Spaghetti Bolognese is a staple of many households around the world. Few people know that the dish served up in the UK, Australia or America is actually very different from one served in Bologna, where it originated.

The original dish is known as tagliatelle al ragu Bolognese and is served with tagliatelle (thick flat pasta) rather than spaghetti. The sauce (known as ragu) features meat much more prominently than tomato, and is therefore richer and less acidic.

We tried it at Osteria dell’ Orsa in Bologna old town, which according to the locals, is one of the most authentic places to try it.


Review of Osteria dell’Orsa

Overall rating: 4 out of 5

Value for money: 5

Ambience: 4

Taste: 4

First of all, this place is busy. We visited it for lunch, passing a lot of empty restaurants on the way. When we arrived, at around 1pm on Sunday, there was already a queue out the door. We didn’t have a booking.

Fortunately they put us on the waiting list and we were able to drink at the bar next door, where they collected us after 20 minutes. I recommend the Martini Spritz, tangy and ice cold.

The menu is in Italian only, which adds to the authenticity of the place. A lot of the other patrons were Italian, another good sign.

We ordered the Caprese salad to share (which was good as it was massive) and the tagliatelle al ragu Bolognese as main.

The bolognese ragu was meaty and sweet. The texture is just how I like my martini’s: wet but not too wet.

The total bill came to €24 for two including a bottle of still water to drink. Much less expensive than other restaurants in Venice and Rome, where similar quantities of less tasty food are served.

Why do I not rate the restaurant 5 stars? It just didn’t blow my mind. The flavour just isn’t up there with the likes of Raymond Blanc or Heston. Although for the price point perhaps that should be expected.

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