When You Think Michelin Starred Restaurant Means Eating Nothing, You Haven’t Tried Arnaldo

When You Think Michelin Starred Restaurant Means Eating Nothing, You Haven’t Tried Arnaldo

In the picturesque town of Rubiera, nestled in the heart of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, lies a true gastronomic gem that dismantles any preconceived notions one might have about Michelin-starred dining. This is Arnaldo – Clinica Gastronomica, a sanctuary of Emilian cuisine that’s been wooing locals and travelers alike for nearly a century. If you think eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant means picking at minuscule, artfully arranged bites, let Arnaldo change your mind. Here, tradition, heartiness, and homely warmth take center stage, offering a culinary experience that is as satiating as it is refined.

The story of Arnaldo is as rich and layered as its menu, a tale that begins in 1936 with the founder, Arnaldo Degoli. Originally a violinist in a salon orchestra, Degoli was inspired by his time spent in France to open a restaurant upon his return to Italy. And so, the Clinica Gastronomica di Arnaldo was born, a place where Degoli and his wife Lina began to serve traditional recipes, some handed down by Lina’s mother and sisters and some crafted by Arnaldo himself.

In 1959, the Michelin Guide awarded Arnaldo with its first star, a prestigious honor that the restaurant has managed to retain for over six decades, making it the most enduring Michelin-starred restaurant in Italy. This consistency in quality and commitment to tradition is a testament to the restaurant’s respect for Emilian gastronomy and its dedication to the patrons who have been dining at Arnaldo for generations.

As you step into Arnaldo, housed in a 15th-century building next to the Aquila d’Oro hotel, you are welcomed into an atmospheric dining room brimming with nostalgia. The restaurant is a striking fusion of rustic elegance and authentic vintage, creating a warm and comfortable setting where time seems to have stood still.

The cuisine at Arnaldo is a celebration of Emilian gastronomic traditions. The menu features a selection of antipasti, roast and boiled meats, and desserts all displayed on trolleys that roll through the dining room. Here, you’ll find classic dishes such as erbazzone and ciccioli, homemade cappelletti in broth, tagliatelle, and the Bolognese cutlet, served with a side of history and hospitality.

The restaurant’s signature dishes have a story of their own. Degoli’s invention from the 1950s, the Spugnolata, is a rich lasagna filled with béchamel, cheese, and a sauce made from morel mushrooms. This gastronomic masterpiece has even received the seal of approval from renowned Italian chef Massimo Bottura, further cementing Arnaldo’s place in the culinary world.

Roberto Bottero, Degoli’s nephew and the current owner, along with his wife Ramona, have faithfully carried on the tradition. They continue to prepare the dishes using the same recipes taught to them by the previous chefs, ensuring the integrity of the cuisine is preserved. It’s not just the loyal clientele that appreciate this commitment to tradition; the new generation of diners, too, are drawn to this return to simplicity and authenticity.

So, if you find yourself journeying through the historic lanes of Emilia-Romagna, make a stop at the Piazza XXIV Maggio 3, the home of Arnaldo. This isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a culinary clinic that has been healing souls with comfort food and offering a palate-cleansing perspective on Michelin-starred dining for decades. Arnaldo’s enduring appeal lies not in the trappings of modern gastronomy, but in its unyielding adherence to tradition and quality. It’s a place where the past and present coalesce to create a dining experience that is truly timeless.

Tuck into a hearty bowl of homemade tagliatelle or savour the exquisite flavours of their signature Spugnolata. As you dine, take a moment to soak in the nostalgic ambiance, the echoes of Arnaldo Degoli’s violin, and the culinary legacy that has been preserved within these walls. This is more than just a Michelin-starred restaurant; it’s a gastronomic journey through time, a celebration of Emilian cuisine, and a testament to the enduring appeal of traditional, hearty, and soulful food.

Dining at Arnaldo – Clinica Gastronomica isn’t merely about having a meal; it’s about experiencing the rich tapestry of Italian culinary history, understanding the love and passion that goes into maintaining centuries-old traditions, and appreciating the charm and comfort of honest, hearty food. It’s an experience that will nourish your body, warm your heart, and stay with you long after the last morsel has been savored.

