Every year The World’s 50 Best Restaurants compiles a list of well…the world’s 50 best restaurants! If you’re anything like me, food is what makes the world go ’round. I absolutely love to eat and often times the highlight of a new city for me is the food and drink possibilities 🙂
Last year’s #1 spot went to El Celler de Can Roca of Girona, Spain, which placed #2 this year.
The world’s best restaurant for 2016 is Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana of Modena, Italy (score one for the homeland!). You may have seen this restaurant on Netflix’s Chefs Table! After watching the episode I actually really like this guy. Essentially in 2012 much of Northern Italy was struck by a large earthquake, nearly rendering 360,000 Parmigiano Reggiano cheese wheels unsalable. The top cheese guy in Modena quickly ran to Massimo and asked if there was a way he could save them. Massimo created Riso Cacio e Pepe, a twist on an old favorite. After creating this dish and having it adopted by thousands of chefs around the world, all 360,000 damaged cheese wheels were sold!
As with most of the restaurants on this list, prices are pretty high. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t spend 60 euro on “Five ages of Parmigiano Reggiano” or 50 euro for tagliatelle with ragu. That’s just not my style, though it does sound phenomenal. I’m more of the 9-euro-for-an-entire-pizza kind of guy (this exists).
The tasting menu consists of 10 items and costs 180 euro per person. If you’d like a wine pairing to go along with that, add an extra 120 euro for a total 300 euro per person – crazy.
For an extra 20 euro you can bump your experience to the “Sensations” tasting menu which adds three more courses.
You can view the English menu here.
Some of my highlights:
- Ravioli filled with leeks, foie gras and truffles 70 euro
- Traditional Modenese miniature tortellini in capon broth 50 euro
- Suckling pig with Villa Manodori traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena 80 euro
How to get there
Modena is about halfway between Venice and Genoa and just above Bologna.
You can reach Modena from Rome by car (4.5 hours), train (3 hours), plane (1 hour to Bologna airport). Flights during off-peak season (September-March) are very reasonable at roughly ~$500-600 round trip.
You can, of course, fly right into Bologna and take a 40 minute train ride up to Modena.
If taking the train from Rome appeals to you, you can grab a Trenitalia ticket for just around 80 euro roundtrip. Make sure to book the Frecciarossa train (equivalent to Acela) for the quickest ride.
A bit about the owner
Born and raised in Modena, owner Massimo Bottura opened his first restaurant in 1986 called Trattoria del Campazzo. At the time, Bottura was studying law and decided to push his studies to the backburner for a chance to live his dream. Osteria Francescana was opened in 1995.
Bottura has worked with many famous chefs including Alain Ducasse and Georges Coigny. Aside from cooking, Bottura is also an author, having penned four books:
- Aceto Balsamico (2005),
- Parmigiano Reggiano (2006),
- PRO. Attraverso tradizione e innovazione (2006),
- Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef (2014)
In 2014, Bottura opened his only restaurant outside of Italy with Ristorante Italia di Massimo Bottura being opened in Istanbul, Turkey.
I’m not big on these “tasting” style restaurants as I’m mostly in it for the value received. This is not a knock on Osteria Francescana. It’s more so a subconscious reaction to the thought of my Italian grandmother whacking me on the head for paying 50 euro for a dish of pasta.
I’m heading to Italy for 10 days in September, albeit Southern Italy. Should I try it? Hmmm…