Where to eat outdoors in Bologna: the 7 best places chosen by Gambero Rosso

May 31 2024, 13:18
Bologna en plein air? Beautiful, as long as it's before temperatures rise above tolerable levels. Here are the best places to enjoy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and after-dinner drinks outdoors in the newly started season

In Bologna, the summer heat is never kind, day or night, and when the sun beats down hard, the only refuge is in properly air-conditioned places. That’s why now is the best time to enjoy the Portici - a UNESCO World Heritage site -, the alleys, the gardens, and the surrounding hills in the open air, when the intense heat hasn’t arrived yet and you can dine al fresco without suffering. There are many places offering particularly pleasant settings for outdoor breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, from restaurants to bistros, from hubs to trattorias, and the many kiosks that enliven the city's green spaces. Below are those not to be missed according to us.

Where to eat outdoors in Bologna: the 7 best places chosen by Gambero Rosso


Under the motto of “fun-creativity-flavour,” the teams from Cantina Bentivoglio, Banco 32, and Officina Pinseria have brought the menu to life at DumBo's new concept, replacing La Baia, at the former Ravone freight yard, managed by Open Event. This convivial square will host markets, events, and DJ sets until November, catering to families, music lovers, and of course, food enthusiasts. The menu is extensive: passatelli or fried tortellini, tortellini in a 24-month Parmigiano Reggiano cream, plus pinse, crostoni, platters, fried fish, sardines in saor, and tuna meatballs. To drink, there are craft beers, wines (also by the glass), cocktails, and bitters. Barrio, which opened in April, is open Thursday to Saturday from 7 PM to 1 AM and Sunday from 10 AM to 11 PM.

Barrio Bologna - via Camillo Casarini, 19 - Instagram

Osteria Bartolini

The Bartolini family's Bolognese project, well-known for their seafood-themed restaurants in Cesenatico and Milano Marittima, boasts one of the city's most charming outdoor areas, featuring a majestic ancient plane tree. The menu focuses on traditional Adriatic seafood, with must-try dishes like sardoncini in a pot, vongole (clams), and tagliolini with fish ragù. The fried dishes, such as the boneless "for wanderers," are also a highlight. The youthful and efficient service caters to the high customer flow.

Osteria Bartolini - p.zza Malpighi, 16 - 051 262192 - osteriabartolinibologna.com

Battirame 11

This green space has just launched its fourth season, featuring the Creative Workshop with training courses, workshops, and art sales, a zero-kilometre farmers' market, and aperitifs and dinners that enliven the garden around the farmhouse in the San Donato – San Vitale district. The culinary side is managed by Ingrediente Italia, led by Massimiliano Poggi, in collaboration with the non-profit organization Eta Beta Cooperativa ONLUS, which provides training and professional integration for people in difficulty. The music is provided by students from the Giovan Battista Martini Conservatory. The place is enchanting, and the cuisine, self-described as “differently gourmet” and “value-based,” is guided by Poggi, ensuring plenty of satisfaction. The menu changes weekly, with most ingredients sourced from the cooperative’s urban gardens and local producers and farmers.

Battirame 11 - via del Battirame, 11 - 334 6120997 - Facebook


The Aloe brand shows no signs of slowing down. They recently opened a school for pizzaioli and new locations in Modena, Florence (inside Manifattura Tabacchi), and Rimini, but it all began in Castel Maggiore. In addition to the other venue on via Petroni and the newly inaugurated one on via Murri 71, there’s this location with significant outdoor space that becomes a truly pleasant spot in summer, given the right setting and lighting (weather permitting). It’s also open for lunch and offers pizzas with a well-tested, ultra-light dough available in various types, with seasonal toppings that highlight selected quality ingredients. The crust dippers, served with hummus, salsa verde, aioli, basil pesto with almonds, honey, and ‘nduja, are irresistible for dipping and giving the crust a delicious dignity.

Berberè - p.zza di Porta Saragozza, 6a - 051 0185193 - berberepizza.it

La Bottega di Franco

Just outside the city, in what was once a manor house, La Bottega has been a solid establishment for over forty years. The atmosphere is special, with spacious and diverse areas: there’s a dining room, a flowered garden arranged for the season with a bar counter, a veranda, and even a “treehouse” nearly 4 meters high under large horse chestnuts, made from laminated wood beams and Engadine larch wood, designed according to the principles of bio-architecture for special dinners. The menu ranges from traditional dishes like tagliatelle al ragù to moderate innovations like sea bass ravioli with raw red tuna, lime, Taggiasca olives, capers, turmeric sauce, and quail egg. The pasta and bread are homemade, with considerable attention to high-quality ingredients, favouring short supply chains. Tapas are also available, paired with wines and cocktails.

La Bottega di Franco - via Agucchi, 112 - 051 311243 - labottegadifranco.com

Scacco Matto agli Orti

Scacco Matto, run by the Ferrara brothers, started in 1987 in the historic location on via Broccaindosso in the San Vitale area, becoming an appreciated outpost of mainly Lucanian and Southern cuisine with some fusion touches. It remained stable in that space for nearly thirty years, though it had no outdoor space. Hence, for several seasons, Mario Ferrara temporarily moved here to via della Braina in the summer, where he decided to settle permanently last August. The setting is entirely different, with a 900-square-meter garden filled with vegetables and fruit trees, much of which ends up on the plates, staying true to the house's style.

Scacco Matto agli Orti - via della Braina, 9 - 051 263404 - ristorantescaccomatto.com

Vetro - Le Serre dei Giardini

Thanks to a significant investment aimed at rehabilitating the municipal greenhouses, Kilowatt, with the support of the Region, revitalised this 650-square-meter space within Giardini Margherita. Today, it is a true metropolitan hub designed to promote social inclusion, sharing a wide range of projects, and leisure moments in the green, including a food and wine section. The bistro is called Vetro: you dine right inside or near the greenhouses, sitting on benches, and the cuisine follows the mood of the place, focused on genuineness and mainly vegetarian: torchio spaghetti with tomato, burrata, and basil oil; falafel with yogurt sauce, sesame, cucumber, and pita; oven-baked potatoes with vegan mayo. Drinks include soft drinks, wines, and cocktails. Open from breakfast to dinner.

Vetro - Le Serre dei Giardini c/o Il centro culturale di Kilowatt - via Castiglione, 134 - 351 5219104 - leserredeigiardini.it

cover photo Battirame 11

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