Osteria Francescana, Modena

The Osteria Francescana  is constantly moving: I was last here approximately one month ago and I am now choosing from a menu that offers many completely new dishes. The dining room runs as smoothly as a Swiss watch, one of the serious ones. Beppe Palmieri is more and more confident and central: he silently moves around and invariably manages to find the perfect combinations. He has always reminded me of the Great Lebowsky, seemingly careless and minimal, but in reality with a very clear idea of the concept of elegance and contemporary service.

Massimo is in sparkling form: he's the sneakers-wearing master of a generation of new chefs that from Italy are are conquering the world, driven by a tradition and by products that have no competitors.
What makes me smile is thinking about how the consecration in the Red Guide, which in any other place means conservation and standstill, here becomes movement and life.

La Francescana has radically changed, but with no fuss, almost on its tiptoes. The new entrance is splendid, warm and captivating: the earthy tones and plated leather give an air of Made in Italy and of beauty. The new kitchen is a gem created to ease the work of those who spend 15 hours a day here: 90 square metres that will replace and integrate the tiny original one. Works of art are dotted, almost accidentally, along the walls and are harmonized perfectly with La Francescana's language. The venue is increasingly beautiful and well-finished with iconic pieces and perfectly suited vintage furniture, laid out for our pleasure: it's soon obvious that the host is the guest that has achieved his ambition of a perfect break.

Above everything else is Massimo's cuisine, which is modern, technical, traditional, innovative, fun and serious. Heart and gut are both looked after in equal measure in new classic recipes, such as the “Foie gras crunch”, the “Tortellini with super cream”, the “Homage to monk” or in the creative intuitions, including “Livery anchovies” and “Normandy”.
If I were to name a single place in Italy where one should eat to understand the language of new Italian cuisine, of that twine between tradition, innovation, products and flavours that are at the heart of it, I would have no doubts: it would be La Francescana.

Talking with Max is enlightening: he is full of energy, lost among his new projects and centred on the present. One only needs to taste the dishes and everything falls into place: the solidity of the dishes one is familiar with (which are always slightly different nonetheless) and the cracking new ones. A speed so fast it is almost imperceptible to the eyes, but solid and tangible. It makes no sense to oppose innovation and tradition, ever... At La Francescana it makes even less sense!

Unmissable dishes:
Tortellini with super cream
Adriatic Cheviche
Noah's Arc

comment this article