Marvin & Guy: A Local’s Guide to Parma

This week the DJCB got the insider tips on Parma (one of Italy’s most food centric cities) from the DJ duo Marvin & Guy. Have a look below for their food and bar recommendations; and if you haven’t yet check out their latest intergalactic release on Life and Death titled Solar Warrior.

The city of Parma needs no introduction when it comes to food. Not only because of Parma Ham (Prosciutto di Parma) and Parmesan Cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano), but also because it was the first city in Italy to be named by UNESCO a Creative City for Gastronomy. It’s also not by chance that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is based since 2002 in the city-center. The message of “Food as Culture” is very strong from the very first step you take in the city; everything is based around rich gastronomical traditions. This somewhat explains why we don’t have any record shops or clubs in Parma; for these we have to take a 1-hour drive into Milan.

Restaurants

Osteria della Gatta Matta (Borgo degli Studi 9/A)

Since opening around 15 years ago, this restaurant has been consistently one of the best. A family affair and a really charming place hidden down a small road in the old centre, with well-balanced and innovative Italian cuisine. The menu offers a diverse and interesting approach to the local classics. Funny story: Alessandro worked in this restaurant 11 years ago; so double reason to go there.

Trattoria ai Due Platani (Strada Budellungo 104/A, Coloreto PR)

This place is not really in the center of town but if you want great local food, who actually cares? It’s always hard to get a reservation so be sure to book it in time. They’re mostly well known for their homemade pasta, of which you should try the Tortelli di Zucca, or Tortelli di Erbetta. The homemade ice cream they serve as dessert is something you can compare to an orgasm. We suggest going there around springtime for lunch to really catch the countryside vibe, which is also a plus for this place.

Al Tramezzo (Via Alberto del Bono 5)

Even though the location might not be the best spot around Parma, this restaurant is a milestone of the city. With its Michelin Star it became one of the most famous places to eat. The owner is always there to help you and the best way to experience this restaurant is to ask him to build up a meal for you according to your preferences (seafood, fish, meat) and you will never forget it. Not really cheap but worth every single Euro. Delicious and highly creative food.

Borgo 20 Bistrot (Borgo XX Marzo 14/16)

Here, the environment (especially outdoors), is outstanding and very romantic. Located in the heart of the city this small restaurant quickly became one of our favorites. Innovative, but with the same attention to quality and origin of ingredients as other good Parma restaurants. One of the rare places where you can eat amazing fresh seafood (the city is famous for meat dishes, that’s why we say ‘rare’) but also a must try is the Horse Tartare, you’ll go crazy for it.

Pepèn (Borgo Sant’Ambrogio 2)

Pepen has been open for around 70 years; it’s a local fast food joint in the center of Parma, and a real institution. Always really busy at lunchtime – the place is super small – but it’s worth the wait. The most amazing Panini you’ll ever have, hands down. The word Panini does not even do it justice. Just go there if you want a quick and amazing snack.

Cocchi (Via Gramsci 16/A)

Since 1925, this special deco restaurant has been well known for really high-level Parmesan cuisine. Cocchi is truly synonymous with Parma gastronomy and a true pride of Parma. Of course it has excellent Parma ham and Culatello, which are superb in taste, eaten with our local speciality of fried bread to wet your appetite, one order may not be enough… Ravioli with truffles are quite good as well, while the veal is tenderly prepared to complete as a main dish. This is a place with a real big story, trust us.

Bars & Hangouts

Tcafè (Strada al Duomo 7) – suggested for breakfast

This place is located inside of Palazzo della Rosa Prati, which is one of the most beautiful buildings in Parma next to Battistero. It’s a great place to hang out, they always organize really interesting art exhibitions, and there is always a sophisticated selection of music, both contemporary and classical. We suggest going there for breakfast with a book and taking an hour to feel really relaxed and start the day right.

Pasticceria Torino (Strada Giuseppe Garibaldi 61) – suggested for breakfast

This pastry shop is a true hidden gem of Parma since 1957. Just one small room with an old wooden counter (the counter is older than the place itself and comes from another historic café) filled with cakes and chocolates. There are boxes and vases and jars with sweets everywhere and also just one table to sit at, otherwise you can drink coffee, tea etc. at the counter. So it’s not just a shop, it’s perfect for a small pause, for a chat, to relax. And relaxing it is, because this particular pastry shop belongs to those few historic cafés where they don’t force the customers to listen to some dull, loud music from loudspeakers. It’s exactly as calm as classical cafés used to be in the 19th century so you can feel really good there.

Cantina Canistracci (Piazzale San Lorenzo 3)

A perfect place to have an Italian aperitivo, It’s ran by two brothers, really welcoming and funny guys. During the week it’s perfect because it’s less busy so you can really take your time with friends and chat for hours while drinking one of the amazing organic wines they have. Once a week they also have a DJ/selector who always puts on great (mostly Rock) music. It’s one of those places that if you go by yourself you are sure to make some friends.

Enoteca Fontana (Strada Luigi Carlo Farini 24)

A must in the city. Mostly a wine bar and probably the most famous place in the center to enjoy a quick aperitivo surrounded by locals. Most of the people there will be standing outside but they also have a nice, hidden indoor room where you can really get a sense of the old school fashioned Italian bars.

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