Imola is a 30 minute train ride from Bologna and the restaurant is an easy walk from the station. It is a large restaurant divided up into lots of nicely appointed small rooms. Tons of artwork adorn the walls and each table is decorated with objects and flowers. The staff was helpful and spoke good English but they maintained a professional distance instead of establishing a connection with the guests. They offer 2 tasting menus, one featuring meat and the other fish, as well as a la carte options. They also offer a business lunch of 3 courses that is a good deal but the choices didn’t appeal as much so we chose the tasting of meats.
The amuse bouche was a bean soup finished with a lovely, strong tasting olive oil. It had a velvety texture and was quite tasty. The table was given an assortment of breads which were too cottony in texture for me but the breadsticks were a better choice.
Next was a goose liver terrine with apples which was absolutely delicious. It was served with a brioche and nutty breads and while both were nice the latter was really good. However in general I prefer to eat the terrine plain so I can savor the fine taste and this was no exception. It combined well with the fruit and jelly on the plate. The crisp dried apple slice was particularly fun.
The roasted quail was juicy and tender. A very tasty preparation that had me picking up the bones to get every morsel.
The roasted sweetbreads were creamy and perfectly fried to make a light, crisp crust. The purée was a bit much but it all worked nicely together. The farro(?) grain was cooked to add an additional bit of crispness to the plate. It was a wonderful course.
The giant ravioli was made of all locally sourced ingredients – a dish they’ve been serving for all of the 43 years they’ve been open. I can see why. If was very nice with lots of great flavors.
The veal sirloin was a little duller which was no fault of the ingredients, veal is just very mild. The sunflower cream was a nice twist on the usual cream tastes and another crunchy grain was included to give texture contrast but it would have benefitted from a dusting of salt.
Oddly the extra treats were served before dessert the course. It was a chocolate cookie on top and underneath a chocolate cake all coated with chocolate icing, accented with a couple meringue drops. Thankfully the ice cream was such a mild chocolate you wouldn’t have guessed it was chocolate. Overall nice, but with the combination I hoped for killer. The extra treats were fine, I particularly liked the puffed on top of the cooked which was a nice sweet finish.