I'm always suspicious with popular restaurants on Tripadvisor. I had terrible experiences in the past and, even if it's an essential tool to make our food tours in Bologna known, I don't trust it that much. That's probably the reason why it took me so long to visit Trattoria di Via Serra, #1 restaurant in Bologna on Tripadvisor. But I have another powerful tool in Bologna: very trusted foodies friends who kept repeating me how great it was. So I went. Curious to find out if Trattoria di Via Serra is the best restaurant in Bologna?
The entrance of Trattoria di Via Serra in Bolognina neighbourhood
From the mountains with love
Flavio and Tommaso are from Zocca, a small village between the mountains of Appenino famous for tigelle, great cheese and an Italian singer (that I don't like), where they owned Trattoria del Sole. They moved to Bologna in 2012, to bring the flavors of Appenini mountains directly to the city.
This Trattoria takes its name from the street, Via Serra, where is set inside Bolognina neighbourhood. It's not a fancy area, you don't go to Bolognina for a drink or aperitivo: it's a multi-cultural worker's neighbourhood that rises close to the railway station, site of strikes and protests during the 70's. So you need a good reason to go there.
Rabbit with bacon, pumpking and roasted potatoes
Most of the suppliers are the same of the previous restaurant, so cheese comes from Caseificio Rosola and the organic flours from Mesini farm.
I started with a simple antipasto made with tosone, the trimming of Parmigiano Reggiano, bacon and balsamic but you if available go straight to the crescente (tigelle) with mushrooms. But it was with first course that I was surprised: the out-of-menu green chitarra pasta with codfish, pine nuts and tomatoes will probably end up in one of my best dishes of 2017. If you prefer the tradition, handmade tagliatelle with ragù and tortelloni with ricotta cheese won't disappoint you.
The rabbit amongst the second courses is a must, hard to find in most of bolognese restaurants for the long process which needs. Leave space for the desserts like Torta Benassi, a chocolate cake without flour and yeast, or a cheesecake with visciole cherries.
Ricotta cheesecake with visciole cherries
Why go there
One thing that surprised me is the attention to the details. You can feel that they care a lot about their customers. Not only for the warm welcoming or the cosiness of the place, but for the food itself. Bread arrives from Forno Brisa, one of the best bakeries in Bologna, and house wine (which usually sucks, you know that) was an organic red of unexpected quality. Even at Osteria Francescana, where I had around 6 waiters around the table, I didn't feel such important.
Why not to go
Is Via Serra the best restaurant in Bologna? If you're looking for it, I don't know if it's the place. There are other great restaurants that maybe deserves this award (I Portici? Scaccomatto? Max Poggi?). But it's not important. Flavio and Tommaso probably don't even care. They just want you to be happy when, at the counter, you will have their home-made wild fennel amaro and you say goodbye with a smile, sure you will meet them again very soon.
Trattoria di Via Serra
Via Luigi Serra, 9/b, 40129 Bologna BO
Tel.051 631 2330
Open everyday but Monday, Tuesday