Osteria Francescana in Modena, helmed by chef Massimo Bottura, was crowned the world’s best restaurant for 2018 at ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ event - the Oscars of gastronomy – held in Spain last week. This is the second time that Bottura’s dining establishment has gotten the top spot on the prestigious list produced by the British magazine Restaurant – it topped the list in 2016, and was second last year.
Here’s how the award’s website has summed up Osteria Francescana’s dining experience:
“Massimo Bottura may be a big personality with high-profile international projects, but Osteria Francescana remains a small, discreet restaurant in the relatively modest Italian town of Modena. It also happens to deliver one of the very finest dining experiences in the world, combining nods to tradition with fierce modernity, philosophical conceptions with old-fashioned flavour, warmth with daring.”
The award’s website points out how, a few years ago, the restaurant risked closing because Bottura’s innovative approach clashed with the fierce attachment to traditions by locals. Assisted by his American wife, Lara Gilmore, Bottura did not give up and today he is one of the most celebrated chefs in the world. Osteria Francescana also boasts three Michelin stars, the highest award by culinary bible Michelin guide.
As highlighted by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Bottura mostly uses ingredients from the Emilia-Romagna region (where his native Modena is), and “weaves a range of narratives through his dishes.” It mentions as an example the “Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano, which takes the diner through the region’s esteemed cheese in different temperatures, textures and tastes.”
In describing the space, the award’s website writes that “The kitchen’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.”
There are three more Italian chefs on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. They are:
Enrico Crippa, Piazza Duomo (Alba, region of Piedmont), 16th place;
Massimiliano Alajmo, Le Calandre (Sarmeola di Rubano, region of Veneto), 23rd place;
Niko Romito, Reale (Castel di Sangro, region of Abruzzo), 36th place.