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Italy once more has the ‘world’s best restaurant’

Italy's Osteria Francescana was crowned the world's best restaurant for the second time on Tuesday at an awards ceremony by British trade magazine Restaurant, beating out top eateries in Spain and France.

Italy once more has the 'world's best restaurant'
Chef Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Run by chef Massimo Bottura, the restaurant in Modena, Italy pipped last year's winner, New York's Eleven Madison Park, in the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards, after first taking the honour in 2016. It is the only Italian establishment to have won the annual accolade.

“This is amazing, this is something we built all together,” Bottura told the awards ceremony held in Bilbao in Spain's northern Basque Country, famous for its avant-garde haute cuisine.

“I am going to use this spotlight to show that chefs in 2018 are much more than the sum of their recipes.”

The judges praised “Bottura's contemporary cuisine, which challenges and reinvents Italian culinary tradition while make use of the finest produce from the Emilia-Romagna region”.

READ ALSO: Meet the Italian chef behind the world's best restaurant


Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

His father wanted him to become a lawyer but when he was 23 years old Bottura, who was famous for rustling up culinary delights for his friends, dropped his law studies to open a Trattoria in Campazzo, in the countryside around Modena in the Po River Valley.

On his days off, he would study with French chef Georges Cogny, who had a restaurant two hours away.

“He said to me: 'Always follow your palate, because you have a great palate which will make Modena known around the world',” Bottura said during an interview with AFP in 2016.

He opened Osteria Francescana in 1995, after spending time in New York and Monaco.

READ ALSO: 

Spain's El Celler de Can Roca, which took the top honour in 2013 and 2015, came in second while third place went to Mirazur in southern France.

Restaurant magazine, owned by William Reed Media, launched the awards in 2002 and they are now as coveted by restaurants as Michelin stars, although the methodology used to select the best restaurants has faced criticism, especially from several French chefs who say it remains unclear.

There are no criteria for putting a restaurant on the list, which is based on an anonymous poll of more than 1,000 chefs, restaurant owners, food critics and other industry insiders from around the world. Each member gets ten votes and at least four of those votes have to go to restaurants outside their region.

The 2018 list of 50 best restaurants included eateries in 22 countries, but over half were in Europe. Six are in the United States, six in Latin America and six in Asia.

READ ALSO: The phrases you need to know to decipher Italian restaurant menus


Photo: annakhomulo/Depositphotos

By Alvaro Villalobos 

LA BELLA VITA

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you’ll find in Italy

From Italian podcasts to surprising delicacies and our favourite overlooked travel destinations, new weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you'll find in Italy

La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in ‘My Account’ or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

A cornerstone of Italian culture, the tabaccheria is used for much more than just buying cigarettes. In fact, these little shops are pretty central to everyday life and anyone who moves to or just spends time in Italy will need to become as familiar with them as they are with the local coffee bar.

From paying bills to purchasing bus tickets, here are just some of the services you should know about and a few tips for your first visit.

Why the tabaccheria is essential to life in Italy – even if you don’t smoke

For Italian language learners: listening to podcasts is a great way to immerse yourself in a new language. Luckily there’s a vast range of audio shows for people wanting to learn Italian, whether you’re studying at an advanced level or learning from scratch. Here we’ve selected a few of our favourites, plus readers’ suggestions:

Some of the best podcasts for learners of Italian

Italy is known worldwide for pizza and gelato, but Italian cuisine is incredibly diverse and visitors are often surprised by some of the local delicacies on offer. I know rustic Tuscan cuisine didn’t exactly match my expectations when I first arrived in Italy. I quickly learned to love it – but my mother-in-law’s homemade chocolate cake made with pig’s blood (sanguinaccio is a delicacy in Puglia…) was a step too far!

So, from fried brains and tripe to suggestive desserts that you definitely wouldn’t expect the local priest to approve of, here’s a look at some more of the traditional foods loved by Italians – but not always by foreigners.

From fried brains to ‘sexy’ cakes: The Italian foods you might not expect in Italy

Visitors can find more than they bargained for at a traditional Italian food market. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

As regular visitors know, there’s much more to Italy than just the glamour of Rome, Venice or Florence, but some destinations suffer – we think unfairly – from negative reputations. From Caserta to Reggio Calabria and beyond, here are some of the overlooked Italian towns that are home to incredible sights that everyone should see at least once.

Nine overlooked Italian towns you should visit

If you’re planning a visit to Italy (or to another part of Europe from Italy) this year but want to cut down your carbon footprint, train travel is a great option and there are more routes than ever connecting Italy’s major cities to other parts of the continent.

Here are some of the main direct international train services you can use for travel between Italy and other European countries this year.

The train routes connecting Italy to the rest of Europe in 2023

Remember if you’d like to have this weekly newsletter sent straight to your inbox you can sign up for it via Newsletter preferences in “My Account”.

Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you’d like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]

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