A reinvention of Italian cuisine by a famously passionate chef
What makes it special: Nestled down a cobbled street in peaceful Modena, Osteria Francescana is the gem of Italian gastronomy that rose to the top of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants last year in the hands of talented chef Massimo Bottura. But it could have been very different – in its early days, the restaurant almost closed after conservative locals were resistant to Bottura’s daring approach to cooking.
On the menu: A poet, storyteller and artist as much as a cook, Bottura weaves narratives through his dishes, playing with traditions and experimenting with ingredients from the Emilia-Romagna region from whence he hails. Courses include the famous Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano, which takes the diner through the region’s esteemed cheese in different temperatures, textures and tastes, and The Crunchy Part of the Lasagna, Bottura’s reinvention of a corner of the classic Italian dish.
The space: Bottura’s creations are heavily influenced by art and music (in particular, jazz), and the dining space is made up of three elegant rooms that are adorned with high-quality contemporary artwork.
Other projects: A passionate political campaigner, Bottura has stepped up his game by founding the Food for Soul not-for-profit project to fight hunger and food waste, and the last year has seen him speak on the subject at numerous events around the globe. He also owns Franceschetta 58, a more casual contemporary Italian pantry in Modena.