Dining Review: Oltre – Bologna, Italy
One of our top dinner spots was All’Osteria Bottega. We arrived around 7PM, an hour before opening, to try and reserve a spot. We were unable to get in touch with someone so we decided to find a wine bar to kill the time and be there for the open at 8PM to get a table.
It was 8:03PM and both dinning rooms at All’Osteria Bottega were completely packed with people. Kevin and I both looked at each other completely stunned.. They were open for three minutes! Where did all these people come from? We were told they could seat up at 9:30PM and would be the same tomorrow night as well. They did try and find us a spot but it just did not exist. Deflated, we walked away wondering what our options were. 1) take the 9:30PM slot and chill at the wine bar (not terrible but we were exhausted) 2) find another restaurant. Guess there were not that many options (haha!). We called Osteria da 15 and they also could not seat us tonight… at all. Okayyyyy. With that I only had one more star’ed location on the map – Oltre. I found Oltre through Instragram as a more upscale interpretation of traditional dishes. Kevin didn’t find it that appealing so I had it last on the list. Kevin called and of course they had availability. We booked it and hoped for the best. I had concerns since the other places we wanted to go had no openings but Oltre could fit us in… I guess secretly I was willing to wait out here at Bottega until 9:30PM and kick up back at the wine bar but we gave this a chance.
Then we arrived to Oltre. We could not find the entrance and ended up behind the dining room and noted three tables filled out of many twenty. My heart sunk. We could not waste a meal here! Two bad signs I was not feeling it. We stood outside for a few minutes when a younger Italian couple got out of a cab and walked into Oltre. I know it should not have, but Kevin and I felt more confident knowing that a younger Italian couple took a cab just to eat here (lol). We walked in and were seated in the dark dining room.
Ordering alcohol here was interesting. We were handed a cocktail list, then after asking we got a wine list but only by the bottle, when finally we got a daily wine by the glass list – both the ones we ended up with were excellent.
We were brought out bread and olive oil that we saved for “scarpetta – ing” the sauce but we did not have to wait long – the food arrived extremely fast!
I ordered the Tortellini in crema di Parmigiano 24 mesi and Kevin went with the Tagliatelle al ragu battuto al coltello.
Both were very generous sizes for an “upscale” restaurant and not unreasonably priced. The meat filled tortellini swimming in a pool of 24 month melted Parmigiano was just delightful! It was not as heavy as a cheese cream sauce may appear but it certainly was filling given all the pasta on the plate. Kevin also really enjoyed his dish – traditional flavors with the tender meat ragu that he adores.
Dessert was certainly tempting so we each got one we would split – the Mascarpone con scaglie di cicoccolato fonfente and Tortino al cicocolato fondente su crema inglese.
The mascarpone with pieces of dark chocolate had not right to be the favorite dessert we walked away from Bologna with. Simple, fresh, incredible. Just look at the color – it is yellow! Mascarpone just never tasted like this… ever. It was creamy but not too sweet – the perfect balance. And the bitterness of dark chocolate paired so well with the creaminess.
The other was a standard chocolate lava cake which do not get me wrong it was delicious but we were so surprised but the mascarpone we could not stop talking about it (or licking the bowl).
While the pastas were well priced, we were taken aback by the final bill. There was a bit too much nickel and diming without disclosure. A steep coperto, six euro for the bread that was mandatory (and we have never seen a charge for bread before as a separate line item), and over double what the going rate for water is, it was disappointing that overall it was overpriced for what we got. It was a delicious meal but bang for buck is not good here at all. The meal worked for the evening, especially since we struggled to find someone to let us in to eat – the food was not bad, it was quite good but not for the amount of money they are charging.