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.
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
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
Gelato that will change your life. Open late. I went after 11 PM six nights/week. Accept 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.
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is the author of Twenty Things to Do with a Computer – Forward 50, co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.