An interesting novelty that has recently appeared in Bologna, more precisely from September 2018, is the Locanda CelestiAle. Immediately inside Porta Saragozza, under the Falansterio portico, you will find this American bar and inn, with a soft atmosphere.
A meeting of two minds, just as the name of the place suggests: those of Celestino Salmi and Alessandro Chionsini, friends and now also partners. Two professionals known for their expertise in their respective fields: bartending and cooking.
It is precisely this combination that prompted me to try it a few nights ago in the company of a friend, and we were not unhappy.
From the entrance, everything appears fine and well set up. The white gives an elegant atmosphere that highlights the modern and clean lines of the furnishings.
As soon as you enter, you will find the American Bar with its transparent seats, where you can sit down and have a drink while teasing something, admiring, among other things, the collection of more than 100 bottles of spirits and liqueurs.
Locanda Celestiale is definitely a must, which I recommend to authentic cocktail lovers. Celestino's fame precedes him, as does his smile upon our entrance. After many years of experience in the best clubs in Bologna (from Caffè Zanarini to Gamberini, just to name a couple) in 2015 he won the national championship “Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge”.
Then entrust yourself to his hands for the tasting of one of his flagship products, "Hermes", a cocktail based on gin, Campari bitters, rosé vermouth, orange bitters, and vanilla.
The tables are arranged both to the right and to the left of the entrance, well-spaced from each other, in an intimate and welcoming atmosphere, the ideal place for a romantic dinner.
In the summer there is an outdoor terrace, quite large if you consider that it is the center of Bologna.
The restaurant offers a varied and creative menu, although not too extensive. Among the choices, you will find meat, fish and some vegetarian options. Contemporary Mediterranean cuisine is reinterpreted by chef Alessandro, aimed at creating taste experiments to be paired with highly selected wines.
In the wine list you will find different Emilian and national choices
But let's go in order. We get off to a great start with the appetizer: a very delicate creamed cod, carasau bread and a sprinkling of Taggiasca olives.
At Celestino's suggestion, the dinner is accompanied by a bottle of Ribolla Gialla, “Vigna del Lauro” from 2018.
First course. The choice is difficult, I try this nice idea: Dry Passatelli with lemon-scented crustaceans. Simply perfect, the flavors are a real explosion and, when paired with wine, the result is sublime.
My friend, on the other hand, dares even more, her Spaghetti with cheese, pepper, scampi and lime are a sight for her eyes. Again the flavor does not disappoint. They are excellent.
In fact they attracted me a lot ...
Next we taste two different seconds but both tartare.
Tuna tartare with toasted sesame, mango and basmati rice and salmon tartare with avocado and basmati rice, served with a passion fruit reduction.
The tuna tartare is accompanied by a reduction of soy sauce and wasabi served on the side. The combination is particularly appropriate: honestly I had never tried mango with fish but the result is a balanced dish.
Let's move on to tasting the salmon tartare: the dish is a small work of art, both in terms of mise-en-place and flavor; raw salmon is one of my favorite ingredients and I always try to order, whenever I find it on a menu. This time I find it in a gourmet key, perfectly in line with the environment but that does not neglect the gluttony, the burrata is amazing.
Dessert: after a nice banquet with the scent of the sea, I return to Bologna with a very traditional and very local, zuppa inglese. A final round that convinces with flying colors.
The final judgment
For the final judgment, Locanda CelestiAle finds the right combination and the right balance in a small and elegant setting.
Are you ready for your gourmet experience between excellent cocktails and good food?