Those that love food will know that a must destination is Italy. Those that love Italy will know that food plays a significant role in the country’s identity. Those that love travelling will visit Italy for its beautiful vineyards, picturesque towns but above all for a taste of its cuisine. I am someone that adores all of the above and I’m pretty sure you do too.

Each Italian region has its own specialities, rooted from local products and rich history. Rome will serve you its signature artichokes drizzled in olive oil. In Napoli you’ll dive in endless doughs of pizza and in Bologna you’ll most certainly indulge in tagliatelle al ragu (falsely known as pasta bolognese) and variations of tortellini.

When I visited Bologna, a popular university town of the Emilia-Romagna area, I happily ate my way through its scrumptious cuisine. Because the restaurants, cafes and bars are many, this serves as a culinary guide that will please your appetite:

Drogueria de la Rosa is a must. Recommended and visited by many locals and Italian visitors, this old pharmacy-turned-restaurant serves the known Bolognese tortellini a brodo (tortellini in chicken broth) and other delicious dishes of the day. It holds unique decor as it has kept elements of the pharmacy with jars and posters hanging on the wall. Tucked in a quiet street, this restaurant’s meals will certainly seduce your taste buds whilst flirt with your wallet.

Via Cartoleria 10, 40124 Bologna, +39 051 222529

-When you enter Ristorante Donatello you feel that you’ve walked into a time capsule due to the hundreds of celebrity photos that fill the walls and the elegant decor of golden colour tones.  The menu offers traditional Bolognese recipes and honestly, anything you have will be divine, from the seasoning to the delightful Donatello’s grandson himself, who now runs the restaurant. Open since 1903, the restaurant has been passed down generations in the Fanciullacci family. Definitely try the roast potatoes: they will melt in your mouth.

via Augusto Righi 8, 40126 Bologna, +39 051 235438

-Trattoria Il Piato Rotto will give you an alternative experience of Bolognese cuisine with their gourmet dishes and extensive wine list. A small and cosy environment with low lighting, perfect for a glass of wine, a charcuterie platter or a plate of zucchini flan with a parmesan dip.

Via Righi Augusto 24, 40100 Bologna, +39 051 232631

Tamburini delicatessen works as a shop selling dozens of cheeses, hams, olive oil and spices as well as an eatery. The wine bar/restaurant behind the shop has daily home-cooked dishes on display and is filled equally by shoppers and diners. Do visit it for a break from eating in restaurants or to purchase some luscious goods to take home.

Via Caprarie, 1  40124 Bologna, +39 051 234726

La Baita Formaggi is a cheese paradise. This delicatessen sells cheese products made in small cheese factories that still use a traditional method. Their aim is to offer authentic items of pure Italian taste. Visit La Baita Formaggi for a cheese and charcuterie platter, a catch up over some wine or to purchase some of their unique cheese.

via Pescherie Vecchie 3/a 40124 Bolonia +39 051 223940

La Prosciutteria names themselves a non-place, a non-restaurant but a place to meet, love and enjoy life. This informal eatery follows an experiential philosophy and a friendly outlook. Found in Milan, Siena and Florence, it maintains its casual ambience by being self-service and by encouraging customers to share tables. Their served products (cured hams, cheeses and baked goods) are proudly produced by them or local producers who meet their way of thinking.

Via Oberdan 19/A, 40125, Bologna, +39 051 045 3717

-If you’re craving and are on the lookout for a good pizza, try Nicola’s Pizzeria that serves traditional Neapolitan pizza from a wood oven. Its colourful walls and varied menu make it adequate for any occasion, from a cozy dinner to a business lunch. Alternatively, PizzArtist is a small take-away shop serving rectangular slices of pizza of delicious, local ingredients. Founded in 2012 by three university friends, the shop has grown with their passion for pizza remaining deeply instilled. Perfect for a bite on the road, or for a night in as they also offer delivery.

Nicola’s Pizzeria: piazza San Martino 9 ,40126 Bologna , +39 051232502

PizzArtist: Via Marsala, 35/A, 40126 Bologna, +39 051 5872755

Fabrik is a cafe/wine bar perfect for an aperitif, brunch or a quick meal. With a variety of bruschettas, cold cuts and sandwiches, Fabrik gathers all sorts of locals wanting a casual yet rich snack, all hours of the day.

Via Augusto Righi 32/E, 40126 Bologna, +39 051 485 6394

-One can’t visit Bologna without going to its markets. A popular market area with bustling street sellers and an indoor food hall serving hot and cold dishes is the old Quadrilatero market. The vibrant alleys just off Piazza Maggiore, are filled with overflowing stands selling fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh pasta, meat and traditional sweets. You’ll find them on via Pescherie and via Drapperie. At Mercato delle Erbe (Via Ugo Bassi, 23-25) you’ll find locals buying eggs and flour to make tagliatelle, fresh fish and any other musts an Italian kitchen includes. Renovated in 2013 it now has a selection of restaurants, bakeries and wine bars. Try Banco 32 for a taste of Bologna’s fish.

-The intimate, small setting of Trattoria  Serghei adds to its traditional and tasty menu. Its cuisine is authentic Bolognese and its charming decor is vintage. A popular place amongst locals for a hearty meal of tagliatelle al ragu, tortelloni or rabbit. It’s a family-owned and run restaurant with grandmother and mother often in the kitchen. It’s usually packed so best reserve a table. If in season, have the pumpkin tortelloni.

Via Piella 12, 40126 Bologna, +39 051 233533


It’s safe to say that you won’t run out of options when it comes to dining in Bologna. In fact, you’ll probably leave wanting to return to try out some more of its delicious eateries, at least I know I do. Hungry anyone?


All photos are by Eleni Philippou, except 8 and 11.