Under Bologna’s Due Torri, brunch is in the air: It’s a sudden trend that has grown among Bologna residents in recent years, and local bars, cafés and restaurants have responded, putting their own twist on this latest import.
Brunch is a compromise between breakfast and lunch, and is usually reserved for Sunday, when you can enjoy the dishes of a typical English or American breakfast well past the breakfast hour (and a great excuse to have pancakes for early lunch, or a Bloody Mary with your breakfast). In the city of tortellini and mortadella, brunch Bologna style brings together talented local chefs with a range of venues that include everything from temporary pop-up brunch locations and laid back cafés, to some of the city’s most historic and charming addresses.
My first choice, if I may say so, today falls on the Grand Hotel Majestic (via Indipendenza 8), the regal five-star hotel with frescoed ceilings where Claudio Sordi, one of the city’s best chefs (and among its youngest), offers international classics such as scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, to local specialties, all made with the highest quality ingredients (free range eggs, antique grain breads) and reasonably priced (€25).
Known for their delicious hand-crafted burgers, Well Done (via Caprarie 3/c and via Aristotele Fioravanti 37/c) offers an à la carte Sunday brunch featuring bagels, sweet and savoury pancakes, scrambled eggs, sandwiches and fruit salads. A little further afield, Bakery Station (via Don Luigi Sturzo 38) is worth leaving the city center for, serving its legendary bagels with salmon and cream cheese, eggs with beans and bacon, vegan pancakes made with almond milk and a wide choice of mixed plates (University, Village, New Jersey, Seaside).
If it’s a unique location you’re looking for: Teatro Duse (via Cartoleria 42), in collaboration with Slow Food Bologna, hosts occasional themed brunches using products from participating Mercato della Terra farmers and producers (upcoming brunches are scheduled for December 20 – aperitif, January 24 and March 6).
Specializing in high quality grilled meats, Red Brick (via Frassinago 2/c) expands its regular menu for Sunday brunch by combining sausage and roast beef with vegetarian dishes, quiche and cheese plates; Zoo Cafe (Strada Maggiore 50/a), the pastry and bagel shop, bookstore and textile and art gallery, reflects its many personalities in its brunch menu, where alongside the classics you can also find vegan choices such as smoked tofu and other ethnic plates.
At Ruggine, (vicolo Alemagna 2/c- from January 2016) the atmosphere is modern meets dive bar and the menu leans Franco-American, where you can find croissant, croque monsieur and crepes alongside pancakes, muffins, cheesecake and club sandwiches. Enjoy a delicious Bloody Mary at Casa Minghetti (piazza Marco Minghetti 2/a), or try the buffet at Saragoza 145 (via Saragozza 145), serving flavorful side dishes with stand-outs such as spicy Champignon, chicken with aioli, noodles, and poached eggs with sausage and peppers.
Finally, if you’d like to treat yourself to something special just outside the city, Palazzo Albergati (via Masini 46, Zola Predosa) is the brunch destination. Located in the Bologna countryside, this grand and noble residence features frescoed ceilings and a gorgeous garden (which is especially beautiful in springtime) and offers a top notch Sunday brunch with dishes such as rice croquettes with wild herbs or gnocchi with monk fish and leeks, in addition to a great selection of meats and cheeses.
Translation by Charlotte Fisher