It seems like this cosy little osteria is one of the most universally loved places I have ever read about, sadly I don’t think I can agree. It’s certainly cheap and cheerful, and in its defence the staff and atmosphere are great too, but if your’re looking for good Bolognese food, I would recommend paying a little bit extra and going somewhere else.
Located in the historic centre, not far from the university, Osteria dell’Orsa is a firm favourite with the locals, particularly the students. And it’s not hard to see why, its always busy, there is a great atmosphere and the food is really cheap. But if you’re only in Bologna for a few days I really think it’s worth paying a little bit extra and going somewhere a little bit better.
Inside, the layout is simple, there are big, long wooden tables scattered around the old 15th century building and there’s a great mix of people from all walks of life sitting eating together. There’s also a big outdoor section which has a similar communal vibe going on.
But aside from this I found the food a big let down, the meat was overcooked and bland, and the ragu bolognese was very disappointing. There was no depth of flavour, no richness, no texture, it was a shame, I genuinely wanted to like the place and my first impressions were good but they didn’t last.
Ending on a positive note, the portions are very generous and the prices are very reasonable, especially by typical Bologna standards which are generally quite high. Expect to pay around 15 euros for a bowl of pasta, a main course and a glass of wine, just don’t expect it to taste that good.
Meal and wine for two: £20
Address: 1/F Via Mentana, 40126 Bologna
Website: Osteria dell’Orsa
Open: Mon-Sun 12:30pm-1:30am kitchen closes at 12:30am