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Lunch at the No. 1 of the world – worth the travel: Osteria Francescana (21. December 2018)

| May 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

I always wanted to eat at the best restaurant in the world and finally today was the day! The Osteria Francescana has been elected No. 1 restaurant in the world for the second time after 2016. And it is accordingly difficult to score a reservation although not as impossible as for other restaurants like the noma. So, if you are very patient and book about 4 to 5 months in advance, you manage to score a table with some luck.

The lunch starts relatively relaxed with some bread which is admittedly great in terms of flavor but still regular bread. The olive oil and salt they serve with it is superb though.

After the initial bread, more “breads and grissini” were served. And the grissini were truly outstanding as they were incredibly long, thin, and delicious. And yet none of it was broken in half. A true art work of a crafty baker.

The first amuse bouche served were “macaroons with ragout”, “a Parmesan Reggiano Chip”, a “stuffed pillow” and an “eel”.

You generally can pick between two options – the ‘regular menu’ and the ‘menu tutto” (EUR 270.00) which is the traditional tasting menu. You can also eat à la carte but it kind of defies the purpose plus EUR 60 to EUR 70 for a starter seems a bit pricey to me. So it was clear to me to go for the menu “Tutto”!

The second amuse bouche was “fish and chips Italian style” and I loved the fish and chips as they were not like fish and chips in terms of texture and consistency but they tasted very much like it – even with the vinegar note for the typical British chips.

The first course was called “Autumn in New York as a journey of the eel” which was absolutely delicious. Not overloaded, light, yet intense and lovely in terms of taste.

The next course was called “Burnt: The Dish”. And it looked quite interesting as you got a black plate with a cookie …

… which had “BURNT” imprinted on it …

… and then it was enriched with a black liquid which also consisted of burnt elements. Eating it was tricky as the cookie is not as hard as it looks but was rather smooth and creamy on the inside so after the first bite you had a mess all over your fingers. But in combination with the black liquid, it was truly outstanding!

The next course was a “Mediterranean sole” which had super thin layers made of sea water – not that they tasted of much themselves but they really made it look like the sea waves. Lovely in terms of ‘optical illusion’. And in terms of taste, it was also great.

Now, one would expect to get what one sees on the menu – but “Wagyu no wagyu” was actually not wagyu but an Italian interpretation of it …

… enriched with another reduction. And it was okay but somehow it did not really match the flavor of wagyu, if you ask me. And I am aware that was not the goal but it was just not entirely persuading.

More interesting was the dish called “When my mom met Bocuse”. As I had somewhat foreseen, it was a combination of an Italian dish with a French finish. The interior of the bowl was fully Italian while the little crust on top was a French addition. You had to break the top so it would fall into the bowl. Lovely, creamy, soothing.

This was one of my favorite dishes! The “Five ages of Parmigiano Reggiano, in different textures and temperatures” were truly mouth-watering! The aging ranged from 24 to 72 months and the higher and ‘thiner’ it got, the older it was. The cream on the bottom was absolutely delicious already but just realizing the different levels, the different textures and the different intensities made this one of my absolutely favorite dishes!

The main course trio was around the “Guinea hen in three courses” and started with “ravioli of roasted potatoes …”

… “in roasted Guinea hen sauce”. The raviolo was simple in taste yet delicious. And the Guinea hen sauce added the little extra to it, it needed.

The second course was “Guinea hen à la Crete … tribute to the Cantarellis”. Now, I cannot totally tell you what it was but there was a celery puree, there was roasted truffle …

… and it was refined with another reduction.

The last course was a “Guinea hen crunchy skin, savor livers and truffle”. Now, this is not necessarily something I would like to try again. It had too intense a taste of liver and not the pleasant ones like goose or duck but somehow a bit pungent.

Another favorite of mine was the “pumpkin risotto”. Now, pumpkin risotto itself is not really that amazing but have you ever had risotto for dessert? Yeah, me neither! And the fact that the pumpkin risotto was prepared in a reduction of orange …

… and finished with shavings of a “burnt grated orange” which seemed super confusing but was actually really breath-taking and absolutely mouth-watering.

A dish Massimo Bottura got famous with was the famous “Oops! I dropped the lemon tart”. And it does really look like someone dropped the lemon tart and it exploded upon hitting the ground. And it is generally tasty but for my personal gusto the taste of the lemon was too intense.

As a “side dessert” to the actual dessert, they served something called “baba” (or the like). Not sure, what exactly it is but it was overall good.

Last but not least, “petite fours” were served which were ranging from chocolates with goose liver to cherry bombs. Lovely really!

All in all, eating at Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana, the current No. 1 of the world, is definitely worth the travel (there are direct flights to Bologna from Vienna and Frankfurt). A unique experience!

What I liked most about the whole experience was the approachableness (not sure that is even a word :-) ) of Massimo Bottura himself. We saw him briefly when he passed the restaurant before we were able to enter. Secondly, we saw him again at the end of the menu when he came to every table and people took selfies with him. And he was super fine with it. Lovely really!

The service is almost flawless. There was one moment when the waiters took the plates while not everyone at the table was already finished. That was the only moment of ‘flaw’ and they realized within a second and stopped taking the other plates and walked away. All in all, I can absolutely recommend you to take your time, book in advance, and enjoy a unique experience!


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Contact Details:

Osteria Francescana

Via Stella 22

41121 Modena (IT)

Tel.: +39 059 223 912

E-Mail: info@francescana.it

Homepage: http://www.osteriafrancescana.it

About the Author:

I started the blog in October 2009, while living in Milan which I definitely consider to be one of the food capitals of the world. I was in touch with food since my early childhood (as my father is a former chef). Whenever I can, I travel the world to discover new places, to meet people but mostly to try local dishes and to find hidden gems! If you know a place worth going, please drop a line to: info@thediningexperience.org. Currently, I am a member of the following food-related associations: Chevalier @Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Zurich-Ville; Membre Gourmet Dégustateur @Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs [OMGD]; Gesellschafter @Goldener Fisch and Member @Slowfood Convivium Zurich City.
EUR 770.00 (incl. tip) Filed in: Modena (IT), Restaurants, The World's 50 Best Restaurants

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