Ristorante Il Tinello
Via dei giudei, 1
40126 – Bologna (BO)
Last week a few of us went to Ristorante Il Tinello. I have been there a few times under the recommendation of Giuliana, one of the preterm Intensive Italian teachers, who is friends with the owner. It is a cute little place on Via dei Giudei, near the Due Torri.
What’s great about this place, besides the reasonable price, is that all the pasta is “fatto a mano” or “fatto in casa”, which means its freshly made. You can always taste the difference between store-bought and handmade pasta, and a surprising proportion of the restaurants I’ve been to have served me store-bought pasta (I might as well have cooked it myself at home!)
When you sit down, they give you this cute little basket of bread which I hear they make themselves. The square ones are tasty, with bits of ham in it (a surprise for the vegetarian at our table). The hard loops were of a cracker consistency and more for show than anything else.
I got the Corn Salad, which is a misnomer, since it does not actually contain corn. It refers to a salad made with Lamb’s Lettuce, also known as Rapunzel, and valeriana in Italian. Balsamic-treated pancetta rested on top of the greens, and the slightly acidic flavor went well with the tender sweetness of the leaves.
My favorite dish was the three large ricotta-filled tortelloni smothered in a truffle cream sauce with pancetta. For some reason truffles always make things more irresistible to me, and every bite of this combination was heaven in your mouth.
In terms of appearance, all the lasagna in this city looks the same to me. However, there is truly a huge spectrum when it comes to taste and quality. The person who had this one said it was her favorite so far (and she’s quite the aficionado).
This pasta is called the “priest-wrangler”, which is alluding to its odd shape. Although the dish looks simple, the sauce was surprisingly lively and made me want more than the one bite I tried. The strange texture of the noodles was interesting and added to the appeal.
Gnocchi is something that just cannot be eaten if it’s not freshly made. There is an unmistakeable difference. Eat it fresh and you’ll see that when you take a a bite of the light, airy little dough balls, they come apart oh-so-delicately in your mouth in a way that the store bought ones just cannot. The ones here at Il Tinello, a gorgonzola and walnut version, performed this feat masterfully.
The rack of lamb was tender and flavorful, perfectly cooked and charred around the edges. It was paired with some tasty potatoes (and I don’t normally like potatoes).
The meat basically fell of the bone of the slow, herb-roasted rabbit dish. It came in a savory broth that was perfect for dipping your bread in so that you can savor every last drop.
The interior was cosy but refined, they had a good selection of wines that they display on one wall. The house wine, a Sangiovese, is about 9 euro a liter, and the bottles are priced from 14 euro if I remember correctly.
All in all, I’d really recommend this restaurant. It has great food for an affordable price. Most of the dishes ranged from 8-14 euro, and definitely worth even more in my opinion.
N. B. Each time I’ve gone there we haven’t needed to make a prior reservation (they were weeknights and we always arrived before 8pm). However, the place always would fill up by the time we were leaving, so it might be safer to book just in case.