Crescentine, piadine, bologna sandwiches, tigelle and more. Where to go to sample traditional street food in the city of arcades.
9 Oct 2020
Bologna is the poster child for fresh pasta: a consolidated food tradition has developed in the shadow of its towers, drawing on strong flavours, meat and egg pasta. But Bologna offers a lot more than fresh pasta alone. In fact, its street food, very much tied to tradition, has conquered the city of arcades.
Here’s our selection of places to go to sample all the taste Bolognese street food has to offer.
L’asporto serves delicatessen food, appetizers, fried foods and meatballs… in other words, all of Bologna’s street foods in one place. If you don’t want to break your stride while you snack, grab some crescentine filled rolls or fried food from L’asporto and be on your way. They make their crescentine using an age-old, 24-hour natural leavening recipe which bakes them to be soft and easily digestible.
Sample them straight up or in a cone-shaped mini version stuffed with either one or two fillings. Don’t miss the restaurant’s original cone of fried delights, Tortellini or Tortelloni filled pasta. They also serve fried polenta with soft cheese and golden meatballs, a veritable delight for the tastebuds. Try chunks of Bolognese custard, breaded and fried, served simple with icing sugar or mixed berries.
“0”-grade soft wheat flour, lard, water, salt, malted wheat flour and brewer’s yeast… Put ‘em all together and you’ve got a heritage roll that used to be peasant fare and today makes perfect street food: tigella (the name of the utensil used to cook them) or crescentine rolls. Hailing originally from the Modena Apennines, this bread is perfect in combo with either sweet or savoury fillings.
Tigellino serves fillings that range from the most traditional (the “Modena”: Modena-style pesto and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese) to vegetarian, the “Genovese” with Genoa-style pesto and dried tomatoes, and delicious, richer, more elaborate fillings. To top it all off, end on a sweet note: try out the “Ludra”, made with cow-milk ricotta cheese, millefiori honey and chocolate chips.
Since 1982, the Pescheria del Pavaglione has been selling fresh seafood daily. They also happen to serve all kinds of delicious dishes cooked using the same raw materials they sell at their fish market. Flash-fried anchovies and vegetables or squid, fish balls and sandwiches with cuttlefish ink bread are all perfect to munch on the go.
At its store on Via Pescherie Vecchie 14, Pescheria del Pavaglione has also launched a new trend: the “Apery Fish”. From noon onwards, and from then again from 5:30 pm to closing time, enjoy this original aperitif in the “Quadrilatero”, the Bologna district traditionally inhabited by artisans, traders and shopkeepers. Although it reached its apogee in the Middle Ages, it has retained its character ever since. Look forward to tartare, Sicilian red shrimp, oysters and much more, all washed down with a fine glass of wine in this truly evocative part of town.
The “Lazy Mortadelleria” is a classic, old-fashioned place, traditional, unpretentious and frill-free. That’s why it is such an institution in Bologna. Don’t look for a menu because there isn’t one. The speciality here is the mortadella sandwich, simple and authentic, a childhood companion for all Italian (and especially all Bolognese) kids. At Pigro, choose whether to stuff your sandwich, focaccia or crescentine with other fresh cold cuts according to availability. Butter and anchovies also available. This intimate little place is ideally-located, close to Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica.
Even if you’re celiac, you can still enjoy Bologna street food if you go to Aldina, an artisan kitchen specializing in 100% gluten-free street food cuisine. This is the place to enjoy street food without any risk of cross- or environmental-contamination.
The menu here is limited only by the owners’ creativity, using only natural flours, no frozen products and seasonal ingredients. Their savoury focaccia, named after the restaurant, is made using rice flour, fresh cheese and oregano, while the piadina is made from rice flour and buckwheat. They use the same dough for their rolls, served with quinoa meatballs, cherry tomatoes, rocket, chickpea hummus and watercress.
Where to stay in Bologna.
For your culinary tasting tour of Bologna street food, we suggest staying in the heart of town, making the most of all the wonders Bologna has to offer. UNAHOTELS Bologna Centro is a modern hotel located in the heart of the old town, just a stone’s throw from the central station. Beautifully decorated, it embodies perfect Italian style and charm.