Italy: Arnaldo Clinica Gastronomica

Okay, I admit it: The name scared me a little. “Arnaldo Clinica Gastronomica”—gastronomic clinic? After molecular, now there’s medical cuisine? I pictured waitresses dressed as nurses, food served on hospital trays, or, worse, dishes concocted purely for their curative properties and never mind what they taste like. But more than one food-savvy Italian friend had recommended the place as a perfect stop for lunch along my planned route between Bologna and Parma, so I got out my insurance card and stepped through the door…into a warm, traditionally furnished place full of brick and wood, flowers both real and straw, and friezes of mythological beasts around the tops of the walls. Not a gurney in sight. But plenty of serving carts—big, no-nonsense ones—laden with salads and vegetables, antipasti, meats both boiled (like capon) and roasted (pork in Barolo). Everything but pasta is served from these conveyances, in fact. One holds an exquisite prosciutto di Parma, a mortadella as thick as a tree trunk, and some serious-looking salami, as well as non-meat treats like erbazzone, a spinach tart from nearby Reggio Emilia. Another cart has a garden’s worth of salads and cold vegetables. Yet another has desserts. It’s all traditional and local and very, very good. But why “clinica”? When it opened in the 1960s, Arnaldo became a favorite eating place for doctors and nurses from the main clinic in nearby Modena, and the name was adopted in their honor.

Arnaldo Clinica Gastronomica Piazza 24 Maggio 3, Rubiera, Italy (39-0522-626-124;



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