When we talk about Parma, the delicious Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, or raw ham, immediately comes to mind because it is a city where cured meats and cheeses are widely used.
Many of its specialties have crossed national borders and become a trademark of Italian gastronomy worldwide. In addition to the Parmigiano mentioned above Reggiano and raw ham, other typical Parma products are Culatello di Zibello (pork salami), Felino salami (with a delicate flavor), Cicciolata (cooked salami made from pork head and rind ), and then dishes such as fried cake (made with water, flour, milk, and lard), horse pesto (with minced raw horsemeat), tortelli (filled with herbs or meat), tripe with Parmigiano Reggiano, the Anolini pasta in broth.
As a dessert, we have the Spongato di Busseto, typical of the Christmas period, filled with apple and pear jam, candied fruit, pine nuts, and almonds.
Here are some of the best restaurants in Parma.
In the heart of Parma, right next to the cathedral, the “Angiol d’Or” restaurant can ideally be considered the center of Parma’s culinary tradition.
However, plenty of original, imaginative ideas exist, such as the octopus pie, potatoes, and crunchy zucchini on mint oil or the Bronte pistachio-crusted pork tenderloin with caramelized apples.
All are obtained and prepared with the use of selected raw materials.
The place is characterized by a hospitable and charming atmosphere, thanks to a young, enthusiastic, and close-knit team that does its utmost to provide attentive and informal service.
The elegant and welcoming environment is suitable for any occasion, from dinner for two to business lunches, from convivial meetings to banquets, and it also offers a splendid veranda overlooking the cathedral square.
Every Tuesday and Friday, the restaurant offers guests unique dishes such as Bagna càuda and boiled Fassona meat. It is also equipped with a small but well-stocked wine cellar.
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Osteria dei Mascalzoni
The “Osteria dei Mascalzoni,” an obligatory destination for those who want to combine a good glass of wine with a simple and genuine dish, is in the heart of the city’s historic center.
The restaurant results from a skillful renovation, which has enhanced its originality and rustic and welcoming character.
The proposed cuisine is traditional but creative, with an original menu. The raw ingredients quality is always excellent, with selected cured meats, exquisite meats, and some fish-based proposals.
The typical products are always prepared and mixed in a personal and creative way: cappelletti, risotto with radicchio and sausage, tortelli with cooked shoulder, pumpkin and taleggio gnocchi, fillet with grape must and the inevitable homemade cooked shoulder. The wine list also offers an excellent selection.
The “La Greppia” restaurant, located right in the heart of the historic center of the city, is a rustic environment, but at the same time, soberly elegant, well-kept, and very welcoming where, amidst soft lights, it is possible to savor the tastes and aromas of the typical dishes of the culinary tradition as well as dishes of Mediterranean cuisine, between tradition and creativity.
Among the specialties are the parmesan mousse with pears in wine, stuffed cabbage, Anolini, and braised veal tail. The homemade desserts are also excellent.
The restaurant also has a wine cellar characterized by a careful selection of labels to best enhance each dish’s taste and know how to satisfy even the most refined palates. The courteous and professional staff is fast and always available.
Trattoria del Ducato
The “Trattoria del Ducato,” located in the historic center of Parma, a short distance from the Tardini Stadium, is very welcoming and elegant.
Particularly suitable for birthday dinners, graduation lunches, and business dinners, the kitchen offers traditional dishes with particular attention to the quality and freshness of the raw materials. Among the specialties are dishes based on black truffles and seasonal porcini mushrooms.
Also excellent are the fried pie with salami, the polenta with truffle fondue, the Tortelli with herbs, the Anolini Pasta in broth, the braised beef in Barolo wine, the veal cheeks in balsamic vinegar, and the stuffed veal in the oven.
The desserts, such as stuffed cakes, are also excellent, prepared by the house. The cellar offers an extensive list of bottles from selected and renowned Italian and foreign producers.
Much appreciated by gourmets and not only for the persistence of traditional flavors and the genuineness of raw materials but the “Leon d’Oro” restaurant is also considered a place from other times where you can eat at home.
The restaurant, which is very reminiscent of a 60s tavern, simple but refined, with period prints and paintings on the walls, is known for the undisputed quality of the dishes offered, faithful in the reproduction of the methods of preparation of the products, all selected carefully at the source.
The typically traditional menu has the characteristic that cured meats, boiled meats, roasts, and desserts are presented and served at the trolley. The Tortelli, both with pumpkin and chestnut, are excellent. Also noteworthy is the proposal of wines, displayed and selectable from the menu.
The elegant and refined “Parmigianino” restaurant is inside the “Grand Hotel De La Ville,” where tradition and innovation blend perfectly.
In addition to the classic cuisine, you can also taste proposals of national and international haute cuisine to satisfy the most diverse needs.
