Restaurant Review: Vicolo Colombina

On our second day in Bologna, Alessandro and I ate at Vicolo Colombina for lunch. This restaurant was actually a second choice, as our first was completely booked for the day. On the upscale side, Vicolo Colombina is located in the historical city center of Bologna and features traditional cuisine with a modern twist. I would rate the restaurant as being above average, with very high quality food and attentive service. Despite this, something was missing from the food. Not sure what that something is, but it was definitely missing.



Keeping with the theme of complimentary small plates (perhaps this restaurant took notes from Fourghetti), we were offered a bruschetta topped with a sauce of eggplant, onions, and tomatoes that had marinated for many hours. It was tasty, but nothing special. I think a more pungent eggplant flavor would have made the sauce more standout.



The appetizer was a soufflé of potatoes and mortadella paired with parmesan mousse and finished with balsamic vinegar. This plate was very tasty but it did not “wow” me. The soufflé could’ve been more flavorful and the balsamic used more strategically. I definitely noticed a difference in the quality of the vinegar in comparison to other regions of Italy, however (balsamic vinegar originates in the city of Modena, which is very close to Bologna). The parmesan mousse had a nice texture but lacked the salty bite that is typical of the cheese.

Primi Piatti 

These were the best part of the meal. On the left is Alessandro’s choice: cheese tortelli with toasted almonds in cream of peas (he was generous enough to give me a bite). The pasta was homemade and flavorful; the peas complimented the tangy cheese filling nicely. The almonds were a nice accompaniment, but I think pumpkin seeds would have been a better complement. 

On the right is what I ordered: lasagna au gratin with “white meat of the pasture.” Unlike your typical lasanga, this one was without tomatoes or beef. The fresh pasta and most-likely-local meat made it memorable. The layers of cheese added richness. I think a stronger use of herbs would have made it extra-special, but overall this lasanga was very good and a creative twist on the classic version.

Secondo Piatto


The main dish that we shared was beef tenderloin with roasted potatoes. This was a very good cut of meat, but certainly not the best steak I’ve ever eaten. I do admire how generous the portion was for €20; it was a healthy amount of food for the two of us to enjoy. The seasonings were OK; a little bit too salty and nothing extra special. I understand that the meat was intended to be the highlight, but it was inadequate without something more. A sauce, more herbs, or other side dish might have made it better.

Overall Impressions:

  • local, high-grade food
  • menu is both creative and classic
  • a little on the pricey side for what’s offered
  • very good eatery, but I was not “wowed”

The Verdict



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