Dinner at Osteria Francescana at Casa Maria Luigi

Osteria Francescana at Casa Maria Luigi by Massimo Bottura

Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, is often selected as one of the top restaurants in the world, if not the best. Chef Bottura amazes all of the senses with his food and innovative takes on cuisine. His small restaurant in Modena has spawned an empire, and he now has an amazing hotel in Modena, Casa Maria Luigi, plus many more business partnerships. I recently stayed at Casa Maria Luigi where he also operates an outpost of the immensely popular Osteria Francescana. While staying there (read more about the amazing hotel here,) we had dinner in a private room and were treated to a “greatest hits” menu from Osteria Francescana.

The Main Dining Room at Osteria Francescana at Casa Maria Luigi

About The Menu

We stayed at a cottage on the hotel grounds, and were thus afforded the option for a private room for dinner. I was traveling with my mother, daughter, and husband, and we decided for the private room. The other dining experience for guests is in a small building that houses a beautiful little restaurant with a communal dining room. We had breakfast later in our stay in this area.

The meal is a 7 (8?) course tasting menu, and our dinner lasted over 3 hours. Offered as an option is a curated wine selection, or you may select your own wines from their extensive list. We selected the curated option, and the wines were served throughout the meal.

As I said earlier, the dishes offered were not the usual selection at the main restaurant, which can change quite often depending on the season and the inspiration of the chefs. The menu at the Casa is of some of Chef Bottura’s best known or favorite dishes, and our presenter told us the backstory and inspiration for each. He also told us all of the flavors/ingredients, and the recommended way to sample the dish. Honestly, I don’t remember all of the ingredients (again, we had the wine addition,) so I’m just going to give you the gist of the dishes along with my pics. Please note, the ambiance in the private room was amazing for the dinner, but the lighting was not great for pics. Please excuse, as none of the pictures really tell the amazing story of the dishes.

The Dinner at Osteria Francescana

Dinner was amazing- let’s get started!

Menu Cover
Our dinner menu
The wine courses. Wines started with a lightly sparkling dry wine, and continued through a wonderful Lambrusco at the end, for which the area is famous.
Pasta al Pesto
“If I’m wrong, I’m Right.” The second course, with amazingly tender salted cod
“Camo Rice” Third course, served with 3 different colors of risotto.
“Five ages of Parigiano Reggiano, in different textures and temperatures” Picked as one of the National Dishes of Italy, Chef Botturo’s dish changed the very perception and marketing of the amazing Parmigiano Reggiono cheese.
“The Crunchy Part of the Lasagna”. An amazingly light, lasagna noodle, dyed in the colors of Italy, atop a Bolognese sauce that would normally be the filling for lasagna.
“Beautiful, spin-painted veal, charcoal grilled, with glorious colors as a painting.” Each of these “paints” on the plate was a differently flavored sauce. The veal medallion was rubbed in charcoal then cooked sous-vide. Tender enough to cut with a fork, this really was the star of the dinner.
“Think Green,” a wonderful and fresh palate cleanser.
“Oops, I dropped the Lemon Tart!” This dish was actually inspired by a chef in the kitchen who dropped a Lemon Tart. The story goes that this inspired Chef to recreate the dropped tart as it reminded him of Italy itself- a beautiful country where the trains don’e always run on time. The immaculately prepared lemon tart, when dropped, becomes like that- not necessarily perfect but still delicious, in whatever final form it may take.
“Surprise Surprise” The “surprise” here is that Chef served tortellini as the last course. Not because it is expected, but because everyone in the Modena region should have some tortellini.

At this point, we were well past the point of being full, and that cozy cabin was calling our names. We turned down even more items such as cookies and sweets or cheese. This was truly an amazing meal and definitely one of my bucket list items.

A glass of wine and a beautiful room!

As always, thanks for reading. Now get out there and cross something off your bucket list!