Bakers, historic pastry shops, specialty cafes: there's something for everyone in Bologna. Here are the places to visit to start your day right.

The croissant and cappuccino combo is always a winner, but there are many other offers for breakfast, from filter coffee to international specialties, without forgetting the savoury options. Here’s where to find the best breakfasts in Bologna.

The best breakfasts in Bologna

Gino Fabbri Pasticcere

International awards, prestigious assignments and a ling line of success stories dot the career of the great master Gino Fabbri, one of the founding fathers of modern Italian pastry art. In his bakery located outside of the city centre, he produces and sells sweets of all kinds, one better than the other. Breakfast in the city is unmatched: you can range from impeccable croissants, crumbly and delicious, stuffed with smooth and silky creams, to stuffed calzones, all made with exceptional ingredients. But whatever the choice, from mimi sweets to rice cakes, here you’ll find a tribute to the Bolognese tradition.

Gino Fabbri Pasticcere – via Cadriano, 27 – www.ginofabbri.com 

Forno Brisa

The excellent Brisa bread is now known throughout Italy (also thanks to the latest equity crowdfunding campaign), as well as the pizza baked in a pan and the desserts: ethereal and flaky croissants baked to perfection, fragrant buns and rolls, soft and well-leavened Veneziane pastries. But the young team at the helm of the project has long embraced the world of coffee too, by inserting a dedicated department in the via Castiglione and via San Felice branches. Refined espressos and high-level cappuccinos are the result of careful research and selection of the best beans, supplied by Italian niche coffee roasters. In addition to breakfast pastries, you can have breakfast with crostatas, cookies and other homemade cakes.

Brisa – via Castiglione, 43 – via San Felice, 91 a – fornobrisa.it/ 

Aroma

There is no single way to describe Cristina Caroli and Alessandro Galtieri, a couple in work and in life who for years has been carrying out truly commendable promotion of quality coffee: among the first to invest in specialty coffees in Italy, the two baristas have known how to keep up with the times, focusing more and more on extraction techniques – their espresso and filter coffees are both extraordinary – and on the educated spread of the black gold culture. By organizing events, participating in coffee competitions, creating a true network of enthusiasts and professionals in the sector (a “coffee tribe” as Cristina affectionately renamed it). In their bar, the drinks are made with impeccable technique, accompanied by fine desserts. But Aroma’s strong point remains the service: welcoming, informal, friendly, professional. A coffee bar where you always return with great pleasure.

Aroma – via Porta Nova, 12 b – ilpiaceredelcaffe.it/ 

Caffè Letterario Sebastiano Caridi

Sebastiano Caridi was born into this trade. His surname betrays his Calabrian origins, but the young pastry chef, born in 1988, has long found a home in Faenza. And from last October also in Bologna, within Palazzo Fava, in a museum––Palazzo delle Esposizioni––which as part of the Genius Bononiae circuit, hosts national and international exhibitions. Peak products are the many variations of hot chocolate, paired with mini cakes and homemade desserts. There’s also a wide selection of breakfast pastries, around thirty different ones, including savoury versions. The picture is completed with fruit tartlets, cookies – made with excellent shortcrust pastry that’s crumbly and fragrant – pralines and oven-baked cakes.

Caffè Letterario – Palazzo delle Esposizioni, via Manzoni, 2 – sebastianocaridi.it/ 

Papparè

Many formulas and proposals on offer, which vary with the seasons and which cover the whole day, from breakfast to aperitif time. In the morning you are impressed by the infinite choice of breakfast pastries and desserts at the counter, including brioches, cupcakes garnished with colourful butter creams, donuts, muffins, pancakes and also many savoury options (we loved the toast with scrambled eggs). Then there are the “breakfasts from the world”, which change on rotation, offering each time a taste of foreign cuisines. From the coffee department comes a personalized blend that gives life to fine espresso, and then single origin roasts extracted with the filter method (V60 or Chemex). The cappuccinos and the selection of teas, infusions and herbal teas are also excellent.

Pappare’ – via De’ Giudei, 2 – pappa-reale.it/

Regina di Quadri

We come to Regina di Quadri to indulge in some delicious rule benders, relying on the creations of Francesco Elmi, a talented pastry chef capable of combining inspiration, technique and great ingredients. The morning croissants are exceptional, well made, fragrant and with a melting and fragrant dough made with good butter, as well as Veneziane pastries, soft and enjoyable. For savoury breakfast lovers, there are generously stuffed calzones.

Regina di Quadri – via Castiglione, 73a – www.pasticceriareginadiquadri.it 

Caffè Terzi

Caffè Terzi looks like a place frozen in time, a unique place where the atmosphere of yesteryear contrasts nicely with the young and dynamic coffee proposal. Black gold is the absolute protagonist of the place, present in many Arabica single origins from different locations, extracted both in espresso––good, persistent, balanced––and in filter. Also try the house cappuccinos made ad hoc, with lots of Latte Art decorations, to sip along with croissants, pies and artisan biscuits.

Caffè Terzi – via Guglielmo Oberdan, 10 d – caffeterzi.it/ 

Pallotti

Originally born as a bread baker, this historic place has expanded its offer over the years, coming to boast a varied and interesting assortment, which includes the original vocation but also ranges on other horizons. Among the house specialties are cream-filled––thick and smooth, able to conquer at first bite––and then all the other breakfast pastries, from Trecce to Veneziane, up to fried krapfen, plain and filled with creams and jams. There’s also the classics of the local tradition, such as rice cakes––delicious––and “raviole” with black cherry jam.

Pallotti- via del Borgo di San Pietro, 59 – www.fornopallotti.it

Lampadina Café

This coffee bar has just celebrated its second anniversary and immediately decided to offer a wide and diversified offer, giving plenty of space to coffee. Espresso, marocchinos, filter coffee and cappuccinos are made with single roasts by Terzi, and available in many original variations, with the addition of spices and aromas. The gastronomic front is equallt exciting, with breakfast pastries, pancakes, bagels, sandwiches, toasts and croissants stuffed at the moment with homemade pastry cream.

Lampadina Café – via Barberia, 34 a/b/c – facebook.com/lampadinacafe/ 

Zanarini

Historic and centrally located place, managed with love by the Antoniazzi family, the top name of the Lombardy pastry world (the parent company is in Bagnolo San Vito, in the province of Mantua). The ideal place for a relaxing breakfast, among the well-kept and welcoming decor, enjoying excellent sweet and savoury breakfast pastries. Do not miss tasting the brioche filled with pistachio cream, without forgetting the Veneziane and the entire selection of cookies.

Zanarini – p.zza Galvani, 1 – www.antoniazzi.biz 

Gamberini

Coffee bar and pastry shop that plunges its roots in the early 20th century, a period of which it has maintained style and charm. A place with a retro atmosphere where you can stop to taste one of the many sweet creations, from croissants to shortbread cookies, passing through pastries and cakes, paired with a good cup of espresso or a creamy and balanced cappuccino. All served with great courtesy and speed, even in times of bigger crowds.

Gamberini – via U. Bassi, 12 – gamberini.eu/ 

by Michela Becchi