Tucked just off one of Bologna’s busiest streets is Trattoria Gianni, a lively little spot that serves up regional dishes, decadent desserts, and a great variety of wines. I ate there for the first time a few weeks ago after a local recommended it, and it has since then made its way onto my “where to eat in Bologna” list.
Read on for all the delicious details!
Table of Contents
Where to eat in Bologna: TRATTORIA GIANNI
Location and opening hours
Via Clavature 18 – 12:30 to 2pm; 7:30 to 10:15pm – closed Sundays for dinner and Mondays all day
I instantly liked the atmosphere in Trattoria Gianni when we walked in, mostly because of the lovely server who was gliding around the room, casually chatting to one table in French and in Italian to the others. She welcomed us in and brought us to a table for two.
The vaulted ceilings and archways give the interior of Trattoria Gianni a cozy atmosphere. My eye was drawn to an antique bar cart that rested near the door, waiting to fulfill its purpose of providing patrons with a digestivo of amaro, grappa, or limoncello.
What we ate
It took us a while to make up our minds because everything on the menu sounded good. The server (a different one, but equally as lovely and attentive) warned us that the pasta servings are only 100 grams and asked if we wanted an antipasto or a secondo in case we were really hungry. I was tempted by an antipasto called fantasia di mortadella because I fantasize about mortadella pretty much constantly, but we resisted and decided to save our appetites for a sweet at the other end of the meal.
Tagliatelle al ragù
I decided to go with the old Bolognese classic of tagliatelle al ragù. Rich, hearty meat sauce rested on a pile of firm, golden tagliatelle. The server brought over a beautiful hunk of parmesan cheese and offered to grate it over my pasta. I smiled as the mini parmesan snowstorm floated down onto my sumptuous-looking dinner. Luckily, she stopped automatically at one point, because I would have never said “when” and I’d probably still be sitting there now, letting her grate away.
She also grated some fresh parmesan onto Jeremy’s pasta, which was something neither of us had ever tried before called tortelloni balanzoni, or tortelli matti. Generally, these appear around Carnevale (February – March), but I guess Gianni felt like making them last Friday night.
Tortelloni balanzoni have the traditional shape of large tortellini, but they’re green, thanks to the addition of spinach into the pasta dough. The filling also contains spinach, along with egg, parmesan, ricotta, and my bff mortadella.
The best thing about these tortelloni were that you could taste every ingredient. The earthy spinach, the creamy blend of cheeses, and the smooth mortadella were all detectable.
We capped off the night with an iced chocolate cake that came with a smooth, ruby-red mixed berry puree. The cake wasn’t a cake, really, but more of a frozen mousse. It was sprinkled with cocoa powder, adding a bit of bitterness to offset the sweetness.
Like I said above, Trattoria Gianni has made my list of places to eat in Bologna, and it should be on yours, too!
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