Osteria del Sole.
Built in 1465, Osteria del Sole is easy to miss on the busy Bologna streets, but all you need to do is look for the locals overflowing from a barely noticeable doorway in the midst of tourists walking about the central outdoor market. Inside the osteria, long wooden tables with benches line the cavernous interior, and a family style atmosphere is created every night by the locals. But this isn't just your average osteria. It prides itself on being the last remaining old fashioned osteria - the kind that were everywhere during the renaissance. It's an old style of osteria where you could buy a bottle of wine and BYOF (bring your own food!) to share with your friends, new and old.
Most of the osterias in Bologna today have their own kitchens and are actually very renowned for their cooking and family style eating. But back in the day (and we're talking the Renaissance, here), a night out at the osteria involved dressing up in your best velvet, bringing your own breads, cheeses, olives, cold cuts, pizza, etc., finding an available table (and if not, improvise!), and enjoying local bottles of the Sangiovese wine. Osteria del Sole keeps this tradition alive (minus the velvet).
Our friends who went to university here told us about their classmates who lived in an apartment above Osteria del Sole. Around lunch time they would make a BIG bowl of pasta, and head down to the osteria and share it with whomever was at the bar that afternoon, and graciously be offered wine in return.
Osteria del Sole has quickly become one of our favorite Bologna spots, and I highly recommend a trip but make sure you bring your own food.
Located at Vicolo Ranocchi 1/D
directly off Piazza Maggiore
*call to make reservations for a table