Yes, it is a Michelin-star restaurant, but we would rather focus on the chef, the produce and the experience. Chef Massimo Bottura was thought in Italy to have ‘poisoned’ Italian cuisine with his avant-garde take on Italian dishes; it would be a while before he earned a great name for himself.
When something new is introduced, it is often accompanied by fear and anxiety. When Bottura started introducing his own version of Italian cuisine to the conservative taste buds of Modena, the same occurred. However, reinventing tradition while retaining the rich flavours of the past has essentially earned Osteria Francescana its name, authenticity of flavour and innovative storytelling.
Bottura’s signature dish consists of five different ages (from 24 to 50 months) of Parmigianino-Reggiano layered in five different textures. The dish is almost like a tribute to Modena, which is known for its Parmigianino-Reggiano cheese. Bottura himself is a true Parmigianino advocate, having supported its producers when their factories were damaged during the terrible earthquake that struck Modena in 2012. ‘Five ages of Parmesan cheese’ is served on Osteria Francescana’s ‘Traditional in Evolution’ menu.
In the dessert section, ‘Oops, I dropped the lemon tart’, an accidental name following an accident where Sous-Chef Yoji Tokuyoshi dropped one of the restaurant’s lemon tarts. Rather than showing outrage, Bottura was spellbound by the deconstructed idea of a lemon tart. The tart has since appeared as a broken tart splattered onto the dish in an artful manner. The taste? Well, it will certainly send your taste buds for a ride – the perfect send-off to leave you in wonderment.
Osteria Francescana serves several different menus. ‘Tradition in Evolution’ is a menu that ‘explores Emilian ingredients and traditions from a contemporary point of view over 9 courses’, starting at 170 euros per person. ‘Sensations’ is the more experimental menu; the current version is entitled ‘Come to Italy with Me’ and starts at 195 euros per person.
This modest restaurant is truly worth paying a visit, for a culinary experience that will leave memories of authentic Italian cuisine presented in a way that almost defies what Italian cuisine should look like.