I’ve been wanting to dine at San Domenico, a two Michelin star restaurant in Imola, for years now. I first learned about this restaurant after watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations episode on Emilia-Romagna, the region right above Tuscany.
Imola is a tiny town with not much to do, about 25 minutes by train from Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. The cuisine at San Domenico is fine dining with very traditional Italian flavors and ingredients. They offer four tasting menus: a fish tasting menu, a tasting menu with their signature dishes, a business lunch tasting menu, and a tasting menu only offered on Wednesdays. Of course they offer an à la carte menu as well. I was torn between the fish and signature dishes tasting menu because both sounded absolutely divine. However, I decided to go with their signature dishes tasting menu to try some of their most famous plates.
San Domencio without a doubt serves old school haute cuisine but executed beautifully.
My favorite dishes were the amuse bouche, goose liver torchon, quail, and the uovo in raviolo. The amuse bouche, asparagus soup, was extremely simple but executed perfectly. Using seasonal ingredients at their peak showcases their true flavors; the soup was velvety with an intense flavor of asparagus topped with thin strands of white truffle and a drizzle of fruity extra virgin olive oil. The goose liver torchon was technically immaculate. Creamy, rich, and buttery goose liver torchon smeared on toasted brioche paired with sweet golden apple purée, a crisp apple chip, and port wine jelly. The quail leg and breast was moist and tender sitting in a pool of delicious demi-glace with shaved earthy black truffles on top. All the accompanying elements were outstanding: carrot purée, broccoli mash, beetroot purée, and celery root purée. Lastly their most well known dish, the uovo in raviolo, certainly lived up to my expectations. The pasta was al dente and was stuffed with a creamy Ricotta cheese and spinach filling and an egg yolk. As soon as you cut into the raviolo, the egg yolk oozed out with the perfect gooey consistency. The raviolo itself was doused in butter and topped with nutty Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and black truffles. Simple and amazing.
San Domenico was definitely a nice change from all the modern Italian restaurants I’ve tried so my rating is a 8/10. If you’re visiting Bologna I would highly recommend coming to San Domenico for a spectacular meal paired with impeccable service.