If you like jazz then you will enjoy eating at the Cantina Bentivoglio. On its website it is described as a ristorante, osteria, enoteca and Jazz club and it is all those things. We visited when the Bologna Jazz Festival was on and enjoyed the music of Jimmy Villotti whilst we sampled the local Bolognese tasting menu. The Cantina has jazz all year round though, so whenever you visit you should have a great evening.
For the first course we had the favourite ham of Bologna, mortadella. This was served with two Tigelle – local flatbreads that have been made for centuries in this region. Their name comes from the mould in which they are cooked. As they are thicker than normal flat breads they have a satisfying crunch and go well with the thin slices of spicy mortadella.
Next we sampled a tagliatelle al ragu’ alla Bolognese and some tortelloni. The ragu’ was porky and salty on a thin, yellow tagliatelle. This is the signature creation of Bologna and it was very good, the different meats in the sauce all combining to give a delicious taste. It was very different to what is called ragu’ in the UK. The tortelloni was served in a burro and salvia sauce – sage and butter – al dente and bringing a sense of occasion to a plate of pasta.
By now I was feeling pretty full, which was a shame as the next course was braised beef in a local San Giovese wine.
Served with four over-sized chips on a bed of polenta it was tender and utterly moreish. You know when meat is so soft it doesn’t need a knife? It was just like that, served with a glass of spicy San Giovese. The band came back on stage and Jimmy’s fast fingers picked out a tune on the guitar whilst the double bass pounded out a line and the sax waited for his solo.
I was wondering whether I’d have room for pudding. I wanted to, the menu was full of temptations, but I was annoyingly just too full. I decided on a lemon sorbet, light and enticing, but when Marta came and asked what we’d like I couldn’t believe what I heard myself saying…
‘No thanks, I can’t manage any more’.
I could hardly believe it, but it was true. Instead of eating more we sat and finished our wine listening to the jazz. The music is in the large basement where the diners create a buzz of excitement, applauding the solos and enjoying the food. I still regret not being able to eat that pudding. I bet it was delicious.
For more details and to check who is playing click here.
Via Mascarella 4/8
We were guests of BolognaWelcome when we visited Cantina Bentivoglio
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