Bologna is known for its covered porticoes, but also its outdoor dining in graceful courtyards or gardens. Here are the best restaurants for dining al fresco.

Be it the fair weather, or the post-Covid directives, the fact remains that the desire to eat al fresco is increasing. We’ve selected the best restaurants in Bologna with a garden or a simple patio.

 Acqua Pazza

One of the city landmarks for fine seafood cuisine. And it’s Francesco Carboni himself, chef and owner of this welcoming place with pleasant outdoor seating area, who selects the excellent fish seafood and who cooks it with respect and inspiration. In beautiful presentations, oysters land at the table, excellent raw fish, seafood salads, followed by spaghetti alla chitarra with mantis shrimp and prawns plus oven roasted catch of the day with potatoes.

via A. Murri, 168d – 051 443422 – www.acquapazzabologna.it

 Botanica Lab

Opened four years ago, this place takes inspiration from the dictates of guru Matthew Kenney, offering raw food and plant based cuisine. The mastermind behind the project is Anna Artesiani, a former raw food pastry chef who decided to dedicate herself to an all-round offer. Open kitchen, minimalistic decor and a few outdoor tables, and a menu that tries to challenge the iconic Bolognese dishes, tortellini and mortadella in the first place. On the table you’ll find wholemeal pasta with seasonal vegetables; the “Buddha Bow” with grains, legumes, vegetables and nuts; gnocchi with artichoke and crispy leeks, and quinoa burgers. Do not miss the raw desserts, such as the fruit or chocolate cheesecake.

via Battibecco, 4/c – 3428606026 – www.botanicalab.com

 Camera con Vista

The view overlooking Piazza Santo Stefano is beautiful. The bistro is located within the historic Palazzo Isolani, where guests can bask in a suggestive atmosphere thanks to the furnishings coming from all over Europe. The kitchen, open for lunch and dinner, offers a very refined menu, also as far as the presentation, ranging from a guinea fowl salad with hazelnuts, miso, chanterelles and curly lettuce; potato ravioli with ricotta, shallots, lime, sage and green pepper, and the glazed eggplant. To be enjoyed at outdoor tables, overlooking the beautiful square known by all as “the Seven Churches”.

via Santo Stefano, 14 – 051224268 – www.cameraconvista.it

 Cuoco di Latta

For the past year a Piedmontese heart has been beating in the city, just outside the centre, a place where veal with tuna sauce, agnolotti del plin with Castelmagno mountain pasture cheese and summer savory or the “modern boiled meats” do not make you regret the joys of the most typical local specialties. You can also opt for the two tasting menus: one priced at €45 and the other at €65 (focus on black truffle). They also offer great aperitivo.

via L. Marenzio, 1 – 051 4857811 – cuocodilatta.com

 Fourghetti

It could be just the showroom of one of the most well-known celebrity TV chefs, but this place opened in summer 2017 by Bruno Barbieri is much more. A renovated historic inn made into a concept that includes a restaurant, bistro, inn and even excellent cocktails. On the cuisine front guests can start with cured meats, fried crescentine and squacquerone cheese, and continue with excellent tortellini sautéed in a parmigiano and nutmeg fondue, or choose pasta with potatoes and provola cheese topped with shrimp tartare. Among the main courses, there’s seafood stew with redfish steak or roasted suckling pig with mustard, dried broad bean puree and confit tomatoes. The venue is beautiful, enhanced by the murals by the artist Afran, and in addition to the internal garden, this year they also inaugurated a new outdoor area in the shade of via Murri.

via A. Murri, 71 – 051391847 – www.fourghetti.com

 Al Pappagallo

In a fourteenth-century palace, this historical restaurant, once frequented and loved by celebrities and artists, has been living a renaissance for a couple of years thanks to owners Elisabetta and Michele who today renew the tradition with touches of measured creativity and with prime quality ingredients. Dishes like tortellini are really super here: classic in double capon and beef broth, or tiny “golden drop” style in Parmigiano Reggiano milk cream. Meats and charcuterie are first choice, think veal cutlet served on the bone, which is not to be missed.

piazza della Mercanzia, 3c – 051232807 – www.alpappagallo.it

 Trattoria Pane e Panelle

A veritable secret garden kept in the courtyard of the local in via San Vitale, under the arcades that lead to one of the exit gates of the medieval city. Luca Pappalardo is at the helm of the kitchen, commander of what is proudly defined as a “different trattoria” (which reaches out to all kinds of diversity), closer to the Sicilian chef’s Mediterranean roots than to the Bolognese matrix. But beyond the labels, the cuisine of Pane e Panelle is inspired by the instinct of a chef skilled in handling ingredients (especially seafood, of which everything is reused, from heads to entrails) thus minimizing waste, serving dishes that are therefore never banal. The atmosphere is relaxed typical of popular taverns, inviting guests to share a round of “nicareddi” – proposed in small plates, to taste a bigger variety – or to enjoy a relaxed lunch in the garden, that’s also open for aperitif hour, from 6pm, with a selection of wines from the Lortica wine shop and delights from the kitchen (also available for delivery). Best to book ahead.

via San Vitale, 71 – 051270440 – www.paneepanelletrattoria.it 

 Osteria Bartolini

In Bologna there is the sea, which is invisible but available to eat. It happens in the Bolognese outpost of the Bartolini family from Cesenatico (ex Osteria del Gran Fritto, with a third venue in Milano Marittima). It’s a symbol of Adriatic cuisine in Romagna, which has brought winds of iodine to Bologna in a modern and comfortable environment with a magnificent garden, at the heart of which sits a centuries-old plane tree, the mascot of the house, a cool refuge for the torrid summers of the city. On the menu the best of the best of the littoral tradition (don’t ask for spaghetti with seafood!) and first choice catch of the day: poverazze alla marinara, pan fried sardines, tagliolini with white fish ragout, skewers of squid and grilled prawns or their famous fish fry.

piazza Malpighi, 16 – 051262192 – www.osteriabartolini.com

 Scaccomatto agli Orti

A regular appointment for Bologna summer that transfers Mario Ferrara’s cuisine to the gardens of via della Braina until September, but only for three days a week. The context is particularly suggestive of a 17th-century courtyard hidden from view, which has preserved the memory of a medieval conventual garden. Dinner includes a set menu, always different, according to the chef’s inspiration (? Euro per person). Devono ancora rispondermi

via della Braina, 7 – 051 263404 – www.facebook.com/scaccomattoagliorti

Vetro alle Serre

A place born from a redevelopment project and soon turned into one of the most popular meeting points for young people. 650 square meters of coworking spaces for exhibitions, events, offices and of course the bistro, where guests come for a quick breakfast, but also a more slower one during the weekend, for lunch, for a snack or an aperitif, to be enjoyed al fresco. The dishes are simple and genuine, in which often the vegetables from the garden are the protagonists, growing in the area of what were once the ornamental plant nurseries of the Margherita Gardens.

via Castiglione, 134 – 370 3336439 – vetro.kilowatt.bo.it – chiude alle 18.00

Vicolo Colombina

Adjacent to the cathedral of San Petronio, this beautiful place, equipped with a patio, is a safe bet thanks to the cuisine that starts from tradition and territory but revisits both concepts with interesting creative ideas using prime quality ingredients (Massimiliano Poggi’s touch is evident, he offers his advice here and further investigates the Bolognese culinary tradition). On the menu, therefore, tortellini in broth, tagliatelle with ragù or lasagna with white ragù, but also raw Piedmontese fassona meat tartare with potato mayonnaise or vegetarian proposals.

vicolo Colombina, 5b – 051233919 – www.vicolocolombina.it

 by Annalisa Zordan