On Monday I went with my friend E. to Bologna. E. has been on serious lock down the last few months finishing up a book. Haven't seen her ages.
I've been in a horrendous mood lately and missed my friend, so I bit the bullet, got out the credit card and took the fast train to Bologna. On the way back to Rome the train was over an hour late but that another story.
This was my first trip to Bologna and I must go back. The city is tiny, population only 376,000. It's also quite beautiful. There are miles of porticos. The University of Bologna is the oldest in the Western world (founded in 1088) and there are students everywhere. Bologna is constantly rated as one of the top "livable" cities and I can see why.
Many people say this region of Italy has some of the best food in the country. I was definitely looking forward to lunch.
E's husband, aka The Professor, had to go to a meeting at the University with a colleague. In the morning we (myself, E. and their baby) went off to lunch while they had their meeting.
I did some Googling before the trip and the restaurant Drogheria della Rosa kept coming up. We decided to check out the menu then make a decision where to eat.
When we arrived, the owner was outside chatting. We decided to stay. We made an excellent choice.
The food was AMAZING. We started with some paper thin mortadella. It literally melted in out mouths.
E said her tagliatelle was "tears worthy". Her baby, who's only 18 months, did the index finger in the cheek movement (i.e. è buona!) after eating some of it.
I had eggplant ravioli. So freaking good and light.
The service was excellent. They kept refilling our glasses with Prosecco. The owner picked up Baby X when she started to get fussy and made her laugh. He also gave her some frittata and later a piece of watermelon for dessert.
We chatted with the owner for a while. He told us that Ambassador Thorne (the U.S. Ambassador to Italy) was there last week. We also saw a little article about the place in American GQ.
I agree with the article. There are several Michelin level places in Bologna but this restaurant on a side street knows their pasta. To me excellent Italian is about the freshness of the ingredients and the flavors. One can eat fancy, haute-cuisine in any decent sized city in the world. Finding an excellent Bolognese? That's a little rarer.
After this incredible meal we asked for the check. The owner told us not to worry about it. WHAT?! We left a big tip. We told him the Professor must eat at the restaurant and the owner said he'd get the money from him. ha.
We told the Professor to make sure he pays when he goes to eat there. He joked and said he wasn't going to go.
In the past I have received a free glass of wine or a dessert compliments of the chef and/or owner but a sit down meal? No. Never.
I mean, E. is very chic and Baby X might be the cutest baby on the planet but I almost fell out of my chair when he refused to give us a bill.
I was downright giddy after lunch. The food was so good and the three glasses of Prosecco helped.
Next, chocolate, Kettle chips and piazzas.