Mio Bar – How I found my “regular bar” for 3 days in Bologna
To finding a place worth to return for the quickly waning days of a short holiday, makes a new city feel like a home. This feeling was the first sparkle for this blog, in Maxi Bar, Opatija, Croatia. I found its counterpart also in Bologna: Mio Bar. This is where I tried many must eats courses of the region surrounded by the Italian real life show that never stops.
On my first morning in Bologna I woke up early and instead of using the coffee machine in the hostel, I rushed into the city to have a coffee there because it is much cooler. For my surprise it looked like a ghost town.
Previously, in Italy the morning was always one of the busiest parts of the day. I made it to the pub street of last night, Via Belvedere. It had this look:
Plastic glasses were dancing in the wind, and some early doves have catched the leftovers. (Don’t worry, it got cleaned up very soon.)
Also the market hall was as empty as I left it the night before.
It was Thursday and already after 8:00am. I was thinking that here in Bologna the life may starts after 9:00am. I had the chance to have a closer look at the quite artistic atmosphere of “Mercato delle Erbe”.
I immediately took my chance to order a breakfast by one of the already opened places. Consciously, I picked the low carb cold cuts plate as an exception to the rule that in Italy even the air contains a lot of carbs. And look what happened: it came with foccacia.
The answer is no! I couldn’t resist. I also realized the rainbow of the olives. Not really thinking about it I would have said that only two types of olives exist but even just here I got 4 (of the hypothetical 300 genres).
The place didn’t had coffee so I had to keep going on. Finally I could escape Via Belvedere. This is how I’ve found Mio Bar (347. stop, 5th Bologna stop) beyond after the next corner. It has won the Maxi Bar awards in Bologna. The name means “my bar” simply. Its strong blue colors and the simplicity in the good sense got me right away.
I always want to have the first morning coffee only in this type of places in Italy. It had a comfy terrace with high chairs, next to a four lane street and it still worked well. Laid back people were drinking, eating and having a good time. In Budapest we can not achieve the same this easily by our four lanes streets.
I met Luciano, the owner and chef of the place. He is a great showman, full of energy. A movie-like Italian caterer: loud, round, funny and cheerful. He wear west in the colors of his bar.
He never let any guests down, he returned to them even from the kitchen and kept going on with the flow. He kept offering his brioche even to me. I decided to return rather for dinner. There were only Italian people excepting me, apparently recurring guest mostly. Luciano seemed to know every guest’s life to the detail and knew exactly what to ask them for the current updates. In the same time he sold an other bag of pastries while eating his own products as well and telling with his mouth full how good it is. I couldn’t imagine anything more authentic in the world.
All the people were reading newspapers, despite the fact that Mio Bar seems to be the scene where rumor always has it…
I had a really great time and returned in the evening, right after having the luck to meet a family chasing a secret city center canal with a small “waterfall”. I joined them. The lady who was guiding her relatives around was a real godmother type and didn’t gave up until she made the next door neighbor open the gate to the canal and get us the privilege to see what only few people can see in Bologna.
When I’ve returned to Mio Bar, I already had found out that this day was a bank holiday, the republic day. Suddenly the evacuated city of the morning made sense. At evening I met an other crew: a nice smiling team of donnas, Francesca the wife of Luciano and Maria.
The counter was full with aperitivo plates.
One single bite would be 50 euro but to one drink you get a smaller plate. This is usual nearby. There were small foccacia, tramezzini, piadina, bruschetta and other morzel of breads with various toppings even mashed potatoes.
I taught them too how to make my usual Hungarian spritzer our way. They liked the idea but this new invention wasn’t that cheap (5 Euro) as the coffee and cappuccino combo in the morning (2 euro), so I changed in the next round to the beer of the house (the German Hemminger – 4 euro) and checked my first Emilia-Romagna must eat, the authentic piadina (filled Italian pie).
Francesca promised me to prepare in the next days all the local bites yet to come from my bucket list. I was lucky to meet her because she teaches in the university and jumps in only occasionally in Mio Bar to help out. Despite being a big fan of variety, I decided to taste here every goodies because this place was various enough alone.
The next day Luciano was already greeting me with a hi five and told me about the daily lunch menu. I couldn’t say no to his octopus salad with green beans and potatoes and picked my delicious tagliatelle alla bolognese only after.
O mio Dio, that one had a fullfilled childhood dream-taste. The tagliatelle pasta is the most common one for bolognese ragout. They have nothing against the spaghetti. They just don’t get what it is good for because unlike to the tagliatelle the sauce doesn’t really stick to that round type of pasta.
The Mio Bar had a really intensive life even in lunch time. The golden beers were shining on the terrace.
One guy stepped to me and said: Just by looking at you, we couldn’t tell that you are not Italian but seeing that you’re having cappuccino this time the day and along with beer, you got immediately unveiled. According to him Italian would never do any of these. He was a lawyer with a close office, and had an Amaro Lucano. – Strictly for digestion – he said. He went back to work but before he taught me the following words in Italian: taste, digestion and the circle of life. Quite a few people in the bar learned from me that the round bottle with the cross it, Unicum on the shelves has Hungarian origins.
On the third day I returned for the heavenly tortellini, prepared after the local general rule: in broth.
Luciano still convinced me to have a glass of Sicilian red wine to it. – Without it, it is not tortellini – he said. – Just a small portion – said I. I got 2dl. At the end I recieved again the free Limoncello and a free coffee. Giving a limoncello as a present is said to be a quite common gesture in Italy but this is the only place were I really experienced it, not even in the area of Limoncello. The only additional exception is in Hungary, in Café Gian Mario. When I gave tip, Luciano was yelling to Maria through the whole place: Maria, you got tipped, this and this. And Maria came to me to thank for the tip personally. Giant cultural differences compared to Hungary!
Luciano was one of the funniest character in gastronomy who I never knew. Can you be mad at him when he takes a slice of chips from the tray brought to the guests in front of him and eats it himself? Of course, not! We can be all grateful that he is such a great showman and makes Mio Bar actually Nostro Bar (Our bar).
Before I said goodbye I told them about a personal mission objective. I saw the wall covered by their photos with the Italian and international celebrities who have already been there.
I said once, without being a celebrity, I want to be on this wall. We made a photo to it that day and only the future can tell the rest.
Facebook oldal: https://www.facebook.com/Mio-Bar-144566138972481/?fref=ts
Cím: Via Guglielmo Marconi, 1, Bologna 40122
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Previous posts in the Bologna series: