Brunch is a decidedly North American and English tradition. You wake up late on a Sunday, you want to eat breakfast, but it’s getting close to noon. So why not combine both meals and create the masterpiece known as brunch?
Italians are not big breakfast eaters in general. But as the world gets smaller and more people travel, things like brunch begin to gain traction in places like Bologna. In a true foodie city, it’s no surprise that the places that do offer brunch here, do it right.
Here are some of my favorite brunch spots in Bologna:
- Papparé – Via De’ Giudei, 2, 40126 Bologna BO
- Zoo – Strada Maggiore, 50/a, 40125 Bologna BO
- Rodolfo – Via Caldarese, 2, 40125 Bologna BO
- Vetro – Via Castiglione, 134, 40136 Bologna BO
- Lampadina – Via Barberia, 34, 40123 Bologna BO
- Camera a Sud – Via Valdonica, 5, 40126 Bologna BO
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This centrally located cafe is vegan and vegetarian friendly. The staff are very nice and welcoming and many of them speak some English. The Sunday brunch crowd is a mix of locals and tourists as this is a popular spot with both. Brunch is served only on Sundays and holidays from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.. On Sundays you must be seated by a hostess. Get there early, right when they open, or late around 12:30 pm as they do not take reservations.
The food here is superb! My absolute favorite is their plain avocado toast. It’s anything but plain, but compared to the other avocado toasts which are loaded with other toppings, it’s simple. But the real pièce de résistance at Papparé brunch is the American Breakfast. It is about as close to an American diner breakfast as you are going to get here in Bologna. A huge spread complete with pancakes doused in maple syrup.
Zoo is located off of Strada Maggiore, one of the main arteries of the city. They are best known for their baked goods and bagels. If you have a sweet tooth, this is the place to go! They have quite a big variety of flavors and toppings. But actually one of my favorite offerings here is their burger. It is very good on a nice flavorful bun. They offer a fixed price menu for brunch.
The location is pretty big with lots of seating. But be warned that it is a popular location among students who like to linger with their laptops so a table can be hard to find. The staff are warm and friendly and speak English. The interior has the vibe of a Seattle/Portland coffee shop with eclectic decorations and cute little nick-nacks for sale.
Zoo is animal and kid friendly.
What a lovely quaint little shop! This cafe is located on a small quiet side street off of Strada Maggiore not far from Le Due Torri. Inside the cafe is pretty spacious with a small counter serviced by a couple of smiling baristas. The cafe has ample seating and I even saw people working on their computers there. The cafe takes reservations, which is a huge plus as brunch crowds can be overwhelming.
I ordered the fixed brunch menu that is a bit pricey but comes with a lot of food. I am a true avocado lover and will eat it on anything. The menu also came with coffee, juice, water, two sides and a dessert. I couldn’t finish it all even after sitting there for over 2 hours. So my advice is to come hungry!
Giardini Margherita park is the weekend hotspot during the day, hence this beautiful cafe fills up very quickly. I really like this spot because it’s unique. The cafe is in this little tucked away corner of the park with cool sunken in tables and lots of outdoor seating. This cafe is popular and does not take reservations but because there’s so much seating, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a table.
Vetro is one of the better known vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Bologna. The restaurant is close to green houses where they grow the produce used in their meals. They have unique dishes that change with the seasons. I’ve had salads there, gnocchi with cheese sauce, veggie burgers, and a nice warm autumnal soup made with pumpkin and rice. The free wifi means that many people linger and work on their laptops on a nice sunny day. So bring your laptop and your appetite!
This cute little corner cafe is a brightly lit coffee lover’s paradise. They offer brunch everyday until 3pm which is unlike many other places which only offer it on Sundays or before 12:00 p.m. only. I ordered the avocado toast and with salmon. At our table we also had avocado toast with eggs and bacon and some sweet pancakes. The toast was a dark bread, with a light flavor; the toppings were very fresh and worked well together.
This cafe is known for its variety of coffee options. Their specialty is the “Lampuccino” which is a very sweet and milky take on the classic cappuccino. They classify their coffee based on how it’s prepared, siphon, moka, or pour over. The pour over method is closest to the classic American style “drip” coffee. Siphon coffee is a new style of preparation that you see in a lot of “trendy” coffee shops in North America. Moka is closest to the classic Italian preparation.
Camera a Sud
Watch out or you’ll miss this place! The entrance is just a small little doorway under a portico in the Jewish Ghetto. This area of the city is a very historic part of Bologna. The Jewish Ghetto in Bologna was one of the biggest ghettos in Italy and was very vibrant for many years. Now it is open to everyone and is home to a lot of great cafes, restaurants and shops. Camera a Sud is an eclectic place that feels like a vintage shop that decided to sell coffee one day. They only serve brunch on Sundays.
The fixed menu has everything you can think of for brunch plus a juice or coffee. I had the avocado club sandwich with egg. The bread was brown and very hearty, but the flavor didn’t overpower the rest of the sandwich. The brunch plate included, eggs and bacon, beans in tomato sauce, small club sandwich, potatoes, large stuffed mushroom, a mini quiche, sausage and a dessert pancake at the end. Definitely come hungry! They had two fixed options for brunch, the classic option I described and a vegetarian option which is just as large but with slightly different options.