Ideal for business dinners, informal or after-the-theatre dinners, gala banquets, or wedding receptions, the restaurant also has an outdoor service in the summer on the dehors or panoramic terrace.
Among the dishes of the Parmesan tradition are the delicacies of Parma, aubergines in Parma style, tortelli with herbs, Anolini in capon broth, and Parma rose with buttered spinach.
Also excellent are the fish terrine with broccoli, the tagliatelle with lobster and small vegetables, and salmon rose on spinach and black olives.
Inside a seventeenth-century building in the historic center of Parma, very close to the cathedral and the baptistery and to the Royal Theater, is the “La Filoma” restaurant, an elegant and refined place, very well-kept, with three pastel-colored rooms and crystal chandeliers.
The cuisine uses only local products based on creativity combined with typical local recipes and the Parma tradition.
Among the specialties, prepared by an extraordinary hand that obtains succulent dishes while keeping them light, are:
- The truffled Parmesan terrine.
- The Parmesan risotto with truffled culatello.
- The veal cheek in red wine from the Parma hills.
- The wafer with mascarpone mousse with vanilla and pistachios.
The “La Filoma” restaurant also has a decidedly rich wine cellar, with a careful selection of labels.
At “Parizzi,” a well-known restaurant in the center of Parma, you will find an environment of refined elegance to underline the refinement of the dishes on offer.
The cuisine, attentive to detail, offers classic dishes made more modern by innovative and creative techniques.
To tickle the palates of its diners, the restaurant offers excellent land and sea tasting menus: from pheasant ravioli with crunchy leeks, black truffle, and Marsala sauce to Portuguese cod puff pastry with Jerusalem artichoke cream and chard; from hare paté with its marinated fillet, brioche bread, grapes, and Zibibbo jelly, to small squid stuffed with green olives on saffron potato cream.
Traditional Parma dishes include Tortelli with Herbs, Anolini in broth, and beef stew with polenta.
All this can then be accompanied by a large variety of bread and the tasting of excellent wines. In fact, the cellar offers 1200 different labels. Refinement and quality distinguish this excellent and particular restaurant.
The “La Forchetta” restaurant is located in the heart of the historic center of Parma, in one of the city’s most beautiful and ancient buildings, a few meters from the Cathedral and the Baptistery.
The management is familiar and offers the best dishes of the typical Parmesan cuisine and fish dishes, accompanied by excellent wines.
Tortelli with herbs, potatoes, and pumpkin, veal tip, braised veal cheek, fish crudités, scallops in a salt and pepper crust, Tagliolini with lobster, tuna steak, and Catalan salad, these are just a taste of the variety on the menu.
The bread and pasta are homemade as they once were, with particular attention paid to choosing all the ingredients. It is also possible to have lunch outdoors.
“Il Norcino” is an ancient, delightful, characteristic, and elegantly renovated restaurant on the outskirts of Parma. The restaurant, which also has a summer terrace, a veranda, and a secluded room for receptions or business dinners, is refined and welcoming, ideal for spending a pleasant candlelit evening in tranquillity.
The cuisine is typically Parma, and among the specialties offered, there are rigorously selected typical Parmesan cold cuts, cooked shoulder with fried pie, veal, Tortelli, Cappelletti, and other homemade pasta.
The flagship is grilled meat, bison meat, and the best-known Italian breeds such as the Chianina, Romagna, and Marche.
The splendid 18th-century underground cellar is used for displaying and tasting wines.
Locanda di Sparafucile
Very close to the motorway’s exit towards Colorno is the “Locanda di Sparafucile,” the name of a character in Verdi’s famous opera, “Rigoletto.” Housed in an old country house that has been skilfully renovated, the restaurant is elegant and refined in terms of the environment, modern in style and design, and in terms of the proposals, well-finished, varied, and excellent.
Depending on the season, you can taste mushrooms, truffles, and polenta. The menu can range from land dishes such as delicious fillets, Piedmontese Fassona steak, beef marinated with pepper, and lamb chops with herbs to the freshest and tastiest fish as triumphs of crustaceans, delicious raw and cod. The raw materials offered make excellent elegance and care for the environment exceptional.
The “Maxim’s” restaurant is undoubtedly one of the city’s most renowned and elegant “charming” restaurants.
The prestigious and sought-after four-star “Hotel Palace Maria Luigia” acts as a splendid setting.
Its fame has been absolutely consolidated for years. Its delicious cuisine is based on the tradition and classicism of local and regional dishes. Still, it leaves room for creativity with a pinch of inspiration, reaching the highest peaks with its always fish dishes, very fresh.
Among the specialties, the grand royal dish with Parma delicacies, herb Tortelli, grilled lamb loin flavored with aromatic herbs, fish slices flavored with lime, and a bouquet of steamed vegetables.
In the cellar, several selected labels are aimed at the right combination with the dishes.
Read also: Places to visit in Parma.