Dubbed the gastronomic centre of Italy, this vibrant university town is leading the pack when it comes to European culinary excellence. Forget transport, the city nicknamed La Grassa by locals, has a new reputation that will have you salivating before you’ve even stepped off the plane. We all know the Italians are pasta connoisseurs and the Bolognese take the prize for the best dishes with their innovative concepts and farm to table emphasis. Chow down on traditional tagliatelle, tortellini and the best lasagne you’ve ever eaten with our list of the best places to eat pasta in Bologna.
Ideally located in the downtown university area, Osteria dell’Orsa is a favourite amongst students and locals for its quality food and happy price tag. Founded in 1979, the restaurant near Piazza Maggiore and Via Indiapendenza prides itself on having a farm to table menu featuring homemade fresh pasta. The friendly, warm atmosphere of the place transports you back in time to the old days. Open seven days a week, the Osteria guarantees an authentically Italian experience and great wines from the hills of Imola to wash down your dinner.
Preparing fresh pasta for over thirty years, Anna Maria opened its doors in 1985 and has been feeding the streets of Bologna ever since. A local reference point for traditionally presented meals, eat like a true Bolognese with a first course of pasta followed by a second course of meat. Indulge in regional Italian wines and take in the stunning surrounding of the Two Towers.
Serving up the best tagliatelle in town, the rustic interior of this Osteria have created a timeless, classic restaurant to curb your cravings. Check the board for the daily specials as the menu is updated every week. Make sure to try their speciality, the “crescentines” (fried bread stuffed with meat). The genuine family ambiance makes this place perfect for children and adults alike.
Bringing a taste of the mountains to the heart of the city, di Via Serra is a dining experience that doesn’t disappoint. Located in the multi-cultural district right behind the train station, the attention to detail in every dish makes this farm to table style traditional eatery one of the best places for pasta in Bologna. Featuring biodynamic house wines and produce from the hilltops of the Apennies, the mix-match of cuisines makes for the perfect combination of flavours and will have you counting the days until your next visit.
Taking over the building of an old pharmacy, this next spot balances history and the search for new flavours in the heart of the city. With its wooden shelves and apothecary jars, the owner has left some of the building’s previous charm in the interiors and creates a welcoming atmosphere by emphasising attentive hospitality. Expect table side explanations of the menu. You might even leave with a rose in hand.
Escape the mass of tourists and dip in to the eco-friendly farmer’s market in Piazzetta Pasolini and Piazetta Anna Magani. Open on Saturdays the market stalls serve artisanal street food including vegan pastas, host cooking classes and regularly put on live events. Grab a picnic table in the Cinema Lumiere courtyard and spend the afternoon eating like a local.
Open since 2017, the trendy restaurant describes itself as a multi-sensory experience. Doubling as a gourmet food shop, the eco-friendly eatery prepares its fresh pasta in the window, drawing the attention of passers-by as they stop to witness the age old tradition. Sitting in the shadows of the famous Two Towers, this is a different take on the traditional Italian trattoria.
Tucked away on one of the oldest streets in central Bologna, Leonida serves a vast selection of pasta dishes. Just a few minutes-walk from the sights of Due Torri, Piazza Maggiore and Piazza della Mercanzia, the typically Bolognese restaurant allows you to enjoy specialities of the region away from the hustle and bustle of the noisier streets.
Even for non-vegans, Bologna’s first plant based bistro is a must when visiting the city. Take the chance to momentarily detox from the richness of Bolognese recipes and try beetroot spaghetti and tomato ravioli. Set in a breezy, friendly atmosphere you can find Botanica Labs just off Piazza Maggiore – definitely one to add to the list of where to eat in Bologna!
Head off the beaten track and travel 15 minutes out of the centre along tree-lined streets until you reach Bertozzi, one of the best traditional trattorias in town. Experience fully authentic Bolognese dishes drawn from the owners’ childhoods and enjoy the extensive wine cellar that accompanies the detailed menu.
Styled to the taste of a 1950s airport lounge, Oltre is a modern day trattoria set across three levels. Sourcing fresh pasta from the nearby artisanal laboratory, the restaurant has created coveted dishes such as their tortellini in brodo. Attempting to safe-guard the soul of traditional Bolognese cooking whilst testing new innovative methods, the eatery is a leading pioneer for the city’s evolving modern food scene.
Planning a trip to Bologna soon? Make sure to tag us in your photos of the best pasta in Bologna using the hashtag #ryanairstories, for the chance to be featured on Ryanair’s social media channels.
Flights to Bologna
- Lucy Norris