July 21, 2024

Gary’s Milano & Bologna Food Recommendations

Recommendations for Milano and Bologna

If you drive anywhere, you must stop at some AutoGrills along the highway. They are rest areas with cheap fantastic food and crazy items for sale.


Our favorite restaurant in Milan is Da Oscar. It is not to be missed. You should go as often as you can.

There is no way to book online. You need to show up. Lunch and after 9 PM are your best chance without a reservation. Get the Veal Milanese and Penne alla Oscar to share. As Maria, Oscar’s daughter asked me the first time I went there alone, “Would you like a half portion? A full one is impossible.” Get a bottle of the house wine with Il Duce on the label. I am not making this up. If you go around 9 PM for dinner, you’re likely to encounter the roving musicians.


Lunch – Salsamenteria di Parma

Wine in bowls. Fantastic meats and cheeses. (Culatello is the Rolls Royce of Prosciutto) and agnolotti in brodo. Not far from the Duomo.


There are amazing street food, pizza, gelato, and chocolate shops 2 minutes from the Duomo within 50 yards of this legend. Be sure to wander a block or two away from the Duomo (or any popular area in Italy) to find great treasures.


Breakfast or snacks – An unbelievably fantastic bakery – Zuccerho e Sale


We bought about 4X more pastries than we needed most days. Go every day.

Italian diner – Ristorante Pizzeria Rosy e Gabriele

We LOVE this place. It’s open past midnight and has a big menu, bar, fresh seafood, and woodfired oven pizza. Imagine a NJ diner in Milan with waiters in bow ties, killer pizza, and a lobster tank.


Some photos…

During lunch, Oscar, proprietor of da Oscar restaurant decided to either show off his grenade or clear tables. 

Wine in bowls at Salsamenteria di Parma

Half order of Veal Milanese at da Oscar – to die for

The band that wanders in most nights to play a medley of Italian hits

An order of penne alla Oscar

Paper thin veal – only place I eat it (da Oscar)


Trattoria dal Biassanot – Cucina della Tradizione Bolognese

Make multiple reservations the minute you get to Bologna. This is our favorite restaurant (dinner – lunch too most days) Tell the male waiters I sent you. Seriously!

They let you book online now!!!!!


The greatest sandwich shop on earth. It will take your breath away. https://www.panotto.eu/

Pan8 (pronounced Pan-oato)

Tiny place with a few tables in the street. Spectacular meat and cheese boards and the best sandwiches I have ever eaten in my life. I dream of the Bulagna panini – chicken cutlet, prosciutto, homemade cheese sauce. Off Piazza Magiore

PAN8 panini e taglieri a Bologna

Simoni Laboratorio – lunch or dinner

The best meat/cheese/antipasto place on the planet. Great for lunch or dinner. Good place to buy Balsamic vinegar and cheese to take home. Even Stanley Tucci takes our advice and recommends it. Buy Balsamic Vinegar here to bring home or use as gifts. In the ancient market off of Piazza Maggiore– check out the bakeries there too. https://www.yelp.com/biz/simoni-laboratorio-bologna

Simoni Laboratorio – Bologna, BO

Cremeria Cavour

Gelato that will change your life. Open late. I went after 11 PM six nights/weekAccept no substitutes. It is seriously worth the 5 minute walk from Pizza Maggiore. The squares around it are fantastic too.  https://www.cremeriacavour.it/en/

Marsalino – Wine bar with great cheap pasta across the street from our apartment, right near The Cat. We recently started eating here regularly. It is fantastic and really down market.

Via Marsala, 13d, 40126 Bologna, Italy

We also like…
Trattoria da Giampi e Ciccio
 – another traditional trattoria.


Ristorante San Pietro  – white tablecloth nice restaurant with good food and pizza


Trattoria La Montanara – Sylvia LOVES this little restaurant.


Sfoglia Rina – homemade pasta and bakery with a few tables and take out


You can’t go wrong eating anywhere in Bologna, but “The Cat (Biassanot) is truly special. Pan8 and Simoni are home to the best antipasti and panini I’ve ever had.