Chef’s guide to Modena

As sous chef at Osteria Francescana, ranked No. 1 on the list of the World’s Best 50 Restaurants, Kondo Takahiko knows what it takes to deliver a memorable dining experience. Here he ranks 11 of his favourite eateries in Modena, Italy.

Chef Kondo Takahiko


#Bar Dondi (Pasticceria Dondi)

Serving macchiatone (like a cappuccino but served with less milk) and cannoli with custard made fresh every morning to start a beautiful day.


#Trattoria Bianca

My favourite place for lunch. Go here to eat gnocco fritto with prosciutto, mortadella, coppa with morello (cherry) jam and lambrusco wine.



Franceschetta58 is the bistro of Osteria Francescana. The food is fantastic and the service is good, you feel like you are at home here. Eat an amazing hamburger, Emilian-style as well as delicious tortellini and salumi mix.


#Mon Café

The owner of Mon Café used to work with us at Osteria Francescana, and he opened this very cool café which is great for breakfast, aperitivo and dinner, and is always packed with people. [Chef patron of Osteria Francescana] Massimo Bottura and I often go here for coffee.
Fresh pastries at Mon Café | Paolo Terzi, Modena

#Menomoka Coffee & More

Probably the best coffee in Modena. They have a lot of variety to choose from and I buy my coffee for home from here!masala onion and potato kachoris (pyaz ki kachori) at Rawat Misthan Bhandar in Jaipur. The long glass counter is packed with assorted sweet and savoury pastries. 


#Mercato Albinelli

This is the central market for Modena’s vegetables, fruits, meats, seafood, cheeses, hams – everything is here! I love to go in the morning before work. I get inspired from the amazing farmers and products – it’s a must-do.


#Trattoria Ermes

Posto da provare! Un posto storico!!! [A place to try! An historic place!!!] Here you can feel the essence of Modena. Open for lunch only, [patron] Ermes Rinaldi is always there. He is a famous and inspiring person in Modena!



A beautiful space. They have amazing wines and do fantastic cocktails. I really like one cocktail called Hugo. It’s a must-try! Here is a place to watch the world go by. The amazing Ghirlandina bell tower sits in front of you, you can drink good wines and cocktails – it’s a very romantic place.


#Bar Enoteca Ristretto

Amazing wines and cheeses, and open late into the night. I often go with the guys from [Osteria] Francescana after work and we party all night.


#10 Cà Cerfogli

About 60km outside Modena, Cà Cerfogli is a beautiful restaurant for a traditional meal. When the autumn season of porcini and truffle arrives, this is the best place to enjoy these fungi done in different ways. I always go to have tortellini with white truffle when in season. 

#11 Ristorante Pizzeria Gambero Rosso

Massimo and I always visit for a great pizza and mussels gratinatela.

Cuisine at Franceschetta58

The details

Kondo Takahiko is in Sydney for two sold-out dinners at Ormeggio and LuMi, but there are still tickets available to see him with chef Alessandro Pavoni at their Sydney Seafood School masterclass on 14 January 2017. Tickets are $220.




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Weather to go

For a relatively small country, the weather differs significantly between northern and southern Italy. The north of Italy is flanked by the Alps and the Apennines, generating a harsh climate with brutally cold winters and hot, humid, summers.  The middle part of the country has a mild climate with little change seen between winters and summers, while the south of Italy and the islands winters are hardly noticeable.  Due to these differences the best time to visit depends on what region you are visiting, but the high seasons are May through early July and September & October.


Best places to stay

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