expect rich Italian classics, using homemade pasta in most dishes. Mains favour red beef — typically cooked in balsamic vinegar, marinated with grilled greens, such as courgette or rocket.
Ask any visitor of Mozzabella Pratello and the answer remains the same. “A true Italian gem” says one laudatory review, commending especially every Westerner’s favourite Italian specialty: the round pizza, a Margherita con Salsiccia. Though we say it’s one of the best venues to eat out in Bologna, Mozzabella Pratello is more a stall than a restaurant. Find it residing in the Mercato delle Erbe.
Excellence is the word to keep firmly in mind when visiting this well-established venue. Inside has a pristinely modern feel, completely white-walled with wood surfaces, like vanilla ice cream on wafers. Expect luxury dishes with alcohol-enriched ingredients such as the Pigeon and Scallops cooked in whiskey cream.
A three minute walk from Bologna’s main landmarks — particularly the Torre Guidozagni, a tower and relic of the city’s medieval heyday — la Trattoria is a thoroughly high standard affair, catering to food fanatical tourists visiting throughout the year. For vegans, this is one of the best restaurants in Bologna to sample various specialties. Squash-based dishes and fried greens are the kings and queens of this royally good establishment.
For fans of delicatessens, Sfoglia Rina is a quick stop ready for anyone on their feet. Freshly prepared Italian goods greet the incoming visitor, finely arrayed in a colourful counter. Pasta, breads, and olives are ready-prepared, so customers can enjoy low waiting times in this Bologna favourite.
Sitting south of some of the best known restaurants in Bologna, All’Osteria Bottega is another traditional venue worth everyone’s visit. Sharply fitted in an indoor market, customers will feel warm and snug in this delectable venue. It serves all things top-rate Italian with plenty of pizzazz — from bacon-topped carbonara to platters of pink pancetta.
Slip away from one of Bologna’s piazzas and discover this venue hiding among a criss-cross of alleyways. Osteria del Cappello provides a succinct menu, more casual, more laid back than some of Bologna’s best restaurants. Yet this small venue stays apace with its neighbours: the restaurant makes all of its small dishes from scratch.
Expect charcuterie boards over plates. In particular, try out their meatiest dish, the savoury tagliatelle al ragù. Top tip: peak times are around the afternoon between 13:00—15:00. Beat the rush and visit later in the evening.
This is one for the lasagne lovers. Located in an orange-saturated side alley, this restaurant’s front doors are a welcome sight to any weary traveller. Their specialty of course receives rave reviews online. Make a reservation via their website and ask for the Lasagnette al ragu di cortile — a masterwork in homegrown northern Italian cooking.
Known locally as the “market kitchen”, Banco 32 is a unique culinary experience that rubs shoulders with food stalls, fishmongers, and herb vendors. The menu metamorphosizes every day meaning no two visits are the same. Located in a bustling area, everything is fresh, sourced directly from next door, and served by an A-star list of passionate chefs from various culinary backgrounds.
Note that because Banco 32 is a fast-service restaurant the team advises guests to arrive extra early — the seats here go very fast!
According to tourist council Bologna Welcome, this restaurant has over seventy years experience in delivering quality meals to the public. Ristorante de Cesarina celebrates the city’s namesake with the menu special, the fritto misto alla Bolognese, a hodgepodge of the best fried meat, vegetables, and fruit in a heart-warming atmosphere. Make no mistake — the surrounding Piazza Santo Stefano is a national landmark, a fine display of the city’s medieval heritage with fourteenth-century architecture, a square of seven churches.
One of the best seafood restaurants in Bologna. Inside is an explosion of white marble and stylish black lamps. It also has an impressive outdoor area, a yellow-green square with tables under an ancient tree. For the best dishes, go for the sumptuous fried sardines for starters. Then make sure to order white wine to enjoy this restaurant’s fish mains.
Many restaurants across Italy are enjoying the benefits of a completely free restaurant app. Find out more about clients in Turin, about 210 miles from Bologna. Read our article on Tropi & Co., a restaurant chain in the northern Italian city.
Hungry for more? Read our article titled “Owner of Ristorante la Canisela Enjoys Carbonara App” for news about a restaurant in the northern Italian mountains.