Ristorante Montegrappa da Nello (Italian) – Bologna, Italy

Ristorante Montegrappa da Nello has been serving classic ‘cucina Emiliana’ (Bologna is located in the Emilia-Romagna region) since 1948. It was added to the Bologna restaurant shortlist after some intensive online research, and it was the fifth restaurant that we visited on our eating trip last month. see also : Corner Fish Grill was Finally Open!

When we arrived for our 8pm reservation, the restaurant wasn’t very busy. As it got busier though, more and more well-dressed, older Italians arrived for dinner, and by the time we left at 9.30, it was almost packed. There were hardly any tourists though. Even though all the restaurants on the shortlist were found online, we were quite surprised by the lack of tourists at each venue.

We sat downstairs in the main restaurant. It’s quite an interesting layout, as there are various alcoves and sections which provide the diner with more privacy and intimacy. It’s a large space, but it doesn’t feel like it, and there are old menus from other restaurants and in other languages displayed on the walls. The waiters, all male, and at least in their mid-50s, were friendly and welcoming, and ours spoke some English.

The menu is in both Italian and English, but the daily specials (for example tortelloni verde Montegrappa) are in Italian only. As with the previous evening at Caminetto D’Oro, I wasn’t that hungry, having had the lunch of my life at Meloncello just hours before. Even the trek to San Luca and down again hadn’t helped to work it off. see also : Breakfast at The Old Vine Café

What we ordered:

But I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to try the restaurant’s signature dish, tortellini Montegrappa, which is served with two sauces, cream and ragu (9.50 Euros). Vegetarian husband chose the tortelloni burro e oro, with a butter and tomato sauce (9.50 Euros). He also ordered the caprese salad (7.50 Euros), while I couldn’t resist the braciola di vitello ai forni, grilled veal chop (12 Euros). A half bottle of the local Sangiovese (Tenuta Amalia) would wash down the meal.

My signature dish did not live up to my expectations. The tortellini was too al dente for my liking, while there was not enough sauce, but again, it’s probably just me, as I like plenty of sauce with my pasta. But it was interesting to have two types of sauce, the general cream sauce, then a dollop of ragu in the centre.

In contrast, vegetarian husband couldn’t stop raving about his tortelloni, to the extent that I wished I had ordered it too. Memorable quotes include: ‘This is one of the best tortelloni I’ve ever had’ (high praise indeed, as he used to live in Italy), ‘It was perfect, didn’t need salt and pepper’ and ‘I’ll remember it always’! He also said that had we not researched da Nello beforehand, he would never have walked in off the street to eat there.

The mozzarella salad was very fresh, as was to be expected, while my grilled veal chop with chips was delicious! The meat was soft and tender, and full of flavour. For a change, we skipped dessert, as nothing really appealed, and had coffee only.

The verdict?

The meal came to a very reasonable 54 Euros without service. Situated off Via dell’Independenza in the heart of Bologna, Montegrappa da Nello is convenient. I’m not sure if we’d return again, simply because there are so many other restaurants I want to try in Bologna (I’ve already compiled the list for the next trip). Also, there was very little for vegetarians to choose from in the mains section of the menu. But if you’re after the classics, and you’re not vegetarian, this is not a bad place to start!

Have a look at the summary of our trip and other restaurant recommendations in Where To Eat In Bologna

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