So, the next time you think Michelin-starred dining means tiny portions and pretentious offerings, remember Arnaldo – Clinica Gastronomica. This is a place that proudly defies such stereotypes, offering instead a Michelin-starred experience that’s as substantial as it is sophisticated, as welcoming as it is exceptional. And who knows? After a visit here, you might just find your definition of Michelin-starred dining forever changed.

How To Get a Reservation at Osteria Francescana? Actually, You Can’t

osteria francescana met Bottura

Or rather, you can try. But it might be more complicated than you’d imagine.

The world-famous award-winning, (three) Michelin star holding restaurant has become a celebrity of its own – one everyone who decides to visit Italy has at least once thought about eating at. And with good reason, since the dishes served by Chef Bottura at the Osteria Francescana find their roots in traditional, top-quality Emilian cuisine, but without forgetting to make a move towards the future, innovating and presenting products and produce with a refreshing, new look. The only problem? Booking a lunch or a dinner can be quite the process.

The Osteria’s Fame

In the past few years, Massimo Bottura, the chef behind the Osteria Francescana, has been praised and regarded by the culinary world for a number of reasons: for being true to his roots in his style, mission and choice of ingredients, for bringing innovative ideas – literally – to the table, and for creating new dishes that contribute to create a unique dining experience.
Thanks to this, Chef Bottura’s fame has skyrocketed to the Olympus of Italian haute-cuisine, making his restaurant, one of the most exclusive in Italy, and the best restaurant in the world, according to “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016”. The waiting list to book a table is of four months, so if you need to book for a specific date, or period of time (based on the days you’ll be in Modena), you need to be prepared.

How to Book

First of all, as we already established, the restaurant is fully booked, and sold out, for the next 4 months. New reservations start on April for the month of July, and so on.
At this link, http://www.osteriafrancescana.it/reservations/ you can see the reservations’ calendar with available dates and, if you skip forward using the arrows, you can see the instructions about booking a table: reservations open on a certain date and time, so if you want to get in early on the waiting list, prepare to call, or email the staff accordingly.
By making a reservation you are in fact inquiring about booking a table, and the Osteria will get back at you in the next 96 hours – enough time to sort the tables and pick clients from the waiting list for that date. If someone cancels their reservation, that’s all the more chance you have for your request to go through, but it can be though.
Being flexible with dates and times is a great way to get in the Osteria’s “good graces” and your reservation is more likely to be confirmed. A great way to show the staff you’re fine with multiple dates, and okay with going either at lunch or dinner is making a call.
For a successful call, remember to be nice and accommodating. Ask the staff if there’s something that can be done to fit you in, pointing out your availability.

More info can be found clicking on the following Quora and Tripadvisor links. Along with inquiries about how to make a reservation and how to contact the restaurant, you can also find other tips, reviews, and frequently asked questions about the Osteria’s dress-code and more.

Alternatives to the Osteria Francescana

Of course managing to find a spot at the Osteria can be done, but if you couldn’t book a table in time, or your reservation didn’t go through, don’t fret: there are more fantastic dining experiences to be had in and around Modena that’ll be sure to leave you a great memory (and after-taste) of your visit to the city.
Here are a couple of alternatives that you can rely on for a great lunch or dinner out, and don’t forget that the internet is always available if you need to look up restaurants and osterie on the spot. Or, you could just look around, and you’ll see plenty of quaint little places with great local and traditional menus.

The Osteria Franceschetta

Chef Bottura also manages this Osteria, with the collaboration of other famous chefs. The menu is rich of interesting, fusion-style dishes that still find their roots in Italian and local, Emilian cuisine, but without forgetting a twist in the presentation, tastes and colors.
Choosing this restaurant will make it so that you’ll still enjoy an incredible experience alongside Bottura’s ideas and creations but in a different ambient, with more affordable options that those of the Osteria Francescana, and a more relaxed booking experience.
Reservation is advised, and can be done through the Osteria’s website:

L’Erba del Re – Award-winning Restaurant in Modena

This restaurant can boast one Michelin star, along with many other awards and great results achieved through the years. If you couldn’t get into Osteria Francescana, the Ristorante L’Erba del Re is an excellent alternative, with traditional and innovative dishes, made with locally sourced and top-quality ingredients. Tasting menus for a well-rounded culinary experience are available.