An Unexpected Gem

Living in Italy grants us access to a lot of great restaurants.  We fully take advantage of that and eat at… a lot of great restaurants.  I recently read that 75% of the food in Italy is great and 25% of the food is exceptional.  I would agree with that – most meals leave you feeling completely satisfied and pleased with the overall experience.  But occasionally, you’ll find yourself “mmm’ing” and “aahhh’ing” with more delight than you intended to express aloud.

We can usually spot these exceptional places before we’ve walked in the door.  We may have heard about the joint from a friend or relative.  It’s possible I’ve read about it on the internet or a travel book.  Or sometimes, we just walk into a place and the intense amount of “old-world charm” smacks us in the face.  We’re greeted by a little nonna (grandma) who then scurries to the back to cook our meal – and we just know that we are in for a treat.  Since it is usually one of those three paths that lead to our exceptional meals, I had all but dismissed, Osteria da Clo’ Filomena when we made our reservation.  The reason for the swift dismissal, you ask?  Well, the restaurant was in our B&B, in a remote part of Emilia-Romagna, surrounded by nothing by small villages and towns.  I’m usually quick to dismiss restaurants in hotels anyway, with a few exceptions.  Furthermore, the place was empty.  I wasn’t surprised, because it would probably be a 20-30 minute drive for most patrons to arrive.  I assumed that the restaurant was in place, merely to service the guests of the hotel and therefore had to serve mediocre food (which, if you remember still falls into the 80% “great” category).

The Osteria at night – the outdoor patio is used in the spring
The ristorante opened in 1954

I am happy to say that I have never been so wrong!  And we weren’t the only ones in on the secret – by the time we left, the place was nearly full.  People had been coming in from [presumably] all over – from towns and villages several miles away.  The waiters, two young men (I regret not getting their names) were very helpful and pleasant.  Our server spoke fluent English, but indulged me and kept the conversation in Italian until I really needed the help on a word or two.

Our group decided that we would order several dishes and that we would be generous with each other when it came time to share.  There were too many things to taste to keep each dish all to ourselves.  Our group?  Four weary travelers (and a baby past her bedtime), comprised of myself and Jen as well as my aunt Deborah and uncle S, visiting from the States (read about their trip HERE and HERE).

Antipasti

For the antipasti (appetizer), each couple elected to order the:

Creme Brulè ai Quattro Formaggi con Porcini e Balsamico  

Four Cheese Creme Brulè with Porcini Mushrooms and Balsamic Vinegar
This dish was so tasty, we asked what the four cheeses were so that we could attempt to recreate it at home

Primi Piatti

For our primo (first course), each couple shared a pasta:

Tagliatelle ai Fungi Porcini (S and Deborah)

Tagliatelle Pasta with Porcini Mushrooms
Dishes with porcini mushrooms were among the restaurant’s specialties

Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese (Greg and Jen)

Tagliatelle Pasta with a Meat Ragù
Jen and I like to try classic examples of Bolognese – it is a dish that has subtle changes across various regions of Italy

Secondi Piatti Tipici

For our secondo (main course), each couple shared once again:

Spezzatino Rosso di Cinghiale con Tigelle (S and Deborah)

Red Stew of Boar with Tigelle
Tigelle is a bread that looks like a small pancake, local to the region

Grigliata Mista di Maiale (Greg and Jen)

Mixed Grill of Pork
This is a fairly common dish throughout Italy, but this was superior to most – perfectly seasoned and tender

Contorni

For our side dishes we selected:

Funghi Porcini Grigliata (a seasonal dish)

Grilled Porcini Mushrooms
This dish is only served during “mushroom season” (September, October, November)

Verdure alla Griglia

Grilled Vegetables
A simple and healthy selection from the grill

Dolce

For me, dessert is usually the weakest part of the meal – I was proved wrong once again.  I had to tell myself over and over that it was impolite to pick my plate and lick the remaining chocolate residue.  We all shared:

Creme Brulè

Creme Brulè
As delicious as it looks

Torta al Cioccolato di Lave

Chocolate “Lava” Cake
Jen had to restrain me from licking the plate

Torta di Pistacchio

Pistachio Cake
I’m not a huge pistachio fan, so it came as no surprise that this was my least favorite of the trio

We were fortunate to have found, Osteria da Clo’ Filomena as a byproduct of first discovering the hotel in which we were staying,  La Locanda Gli Ulivi.  From what I could gather, the restaurant was established first, in 1954 – and is still the main draw on the property.  The hotel is a charming B&B, set just far enough away from Modena and Bologna that you can’t help but become immersed in the nature and hills of vineyards.

The rolling vineyards behind Osteria da Clo’ Filomena

In the summer, a small waterfall cascades on the patio as diners eat under a setting sun and in the winter the fireplace is always glowing – warming the patrons next to the chestnut wood tables.  If you stay at the hotel, you can expect a breakfast as delicious as the one pictured below.

Eggs, made to order
Perfectly cooked with delicious pancetta
Cappuccino con doppio espresso (cappuccino with double espresso)
Next time you’re in Emilia-Romanga, stop by and have a meal.  Be sure to tell everyone that we said, “ciao!”
 
Locanda Gli Ulivi
Via Montebudello 33 
40050 Monteveglio (BO) Italy
www.locandagliulivi.it

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One thought on “An Unexpected Gem”

  1. Sounds like a delightful find. I would love to have been there for your dinner. I would have feasted on the mushroom dishes. Bistro Des Copains is now serving a mushroom crème brulee. Looks like the one served here was four cheese with a piece of mushroom on top.

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