Bologna Food Guide: 10 Delicious Specialities You Have to Try

Bologna Food Guide: 10 Delicious Specialities You Have to Try

The city isn’t called “la grassa” for nothing.

Located in the Emilia Romagna region, Bologna is arguably my favourite city in Italy. While there are many things to love about the place, I honestly have one reason and one reason alone — the food in Bologna is insanely good!

With fresh pasta, properly aged cheese, and melt-in-your-mouth cured meat, the list of good food is endless! Bologna’s culinary culture is so rich that it has even earned the moniker, “la grassa” which translates to “the fat.” Yum.

So whether it’s your first trip to Bologna or travelling to la grassa for the nth time, here are 10 Bologna food specialities that’ll give you a taste of the city’s celebrated food culture. Fair warning, though: Prepare to drool!

Also read: From Florence to the Rest of Italy: Five Day Trips You Shouldn’t Miss

List of must-try food in Bologna

1. Green lasagna

bologna food

Image credit: Gigi Griffis

Lasagna is comfort food for many people, and arguably one of the most well-loved Italian dishes worldwide. While it’s an Italian dish that’s popular all over the world, Bologna’s version is easily the best. Made of alternating layers of fresh spinach pasta, ragu sauce, béchamel, and parmigiano, you have to give this a try!

2. Tortellini en brodo

bologna food

Image credit: strombolio

Tortellini en brodo is one of the most iconic pastas of Bologna. The dish is made of small pieces of ring-shaped pasta stuffed with cheese and meat, accompanied by broth. Although the dish is good on its own, it is traditional to offer parmesan cheese on the side. I don’t know about you, but I’ll definitely take that extra parmesan!

3. Tagliatelle al ragu

tagliatelle au ragu

Image credit: Ivan Vighetto

Spaghetti bolognese is practically nonexistent in Bologna — the real deal is tagliatelle al ragu, a handmade fresh egg pasta. Combined with a thick ragu of onions, carrots, pork, veal, and a little bit of tomato, this Bologna food is simple yet super delicious!

Tip: Pair it with a classic Italian wine.

4. Gramigna alla salsiccia

Much less famous than lasagna but equally appetizing is gramigna alla salsiccia, a savoury dish made of squiggly tubes of pasta. The dish is topped with a flavourful Italian sausage-based sauce. Fennel as seasoning gives the sausage a subtle anise taste. 

5. Mortadella

bologna food

Image credit: Marco Verch

The speciality of Bologna, mortadella is a large sausage made of finely chopped pork meat. The cherry on top? It also contains 15% pork fat. Trust me, it’s worth the calories! Black pepper, myrtle berries, nutmeg, and pistachios further add to the sausage’s intense flavour.

6. Parmigiano reggiano


Image credit: Paolo Piscolla

Italy’s most famous cheese, parmigiano reggiano is a hard, granular cheese named after the areas that produce it. Make sure you don’t mix up parmigiano reggiano with the more common parmesan cheese! Parmigiano reggiano takes years to produce and has a sharper, more concentrated flavour than the latter. It’s definitely a must-try Bologna food item.

7. Balsamic di modena

balsemic di modena

Image credit: Valerie Hinojosa

Another one of Bologna’s pride, balsamic di modena is not your average vinegar. The condiment is made out of grapes boiled down to a dark syrup then aged in wooden containers. A prized dressing, balsamic di modena takes more than 25 years to make. It’s the perfect splash of flavour to cheese and pasta, figs, your favourite Italian pastry, and even a scoop of gelato.

8. Piadina


Image credit: Cristian Ungureanu

Folded or rolled as a wrap, piadina is the typical sandwich of Bologna. The thin flatbread is made with flour, lard, olive oil, salt, and water. While you can choose your own fillings, typical ingredients include ham, fresh cheese, and vegetables. Piadina is healthy, tasty, and inexpensive. It’s also the perfect dish to eat on-the-go!

9. Tigelle


Image credit: Nerodiseppia

Often referred to as crescentina, tigelle are mini, round pieces of bread sliced as a sandwich or as a pocket. Bite into one and you’ll find cheese, pesto, vinegar or cured meats of all kinds. The dish is cooked in a cast iron mould called tigelliera. Soft and flavourful, it’s the perfect aperitivo!

10.  Sparkling wine

sparkling wine

Image credit: Jan Smith

It’s not food, but wine definitely belongs to Bolognese food culture. Try out one of the city’s specialities — Pignoletto, white wine with delicate fruity notes. 

Tip: Enjoy a bottle of Pignoletto with appetizers, tortellini, and seafood!

Also read: Know More About Curon, the Lost Village That Reappeared in Italy

Now that you’ve got a whole list of Bologna’s best food, which are you most excited to try? Tag us on Instagram or Facebook and let us know your favourites. Buon apetito!

About Authors

Patricia Somera
Patricia Somera

Patricia is not your typical 26-year old food and travel-obsessed millennial. Her passport says Filipino, but her mind thinks global and her heart feels human. After quitting her banking job in Manila, she moved to Denmark and lived with a Danish family for 2 years. She is back in the Philippines now to fulfil one of her dreams of becoming the next Anthony Bourdain or Rolf Potts. Aside from travelling, she’s also into studying other languages, reading travel books, watching foodie shows on Netflix, and looking for cheap flights anywhere. Her (mis)adventures can be seen on her Instagram page @patriciasomera.


Shanne Gan
Shanne Gan

Shanne (pronounced Shane) is your typical caffeine addict who gets cranky when she doesn't start her day with a cup of coffee. Her life revolves around a few key things: Netflix, dogs, and brunch. When she's not with her 2-year-old dog, you'll probably find her in an air-conditioned spot as she attempts to beat Singapore's sweltering heat.