Italy and its food are on top of the world.

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What is the best restaurant on the planet? According to San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants its Osteria Francescana.

The honor is well deserved. Chef Massimo Bottura and his phenomenal team have worked together for many years with a humble attitude, a penchant for funky creativity and natural talent.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit Osteria Francescana with one of Le Baccanti’s clients. I fell in love. I had just experienced tasting the best Tagaliatella al Ragù of my life. Soon I discovered other creations on the menu to admire like the Croccantino of Fois Gras with balsamic vinegar heart.

A year later I was invited to London to introduce the new Cecchi Winery Super Tuscan wine “Coevo” to the British press and some MWs. I had six wines starting with a 1989 vintage to a new release and Massimo crafted a dish to pair with each wine. People were in awe for his laid-back approach and high level performance. The same night we were both meant to attend a gala dinner. I decided to sneak out to catch up with some London friends at a dim sum house.  An hour and a few pints in a man with a black hoodie walked in the door. He goes straight to the counter to order almost every dim sum item on the menu. When he turned around I saw that it was Massimo! Over a ton of dumplings, he explained his idea of making a “cotechino” – a Modena special New Year’s Eve fresh pork sausage and lentils stuffed raviolo. His idea became a reality and what resulted was an Italian dim sum dumpling!

Last April during my visit to Osteria Francescana Massimo was in the most motivated mood. When were leaving the restaurant after a delicious meal he told me that “ We are living in a great moment, we are making history here.” He hugged me and as he dashed off he said, “I gotta go talk to the priest about the mensa for the homeless in Modena!”

I can’t hide how proud I feel for an Italian chef the caliber of Massimo to receive this well-deserved recognition. A toast to Massimo and his team. And to the long line of guests waiting to get a table I say, don’t give up. It is worth the wait!

Should you not be able to make it while you are visiting, don’t worry because on the 50 Best list there are another three great Italian restaurants: in 17th place is Enrico Crippa of Piazza Duomo on Alba, in 39th place is Le Calandre, and in 46th place is Combal Zero in Rivoli. Aside from these, there is an infinite list of Michelin star restaurants and old school Trattoria where you can feed your tummy, soul, and mind with delicious bites!

Here is the list of winning restaurants:

Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy

El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain

Eleven Madison Park, New York City

Central, Lima, Peru

Noma, Copenhagen

Mirazur, Menton, France

Mugaritz, Errenteria, Spain

Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan

Steirereck, Vienna, Austria

Asador Etxebarri, Axpe, Spain

D.O.M., São Paulo, Brazil

Quintonil, Mexico City

Maido, Lima, Peru

The Ledbury, London, UK

Alinea, Chicago

Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain

Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy

White Rabbit, Moscow, Russia

L’Arpege, Paris, France

Amber, Hong Kong

Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain

Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa

Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand

Le Bernardin, New York City

Pujol, Mexico City

The Clove Club, London, UK

Saison, San Francisco

Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark

Tickets, Barcelona, Spain

Astrid y Gaston, Lima, Peru

RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan

Restaurant Andre, Singapore

Attica, Melbourne, Australia

Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin, Germany

Vendome, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany

Borago, Santiago, Chile

Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand

De Librije, Zwolle, the Netherlands

Le Calandre, Italy

Relae, Copenhagen, Denmark

Fäviken, Sweden

Ultraviolet, Shanghai, China

Biko, Mexico City

Estela, New York

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK

Combal Zero, Rivoli, Italy

Schloss Schauenstein, Austria

Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocatino Hills, New York

QuiQue Dacosta, Denia, Spain

Septime, Paris, France

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