This was my first time to the tiny and underrated Italian city of Bologna, and indeed my first time to indulge into it's local cuisine, namely the spaghetti bolognese. The city is the home of the famed dish, and there is no other better place to try it at than the Trattoria Leonida.
The eatery, which has been delighting diners since 1938, is located on one of the oldest streets in the centre of Bologna, near the magnificent Piazza Santo Stefano. Tucked away neatly in the narrow and quiet lanes behind the Two Towers of Bologna, a group of two medieval structures known as Garisenda and Asinelli, and that are the landmark of the city. As you are walking down the dimly lit lanes, which are paved with original medieval stones, you get the feeling that you are effectively stepping back in time.
While the eatery doesn't offer any magnificent views of Bologna’s red roofs and the hills beyond, the setting is rather romantic as it gives a glimpse into why every evening is fully booked among tourists and the locals.
Should you find yourself craving for an authentic Bolognese, rest assured that you are in the vicinity of culinary greatness. Starters that tickle your taste buds include finely oiled slices of salami and speck bacon and the chicken breast with balsamic vinegar. This should be accompanied with a glass of Veneto: try Amarone 2007 - Villabella. Even for the starters, each plate elicits a slow moan of ecstasy that makes you want more.
For the main course, except for the traditional bolognese which everyone wants to try, opt for something adventurous such as tagliatelle pasta with prosciutto ham and peas. If, however, you really want to have your mind and taste buds blown away, try the slightly heavier wild game specialities, such as local hare with polenta. The polenta balances out the heaviness of the meat. It is one of the most ravishing plates of food you will find anywhere, but the cosy and warm ambiance at Trattoria Leonida is too upbeat to stay staring at your dinner for long.
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