Osteria Francescana (Modena): a la carte return not so good


(Visited: June 2013)

So it happened that last time, stunned by the Classici menu, we thought it was Italian cuisine at its best, yet this time, several dishes chosen a la carte, while obviously very good (with one exception), were not remotely as convincing as the accolades and the prices (and the pompous webpage…) would warrant.

There were problems in execution: both in a mullet and in a monkfish we found bones. Especially in the monkfish this is inexcusable in a 3* restaurant.



And, we honestly were not convinced by either the flavours or the ideas in some other dishes. For example, we did not understand the point of enveloping a prawn in a casing so thin that it was virtually undetectable: highly skilled work, but zero in terms of contribution to flavour or texture.



Nor did we get the point of naming a dish ‘sardines and scampi’ and presenting you with a mullet with squid ink… Sorry, we don’t find this funny.

Sardines with prawns/red mullets with squid ink

Sardines with prawns/red mullets with squid ink

Also, the prawn had a weird and not so pleasant taste and texture: we suspect something, and they were rather evasive (the staff, not the prawns) when asked for the provenance (it’s very strange for this to happen in this type of venue where they normally shout the origin of the produce from the rooftop).
Up to desserts, the best dish had been a starter of culatello – not saying much for the culinary value added…



Until we came to pre-desserts and desserts, where once again we experienced the Osteria as we knew it: stunning flavours and ideas, rooted in the Italian tradition. The ‘think pink’ predessert (with beetroots and strawberry), a chocolate and vignola cherry dessert, and a sweet/salty revisitation of Bottura’s famous five-cheese savoury dish were all breathtaking.

Gorgeous pear and parmesan

Gorgeous pear and parmesan

Service was again a pleasant and well-oiled machine. Bottura did the usual round of the room, but the restaurant might perhaps benefit if he spent more time checking the dishes.



2 comments on “Osteria Francescana (Modena): a la carte return not so good

  1. In June of last year I came so close to visit them but was exhausted by too many meals I had on that trip. I am planning to visit them next year if all things go accordingly and shall remember that I need not to rely on the A la Carte items, though, based on your pics, I can see that they put plenty of thoughts in their dishes: the dishes do not seem to be simple combinations of 2 or 3 ingredients, and the item of ‘ pear and parmesan” talk for that, comprising of what seems to be a purée, a mousse, some foam, etc. I’ll do as you did last time: I’ll opt for the Classici menu . Question: what about the wine pairing? Is the wine pairing flawless there?

  2. Well you did more than enough on your last trip…good you saved something for this year 🙂
    We don’t believe in wine pairings, so we normally either we don’t have wine and focus on food, or just have a wine that we fancy to drink in the intervals, not with food. This time we took the advice of the sommelier and had ‘his first wine’, a very pleasant (and relatively inexpensive) Timorasso from the Tortona hills (Colli Tortonesi). It’s called Glocal. It’s the Italian reply to the Loire 🙂

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