Our very intention for making a stop in Bologna on our one week rush tour through Northern Italy was so we could eat Spaghetti Bolognese. Haha – yes, a very frivolous notion. The fact is that in Bologna, what we call Spaghetti Bolognese is actually pasta con ragu – pasta with meat sauce. We had not just one pasta con ragu, but several! They were soooo good.
However, we got ourselves so much more than just pasta con ragu. Winning hands down from all the other meals from any other city was this one particular one we had at Drogheria Della Rosa. Once a pharmacy, this rustic eatery is a true local’s favourite. The shelves still adorn jars and bottles from its pharmacy days. It’s location is off the beaten track and to know that we were the only non-locals was a most comforting thought.
This restaurant does not have a written menu. What they serve that particular day is what’s fresh from the market that morning. We arrived rather early by Italian standards, had free choice of tables inside or outside under the covered walkway.
We were served a glass of prosecco (on the house) and waited in anticipation to hear what’s being offered for lunch. The sole waiter went around busy serving all the tables around us, and soon enough, he arrived with a plate of prosciutto, salami, mozzarella and delicious warm bread (also on the house!). Right, this is a good start. We were wondering at that point if we were going to get a chance to order food, or were we going to be eating whatever they brought to us. Sure seems that way, not that we were complaining.
To our relief, the rather frenzied but friendly waiter came to our rescue and told us what was on the menu that day. Everything sounded so good – I couldn’t decide on my secondi (second course) and left it to the waiter to bring me what he thought was good.
We started off with none other than tagliatalle con ragu (gotta try their ragu!) and tortellini in broth. The ragu was meaty and very tasty, with the pasta cooked to perfection. The tortellini was a surprisingly wonderful dish. Little morsels of pasta when bitten into, produced the most delightful flavours of savoury pork and herbs. The broth was clear and simple and brought out the sweetness of the tortellini.
Oh before I forget, I had ordered a glass of red wine to go with my meal and the waiter brought and opened a whole bottle. We got his attention and told him about it, and all he did was shrug and say it’s okay! (Just picture the Italian style waving of arms and shrugging) Talk about taking casual dining to a whole new level.
Now the mains were melt-in-the-mouth veal fillets, cooked two different ways. One of which Paul had ordered – Veal fillet in balsamic sauce and the other was my ‘surprise’ dish.
Fillets of rare veal – cooked crisp on the outside and succulent and tender on the inside. I do not normally like my meat so rare (medium rare at the most) but this was definitely one of my top fave steak dishes ever. So simple, so delicious.
The version with the balsamico – most excellent. With the rich, dark gravy made solely from balsamic vinegar and creme fraise. You’d expect a strong tangy vinegary flavour but to our surprise, the sauce was mellow and creamy and enhanced the perfectly cooked piece of fillet. The super friendly owner, Emanuele Addone popped by for a chat and even gave us tips on how to prepare the balsamic sauce.
If only we had the space for dolci but alas, we lost out on that one. Paul went to foot the bill, and we didn’t know what to expect. That meal could easily have come up to €150 for all we know. The sweet deal was that for all that we ate and drank – it was only €60 for the both of us. Brilliant all round! For anyone heading to Bologna – I highly recommend Drogheria Della Rosa. No regrets making that stopover in Bologna, like EVER!
Drogheria Della Rosa
Via Cartoleria 10