Osteria Francescana in Modena (Emilia-Romagna) and Reale in Castel di Sangro (Abruzzo) have just been named the top restaurants in Italy by the 2024 guide from Gambero Rosso, a leading Italian food and wine publisher. The new guide was presented at Rome’s Teatro Quirino on Monday.
The chefs at the helm of the winning restaurants, Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana) and Niko Romito (Reale), each earned 96 out of 100 possible points, leading Gambero Rosso writer Valentina Marino to call the duo “‘different twins’ who, with their special languages and perspectives, are writing the Italian avant-garde and bringing the best of ‘Made in Italy’ to the rest of the world.”
Who are the top chefs?
Bottura, 61, is no stranger to accolades. His Osteria Francescana was awarded the top spot in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking in 2016 and 2018. Bottura has also gained international attention for his efforts in food sustainability, and was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in 2020, coinciding with the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste.
Romito, 49, runs Ristorante Reale from his native Castel di Sangro, a mountain community in Abruzzo. With no formal culinary training, Romito gained his first Michelin star in 2007, his second in 2009 and his third in 2011. The restaurant, known for its simple yet inventive menu, favors vegetables over animal proteins.
47 establishments in total received the guide’s top designation of Tre forchette or “three forks,” up from last year’s 44. (Gambero Rosso denotes prestige by awarding featured restaurants between one and three “forks” rather than stars.)
Veteran Umbrian chef Gianfranco Vissani of Casa Vissani lost a “fork,” slipping out of the elite rankings.
New entries to Italy’s elite restaurant rankings
Seven new entries were added to this year’s roster of Tre forchette restaurants — five in the north of Italy and two in the south, with Piedmont leading the pack. They are Guido di Serralunga (Alba, Piedmont); L’Antica Corona Reale (Cervere, Piedmont); Del Cambio (Turin, Piedmont); L’Atelier Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler (Brunico, Trentino-Alto Adige); Harry’s Piccolo (Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giulia); Krèsios (Telese Terme, Campania) and Pashà (Conversano, Puglia).
The guide features an impressive 2,500 restaurants in total, with 324 new entries and with Lombardy winning out for the highest number of featured eateries across different fork rankings. Selection is highly curated: According to Movimprese, a quarterly statistics publication which culls together data from local Chambers of Commerce across Italy, an estimated 400,000 restaurants — one for every 150 Italian residents — operate throughout the country.
Founded in 1986, Gambero Rosso is considered one of the world’s authorities on Italian food, wine and travel. Evaluations in their published guides are bestowed upon fine dining restaurants (forks), trattorias (prawns), pizzerias (slices) and wines (bottles).