Piatto di lasagne alla bolognese con grana e vino ©P. Sorgetti per BW

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What to eat in Bologna

Updated on 24 August 2023 From Bologna Welcome

Tagliatelle, crescentine, tortellini, gramigna... If you are wondering what is the typical food of Bologna or you simply don't know what to choose among all the options, in this article we tell you about the local gastronomy so you can enjoy the delicious Bolognese cuisine to the fullest.

There is no such thing as spaghetti Bolognese... Discover the authentic Bolognese cuisine

Bologna and its surroundings have become famous for being the capital of good food all over the world. Today the culinary tradition is a mix between past and innovation, where on the one hand you will find traditional fresh pasta made with eggs, a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries, and on the other hand, you will also find creative and innovative street food options.

Pasta and more pasta

Tagliatelle al ragù ©P. Sorgetti per BW

First of all, it is necessary to understand where to go to eat. Walking around the city you will see signs with the title osteria or trattoria, these are the traditional names for slightly more informal restaurants, a type of family establishment where you can try typical recipes such as tagliatelle al ragù. This is the original version of the famous "spaghetti Bolognese" found in other parts of the world.

In Bologna, the ragù recipe consists of a ground meat sauce that must be a mixture of pork and veal, while the pasta is not the classic dried noodles, but tagliatelle, a fresh pasta made with egg that absorbs all the flavor of the sauce superbly. Don't forget to top it with parmigiano cheese! Which gets better and better with the more months of maturation that it has.

Gramigna alla salsiccia ©P. Sorgetti per BW

Other pasta options include gramigna alla saslsiccia, a type of short, curly pasta that is very typical of the area and comes with a delicious sausage sauce; green lasagna, made with flour, eggs and spinach, and filled with ragù; or tortellini, which are a fresh pasta filled with pork loin, eggs, mortadella, prosciutto (ham), Parmigiano Reggiano and nutmeg. If you visit the city in cold weather, you have to try the tortellini in brodo, which are eaten in a meat broth ideal for winter.

Tortellini in brodo ©P. Sorgetti per BW

Street food

Piadina ©Cristian Ungureanu

If you have little time in the city or you don't feel like sitting in a restaurant, one option is to try some street food while exploring the streets and squares. You can try the piadina, a type of bread made with wheat flour typical of the Romagna part of the region, which you can fill with whatever you want: meat or vegetarian versions, it's up to you. Each territory has different versions depending on the thickness of the dough, and in Bologna you can find new versions with whole wheat, kamut or spelt flours.

Another option is to try a classic panino con mortadella, a sandwich filled with authentic Mortadella Bologna IGP (Indication of Geographic Protection). Some modern versions, which are available especially in central and southern Italy, also include pistachio pieces.


Tagliere with cured meats and cheeses ©Lab 051 per BW

For an aperitivo (aperitif time), we suggest you try a tagliere (charcuterie board) of local cured meats and cheeses. This can be accompanied by crescentine, which are a delicious fried dough, or tigelle, which are bread circles typical of Modena, another city in the Emilia-Romagna region. To drink you can try a classic Aperol Spritz cocktail or taste one of Bologna's local wines.


Gelato artigianale - Ph. Kristine Juárez

If you feel like getting a dessert after your meal, you have to try a gelato in one of the many artisanal ice cream parlors in the city. Whether you prefer classic flavors (such as hazelnut, pistachio, cream, fior di latte) or you are looking for special novelties (for example, with rum or caramelized almonds), in Bologna you are sure to find a flavor to fall in love with.

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