[Italy: Modena] 3* Osteria Francescana - Best Restaurant in the World in 2016

Rating: ❤❤❤❤1/2 (4.5/5)

A stroke of luck made the impossible happened - we managed to eat at Osteria Francescana on our last day in Italy! Made popular by Netflix's Chef's Table, everyone has been clamoring to eat at the 3 Michelin-starred and also World's Best Restaurant in 2016 restaurant but reservations have been nearly impossible to get - the last time I tried to make a reservation, I couldn't even get into the website for hours (reservations open 3 months in advance on the first day of the month at 10AM Italy time). I had put myself on the waiting list this time and miraculously got notified of a last minute cancellation 2 days before, so of course we cancelled our original plans and hopped on a train from Milan to Modena for lunch! Unfortunately the chef Massimo Bottura was in London during my visit so I didn't get to meet him. 

The cozy restaurant has two dining rooms and I sat in the one decorated with framed pictures of birds on the walls. Both a la carte and tasting menus are offered here but if you want to try all of Massimo's signature dishes (including those featured on Chef's Table), you should get the "Everything" tasting menu (€250) which was what we chose. 

We started our meal with a few snacks and it was promising from the start. Our favorite was the fish and chips and celeraic ice cream on top.

Bread and grissini bread sticks were replenished throughout the meal and I was totally addicted to the deliciously crunchy grissini but had to stop myself since I had many courses ahead of me.

The first course was a refreshing Insalata di Mare - an Italian seafood salad with heart of lettuce layered with shrimps, octopus, cuttlefish and 3 different chips before being finished with a fragrant spray of seaweed and bergamot.

The Mediterranean Sole featured three classic Mediterranean fish preparations al cartoccio, sotto sale and alla mugnaia combined into one singular recipe. The filet of sole with lemon and olive oil emulsion, tomatoes, capers, olives and candied lemon was covered with sheets of burned sea salt.

The Rice: Green over Brown over Black may look like a risotto but it doesn’t follow the classic recipe of a risotto. Instead the carnaroli rice is cooked in 3 different types of intense broth: green with vegetables, brown with Porcini mushrooms and black with shellfish. We were told to mix all 3 together to eat and they all went together in perfect harmony.

The Autumn in New York is a tribute to The Big Apple with different ingredients to represent all the international influences in the city such as Italy, Canada and French before being finished with a dashi broth made with apples.

Civet, Game, Snails, Herbs and Ravioli

The Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano in different textures and temperatures was one of the dishes I was most looking forward to try since it was featured on Chef's Table. The dish was comprised of a soufflé made from Parmigiano that was aged 24 months, a mousse aged 30 months, a liquid cream aged 36 months, a crisp wafer aged 40 months, and a “breath of air” aged 50 months. It was a definitely a very intriguing dish with a lot of depth in flavors and one of our favorites of the meal.

The Crunchy Part of Lasagna was another popular signature dish with 
a sheet of crunchy, tri-color pasta (with colors of Italian flag) over hand-chopped ragu and airy bechamel. The deconstructed lasagna represented Massimo's favorite childhood memory of stealing the burned corners from his grandmother's lasagna.

As we prepared for the next dish, a beautiful knife from Japan was provided for our use. 

The Camouflage Pigeon looked like a colorful painting with pigeon breast and leg confit decorated with a variety of sauces in the middle. Massimo seems to like camouflage since this is the second dish after the rice to have camouflage colors again. It is also this dish that I realize where Tokuyoshi (who spent 10 years working for Massimo) got inspiration for some of his dishes at his restaurant.

The Ciliegie, Amarene, Duroni, Marasche e pane Secco was one of our pre-desserts. 

The Millefoglie di Millefoglie was a twist of the classic millefeuille with pumpkin, chocolate and black & white truffle.

The Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart was another signature dish I was looking forward to try the most and I was glad to say that it didn't disappoint. The lemon zabaglione, verbena sorbet and fragmented pie crust was paired with dots of candied bergamot, savory capers, dried oregano, and hot pepper oil on the side.

Finally our meal came to an end with a series of petit fours - Vignola, Croccantino of Foie Gras, and Camouflage: a hare in the woods.

Initially I was worried that I would be disappointed since I have heard from a few people that they didn't think Osteria Francescana met their expectations. Understandably the expectations are high given all the accolades the restaurant have received and whether or not the restaurant is the best in the world is up for debate, but I'm glad to say that I genuinely enjoyed my experience here and I think it's worth checking it out for yourself. 

Osteria Francescana

Via Stella, 22, 41121 Modena MO, Italy
Tel: +39 059 223912

Follow me on Facebook! www.facebook.com/supertastermel

Follow me on Instagram! www.instagram.com/supertastermel


Popular Posts