Where to Eat in Modena

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Want to know more about where to eat in Modena? Check out my free culinary guide to Modena Italy.

Modena may be one of my favourite places to eat in the world for a very simple reason.

There are no tourist restaurants.

Need to see it for yourself? Check out this quick video of where to eat in Modena. And then get more details below.

It’s a small city so there’s no room for a tourist ghetto in Modena.

When you eat in Modena you are sitting alongside locals. For this reason alone I know I’ll return.

Bar Schiavoni

Bar Schiavoni

Covered by every major travel publication, word is this tiny sandwich shop in the corner of the Modena market was sold to the sisters who worked there and unfortunately quality has suffered.

You wouldn’t know that by the line-up of locals and friendly service.

With hearty options of traditional cotechino or whimsical smoked salmon combinations it’s worth a visit.

Da Panino

Da Panino

Love charcuterie? Love sandwiches? Eat here.

The owner of this new restaurant once worked at Michelin starred Osteria Francesca around the corner but left to open this small, but charming deli and sandwich shop.

The owner speaks English but the staff may not.

Don’t fret because it’s a simple menu of sandwiches at a communal table so if you see something you like just point.

bollito misto at Da Danilo

Ristorante Da Danilo

It’s pretty tough to find a bad review of Da Danilo with swift service and comfort food.

You’ll find a true Modenese experience here, seated next to families and groups of friends.

For the adventurous, try the bollito misto, traditional boiled, stuffed pig trotter, head and tongue.

My personal favourite is the mostarda di frutta, it looks like strange candied jelly but this sweet and spicy condiment pairs perfectly with meat.

Osteria Stallo del Pomodoro

This former horse stable is now a casual restaurant offering great, traditional dishes. Chef Massimilliano ‘Max” Tellol has published a gluten-free cookbook and offers many gluten-free meals at the restaurant including pasta and mains.

I spent the morning with Max as he showed me how to make tortelloni using gluten-free flour.

If he hadn’t told me it was gluten-free I would have never known.

Hosteria Carducci

Hostaria Carducci

Another great option if you’re looking for traditional food, charcuterie and a local

crowd. This is THE place to try traditional meat in balsamic sauce, I highly recommend the guanciale – but then again who doesn’t adore pork cheek?

cod fritters

Ristorante Da Enzo

Simple clean decor with classic food. Like much of Modena, this Ristorante da Enzo is casual, filled with groups of friends and happy servers, happy to offer recommendations.

Try the handmade fresh pasta or lasagna. Fancy dessert? Order the traditional Barozzi cake with mascarpone from Vignola.


L’Erba del Re

After a few days of eating traditional food, treat yourself to fine dining.

Chef Luca Marchini’s food is rooted in tradition, like this balsamic risotto with a modern touch and thoughtful approach to the tasting menu.

Don’t worry if you don’t have formal wear.

While there are white linens and haute service aplenty, you’ll find locals wearing jeans.

mercato albinelli

Mercato Albinelli

Mercato Albinelli is a modestly sized market that can be explored in an hour or two, not surprisingly there are no tourist stalls.

This is a working market but vendors are friendly to tourists and will offer suggestions for local treats.

It’s a cheap place for lunch and is often recommended for great food souvenirs, offering DOP products.

Note, the market also practices pausa pranzo opening from 6:30-2:30pm and 4:30-7:30pm.


Out of Town: Trattoria La Campagnola

One dish that is difficult to find in Modena is borlenghi, as this thin crepe-like bread is time consuming to make and therefore usually for social gatherings.

However, if you venture outside to rural Vignola there are two restaurants which specialize in it.

Delicious but rich, the borlenghi are stuffed with Modenese pesto and parmesan. Order one to start and wait to see if you’d like more.

Best Restaurants I Missed

Hosteria Giusti

One of the oldest delis in the world, it was established in 1605 and while it is highly praised, it only has four tables – or eight in the summer. It is widely praised for delicious, traditional food.

Osteria Francescana

Chef Massimo Bottura is a heavy weight in the food world with three Michelin stars. With only 12 tables and menus beginning at 130€ you may opt to dine at his more casual, less expensive brasserie Franceschetta 58.

Osteria Da Ermes

This osteria is run by Ermes and his wife, with a small menu that changes daily and what many locals proclaim to be the best representation of Modenese food.

Show up at 12pm if you would like to be seated. I arrived at 1:30 and it was the height of lunch with a line out the door.

I hand signalled to Ermes that I was solo and he threw his hands up in the air in despair and asked another person in the queue to explain in English that I must return in an hour as the singles table was full.

If you want to know more about where to eat in Modena – the customs, traditions and food check out my free culinary travel guide to Modena.

Join the Conversation

  1. Annette | Bucket List Journey says:

    Yep, I’d pretty much each at any one of those dishes at any one of those restaurants. But, if I had to pick just one the traditional Barozzi cake with mascarpone from Vignola sounds divine!

  2. Thanks for sharing this bucket of information about restaurants in Modena…

  3. Modena is one of wonderful place for visit and how well is here described about its delicious dishes and places where we can eat them through pictures and videos. Wonderful sharing.

  4. Modena looks like the authentic Italy I’ve been searching for a long time … can’t wait to eat there!

  5. Dear Ayngelina! Your blog about travelling and tasting wow dishes looks stunning, I am glad that I went by it!
    I wonder, in Modena in Hosteria Giusti – what have you tasted from traditional cuisine? Did you like the place?
    Happy 2015 impressions 🙂

    PS I would also love you checking out my photoaggregation project Carde-app dot com, and you opinion about it. Thanks in advance.

  6. try also to visit morocco and try moroccan food

  7. Krakow Tour says:

    Ohh Modena great place to visit. Ive been there few moths ago. Try to visit Krakow 🙂

  8. i will remember this 🙂 great write up!

  9. Since we met for coffee last month I have been paying more and more attention to your videos and I have to say I find them totally charming! Loved both of these – they made Modena come alive for me!

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