Osteria del Ghetto – Ferrara

di Susanna Lai

(linguistic adaptation)


Osteria del Ghetto - Ferrara -Some towns have such a bright soul that they only temporarily experience patches of shade.. Ferrara is one of these.  It is a wonderful town you could define amphibious, it lost its mermaid look a long time ago, but it did not lose the water memories the River Po left it. It discreetly provides paradigms of beauty along its medieval and at times Renaissance streets, where you can guess the presence of delicious gardens hidden behind brick walls and you can still hear the echo of the Duke Borso d’Este’s dogs coming back from hunting. While following the town genius loci you may happen to find the Duomo behind your back and start to explore the Ghetto alleys, where before the Second World War a wealthy and well-integrated Jewish community had contributed to build, in parallel with the Estensi carvers’work, the food tradition of Ferrara. On the ground floor of a dwelling building overlooking via della Vittoria there is the entry to Osteria del Ghetto. At first you may be bewildered by seeing a dining-room full of tables but devoid of people, actually a notice indicates that the restaurant is upstairs. You climb the short indoor stairs and find yourself in two wide, comfortable and functional dining-rooms pervaded by a friendly home atmosphere. On the right side there are the kitchens, where provided you forestall the arrival of other customers you can see a young smiling cook who is waiting for the orders collected by Mrs Laura, the “vestal” of the restaurant. The menu they offer depends on the season, but it is always in accordance with two principles: using only local products and serving only fresh food.

In winter you can have an artichoke salad that is to be considered a hymn to taste and cooking skill. The paste fresche, all homemade, easily get a sound of pleasure out of you, and it is worth being seduced even twice by the unpredicted rich taste of pumkin cappellacci with butter and sage. Yet you can have some creamy radicchio tortelli with gorgonzola and nuts in winter or asparagus tortelli with ham and almonds in spring, and also potato gnocchetti (dumplings) with cheese, beans soup and maltagliati.

Everything contributes to make a gourmet fully satisfied with his/her first course, which would be a pity since it is the following dishes that reveal the varied nature and rich history of that land: the faraona (guinea-hen) with almonds and olives that calls to mind the 16th local lords’ passion for hunting. The bocconcini d’agnello (lamb diced) with plums gained from the Jewish community, the typical salami sauce with purè di patate (mashed potatoes). Moreover alici scottadito (anchovies served hot from the drill), which may seem odd to those who don’t know well the geography of the place. Ferrara’s province actually extends as far as the Comacchio area and Goro lagoon, which makes it a natural environment for several species of fish.

In case you are not full up after having enjoyed your courses and you want a desert, home-made of course, the Torta Tenerina is the best-one you can have, it is a local delight made up from chocolate, butter and eggs.

Sitting down at the Osteria del Ghetto’s tables means travelling through Ferrara’s gastronomic culture. In case you are not sure about a course you want to order Mrs Laura, who is always present and watchful, though discreet, can give you some advice. She is not there to sell her products, but just to provide tastes for the palates of her customers who are often curious but unaware of the strong flavour of some local dishes.


To enjoy the generosity of the place you only have to go to Ferrara, in via della Vittoria 26 and go upstairs, the restaurant is open every day except on Tuesday from 12.00 to 14.30 and from 19.30 to 22.30. You can either telephone to 0532-764936 or consult website www.osteriadelghetto.it


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