When I first saw the Chef’s Table documentary on Netflix featuring Osteria Francescana, a little over a year ago, I thought to myself “I have to go someday.” Many chefs have become celebrities, so to go try the creations of Massimo Bottura, the owner and chef of Osteria Francescana, I knew would be extraordinary.
Trying to get a reservation at a restaurant that is ranked number two on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, is no easy task. Reservations open for a season on a specified date at 10 a.m. local Italian time (4 a.m. EST!), meaning you must be very skilled on the web to secure your spot. We finally got the reservation after a couple of attempts, because we were initially on the waiting list. I then had to make sure the restaurant was kid-friendly since I was going with my two children ages 11 and 8. Fortunately, they were able to go too.
The moment I entered the restaurant it gave me a flashback and I started to transport myself back to the documentary with every step I took. I remembered the art and suddenly there were the pigeons! It is a whole lab of ideas. The atmosphere, the decoration and even every musical theme seemed to play in synchronicity with each dish.
As for the menu, there are two choices: a la carte, or the “TUTTO” meaning everything, which includes 12 different culinary experiences. Obviously, I chose tutto. To start I enjoyed the “insalata di mare,” then the “angel hair in crustacean and aromatic herbs gazpacho,” and mediterranean sole, followed by “marinated eel in balsamic vinegar.” It was caramelized and combined with two different purees – truly out of this world!
The fifth dish was an exhibition, “rice: green over brown over black like a camouflage” – it was almost a work of art embodied in a semi-deep dish. My sixth dish was “Autumn in New York in Spring” followed by the “5 stages of Parmiggiano Reggiano.” The different textures and temperatures really complimented one another, not only for the taste and the pleasure of how they mix in your mouth but also the technique that exists on a plate that the chef created. Speaking of cheese: click here if you want to read the most endearing story about how Bottura helped cheese producers after a 2012 earthquake ravaged their supplies.
We rounded out our meal with the “Camouflage Pigeon” followed by the “Asparagus in Bloom” and we finalized the salty dishes with the “Better than Pop Corn,” which I found very entertaining!
The OMG dish to end the experience was “Oops! I dropped the lemon tart,” absolutely stunning. But “Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart” was not the final dessert. The final touches were three dishes that they called “Vignola Croc,” “Croccantinos of Foie Gras,” and another called “Camouflage: A Hare in the Woods” with truffles with a touch of green paint.
This meal was absolutely unforgettable and if you get the chance, I highly recommend you try and take a visit. After all, a trip to Italy never sounds like a bad idea.
Tips and an FYI note: Reservations are currently booked up through the end of September. The restaurant will begin taking bookings via its website for December on September 1, at 10 a.m. Local time; that’s 4 a.m. EST/1 a.m. PST, so have fun!