We tried the historic Trattoria Gianni, in the oldest area of Bologna, to see if the name “à la vécia Bulàgna” really promises: our review.
Walking through the streets of the center of Bologna you will find yourself passing through some streets that have names of ancient trades that took place in the mercantile heart of the city: via Orefici, via Drapperie, via Pescherie Vecchie, vicolo dei Ranocchi, via Caprarie which are all located in the area known as the “Quadrilatero”. Even today this is the seat of old shops of fruit and vegetables, fresh pasta, meat, cheeses and, of course, cured meats. Here is also via clavature which, as the name suggests, housed the manufacturers of keys and locks, where at the end of a narrow dead end, there is the Trattoria Gianni “À la vécia Bulàgna”, which opened in the late 1950s and has never stopped offering exquisitely Petronian cuisine ever since.
The interiors, all vaulted and low arches with thick walls, betray the structure of the medieval service rooms, unfortunately hidden under a thick coat of plaster and a modern brick cladding that runs along the half-height walls like a boiserie.
The menu it is all included in the strict Bolognese orthodoxy with very few deviations such as the patanegra lard served with the hot croutons that we decide to take, together with the mortadella mousse and the slice of grilled mortadella with balsamic vinegar.
In general, none of the appetizers are completely convincing, but for different reasons: the lard is of excellent quality, but it is served excessively cold and the toast does not have the temperature sufficient to melt it and it is a shame because nothing really would have been enough. more. The mortadella mousse, on the other hand, lacks an excess of cream which makes it heavy and blunts the aromas of the salami that should prevail together with that of the parmesan, finally the grilled mortadella is excessively thin and very little grilled, while there is also balsamic vinegar. too much. Speaking of grilled mortadella: if you’ve never tried it, do it, better on coals, but it’s also good on the grill, you won’t regret it.
On the first courses it goes much better with good tortellini in a more than honest broth and even with parmesan cream they defend themselves well. Unlike other restaurants where the cream is made up of a sort of salty zabaglione, in this case it is simply cream with a considerable amount of Parmesan and the effect is really greedy, even if it can be a bit heavy when it comes to the end of range.
The really convincing part comes on the main courses with a wonderful Bolognese schnitzel as it once was and is now found more and more rarely. Let me explain: many today interpret the Bolognese as a Milanese on the bone to which ham and Parmesan are superimposed, but in reality the Bolognese cutlet has always been without a handle and with a much smaller thickness than the breaded “Florentine” they see around (for heaven’s sake, very good, at least for me). Others, perhaps too many, have remained stuck in the eighties and do not give up a few spoonfuls of cream to make the cheese creamier (not that there is anything wrong, as long as you use a little moderation) while Gianni’s is really the cutlet “à la vécia Bulàgna”, thin, well breaded, soft, with an extremely balanced taste, almost delicate, if this term can be used for one of the most volitive preparations of Emilian cuisine. Too bad that neither roast potatoes nor mashed potatoes are up to par, while such a dish would have deserved a respectable accompaniment.
Also appreciated are the liver in marsala with raisins and pine nuts, marked on the blackboard as out of the menu, and the baked ham, soft and juicy, but the preference is absolutely to boiled meat, served in more than abundant portions with the canonical cuts: hat del prete, head, cotechino, meatloaf, tongue and hen. In my opinion, only the “milk” or cow’s udder is missing, but I’m a nostalgic pain in the ass and nobody listens to me anymore, so what can I tell you to do? The dish is served with a good, sweet and balanced friggione, green sauce and a traditional fruit mustard. In short, it will not be the boiled meat cart, but a dish like this does not make you miss it.
Also on the desserts we go to the classic with the inevitable English soup in “tile” format, or the more compact version that is composed inside a plumcake mold in which the ladyfingers abundantly soaked in alchermes prevail, while the good creams would have required a little more breathing room. The cream ice cream served in two versions is good: with sour cherries in syrup (also called “Sunday”) and with balsamic vinegar poured over it, which is best expressed in other restaurants in the city.
Trattoria Gianni is a historic restaurant that boasts some excellent traditional Bolognese dishes, in particular the meat main courses. Undoubtedly it represents a piece of cooking history and the very central position it has occupied for almost seventy years is there to prove it. It would take very little to bring the place back to the top of the peaks it deserves, which are instead reached by the bill, equal to many other restaurants in the city.
- excellent schnitzel in true “old style” as you see very few
- mixed boiled meat is recommended
- appetizers and side dishes could be more accurate
- the bill is comparable to many other downtown restaurants