Hidden between Via San Vitale and Strada Maggiore, lies a tiny, porched street where everyone seems to know each other and food comes first. Two famous restaurants (Da Maro and Scacco Matto) and a typical osteria (Osteria Broccaindosso) attract the usual crowd of students, residents and tourists. But there’s also a little gem of a trattoria that nobody seems to know. Well nobody but locals, and for generations: L’Antica Trattoria della Spiga has been there since 1933, barely noticeable and discretely announced by an unfashionable banner. It’s the home of the neighbor-customer: legend wants it that a guy living just above was recently craving tortellini in brodo and had them delivered directly in his own bowl, meticulously brought from upstairs, so that the broth, God forbid, wouldn’t spill or get cold. Since I live as far as ten doors away, such option was denied to me. So I had to try it the traditional way and sit with friends around a simple wood table, in one of the two neat and minimal rooms, under black and white photos of Bologna and of people I actually never heard about. Turns out, La spiga is also the home of traditional, delicious fresh made pasta. Pasta all’uovo, fettuccine, lasagne, tagliatelle, maltagliati, gramigna, passatelli and all the mouthwatering, carb-filled delicacies that only a bolognese “sfoglina” is able to craft are a joy for the palate and taste of home, tradition, and barrio style. Toppings, sauces and variations are seasonal, with some year-round landmarks (such as the already mentioned tortellini and the inevitable tortelloni), and I strongly recommend a primo, either preceded by a fried courgette flower with cheese (fried food seems to be another great asset for chef Francesco Gaibani), or followed by ricotta fritters with berries. Or both. Perhaps it is not a place for a first date, since it lacks a little bit of atmosphere, but this is actually coherent with its lovely authenticity and round-the-corner spirit. And perhaps a down-to-earth date would actually appreciate.
TAGS: pasta, tradition, tortellini, Broccaindosso