Posted by: debrakolkka | February 27, 2011


Pappagallo means parrot

Pappagallo is a famous Bologna restaurant. It has been around since 1919 and is pretty good at blowing its own trumpet. This is what it says on the menu. ” On these historic premises in the not too distance past the tradition of Italian Haute Cuisine reached its highest pinnacle.”  It goes on, but I won’t.

inside the restaurant

inside the restaurant

The walls of the restaurant are lined with photos of the famous people who have visited in the last 90 years, princes, artists, celebrities. The service is a bit stuffy, particularly the older waiter who takes the orders. I had the distinct feeling he had wanted the night off, or perhaps I needed to be famous. The young man who carried the food to the table was more pleasant.

I thought the food was OK, but not quite the pinnacle of haute cuisine. I had tagliatelle with ragu di Bolognese, because I thought I should.

pasta with Bolognese sauce

For the next course I had faraona – guinea fowl. It had a citrus sauce which was delicious.

guinea fowl

semifreddo - yum

The most entertaining part of the evening was provided unwittingly by a boy of about 10. He had a lengthy discussion,  complete with waving arms, with the waiter about the food.  He had his own glass of red wine. He wiped the rim of his glass with his napkin before each sip. He answered an important call on his mobile phone, ate 4 courses  and allowed time for the occasional trot around the restaurant to inspect things of interest. His doting parents looked on with delight.


a beautiful restaurant

the parrot

The restaurant is in the most stunning 14th century palazzo with a very old wooden portico. It is in the Piazza Mercanzia beside the 2 towers.


a beautiful old building

looking up

Pappagallo is an elegant restaurant with good food. I hope you get a nice waiter.


  1. Well.., some restaurants with that sort of history are a must, even though that one sounds like it’s living on memories of past glories. The 10 yr old boy sounded amusing alright…., I know I’m not a parent, but there is something really, really smackable about kids like that. I know they’re the apple of their parents eyes & all…, but seriously… he’s 10 …, not a rock star (& having cooked for many of them… well… even some of them are smackable too) 🙂 🙂
    Probably good thing I’m not a parent 🙂

    • It is a lovely restaurant, and the food is good, but you could be right about the past glories. We have been before and had a better experience, perhaps it was an off night. At least the kid wasn’t running around screaming, as often hapens here.

  2. The Guinea Fowl looks wonderful. Yum!

    • It was pretty good, I didn’t leave any on the plate.

  3. I’ll give you the name of an Italian place in Chermside for comparison 🙂

    • We have some great restaurants in Brisbane. I like Beccofino.

  4. Looks better than the chicken burger at Curly’s Bar, Waitomo, NZ, though the surroundings here have their charm as well. Masterchef New Zealand is on TV – hope the kitchen staff at Curly’s are watching.

    • I don’t mind a good burger. It has to have beetroot so you can spill it on your white shirt.

  5. wonderful.!

  6. I guess those guys have never heard of ‘underpromise and overdeliver’!

  7. Hehe what a place! I guess if you blow your own trumpet like that then some might be curious to try it out. And that boy sounds like a future food writer! I wonder if he has his own blog? 😛

    • What an interesting thought. I’ll bet if he doesn’t have one now, he will soon.

  8. The semifreddo and guinea fowl do look wonderful! The restaurant itself looks lovely as well, possibly pretentious? I’m sure I wouldn’t complain- being anywhere at all in Italy would be divine!

    • That’s true – I wasn’t complaining really. I found it quite amusing.

  9. Deb, your posts always make me giggle, I love your turn of phrase. And whilst the 10 year old was probably entertaining, I’m with Anna on that one, I’m not a fan of cocky kids. Having said that, they’re probably going to rule the world in a few years’ time. 🙂

    • He was very self assured, certainly. Let’s hope they are nice to us when we are old.

  10. We found the children delightful. They are loved and they have respect for others. The nicest sight was a mother pushing a stroller along the street with a two year old inside and a five or six year old walking along side holding the baby’s hand.

    • Italians absolutely adore children and they are very affectionate, it is lovely to watch. The other side of the is that the children can be a bit over indulged and are allowed to be up until very late – and in restaurants when they should be home in bed.

  11. The food looks yummy. And the entertainment sounds, well, entertaining. Hope you get a bit of spring soon…

    • It is raining now, after a long stretch of sunny weather.

  12. I enjoyed the post! Your description of the little boy is very funny and made me smile. I saw that place when I was in Bologna on Saturday. I even peeked inside the door. I love the building it is in!

    • It’s amazing, isn’t it?

  13. What a beautiful looking building. Wonder how many meals have been made over the years in there…
    The kid, at least he was quiet. Mine would have been crawling through peoples legs under the tables only to come up for air check out what others are eating for dessert and then go back to the adventures under the tables… Oh that’s why we don’t do restaurants often!

    • The boy was very well behaved. His parents were quite old and I think he has probably been treated like a mini adult for some time.

  14. Great post Deb – we visited this restaurant a couple of years ago and I agree its past glory is part of its charm – loved the photo of Sophia Loren – gorgeous at any age – and the food was very good. Wish I was there too.

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  17. […] I went to Piazza Santo Stefano every night that I was in Bologna and on the last night I had dinner at Pappagallo at the beginning of the street leading into Piazza Santo Stefano. I went there many years ago and while I liked it, I found it a bit formal. (Here is a post from my first visit… Pappagallo) […]

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