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Apr 28, 2013 06:39 PM

Help, please! Modena, Ferrara, Castell' Arquato

We're looking for an upscale (or semi-upscale) memorable dinner spot in Modena (not Francescana), a great lunch spot in or around Modena (open on Sunday so not Giusti, unfortunately -- near Villa San Donnino or somewhere enroute from Modena a plus). Not finding too much on the boards here for Modena so if anyone has any updated info we'd be very grateful.

Also, looking for one delicious dinner in Ferrara, preferably with a good wine list (Allende cautions one must drive to the countryside which we would gladly do but not sure if it will be possible on this trip so something either in the center or not too far away, please).

And finally, ANY dinner recs for Castell' Arquato or surrounding area (up to a twenty minute or so drive away) would be very much appreciated. We will be there four nights (long story). Grazie mille!

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  1. Castell'arquato is not that far from the bassa parmense where there are quite a lot of restaurants around Soragna, Zibello, Bussetto, Polesine Parmense etc. etc. with especially the culatello of the region.

    Here's one in Castell, one recc on amioparere (parma foodie site tho not as active as a couple of years ago ) website)

    1 Reply
    1. re: jen kalb

      Thanks, Jen -- it looks good! Unfortunately, the restaurants in Zibello, Busseto and Polesine Parmense (ah, Pallavicina...) are too far away from Castell' Arquato for dinner (at least on this trip). What do you like in Soranga?

    2. Hi,

      I just returned from whizzing around a little chunk of Emilia-Romagna, and once again I found that the Osterie d'Italia was the best source for recommendations, not the internet. However, I must confess I greatly prefer food that stays very close to home cooking, not upscale or elevated restaurant food. Maybe Gambero Rosso would be a good investment for you.

      I'll be writing up something of a trip report, but the most delightful meal I ate over several days was a lunch at Trattoria Tubino in San Pietro in Casale, which is just a short train ride from Ferrara -- but I don't think the train schedules will cooperate with a dinner.

      But invest in the good guidebooks found in bookstores in Italy -- even inside airports and train stations. Both Osterie d'Italia and Gambero Rosso are in Italian, but they are easy decipher, and they have the added virtue of revealing which days and hours the eateries are open. Like any restaurant guide (or Chowhound recommendation), you might end up being disappointed in your meal. But for me, I've found I'm less frequently disappointed in Osterie d'Italia recs than internet or other guidebook recs.

      For what it's worth, the food of the region around Castell'Arquato is so much more than pork, pork, pork, more pork and parmigiano. There is fish, goose and an abundance of vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, nuts -- depending on the season. The flavors can be bright, wonderful and intense and worth sampling.

      The area around Castell'Arquata, beyond food, is rich with interest, art and charm.

      4 Replies
        1. re: barberinibee

          Thanks, barberinibee -- we have all the books and my husband is Italian so no problem with them not being in English. Unlike you, though, we have been disappointed by Osterie d'Italia more than once. However, will definitely still consult (has been great on other occasions). I, personally, have found Chowhounder's personal experiences the most reliable (and up to date) resource of all. Most of the "hidden gems" we've enjoyed have been thanks only to this website.

          So -- if anyone can chime in, please, on Modena and Ferrara (for dinner; we may be able to hit Trattoria Tubino for lunch)??? Grazie!

          1. re: pastahound

            To each his/her own. You might not like Trattoria Tubino if Chowhound restaurant recs are really more your style. Maybe the menu is online, or the description in the Osterie d'Italia will provide enough clues for you to decide if it is worth the extra kms for you.

            1. re: barberinibee

              We actually like all kinds of places -- rustic (or not) trattorie, food carts -- you name it (LOVE the bollito misto at Nerbonne at Mercato Centrale in Florence!). It's just that we have more specific needs for this trip (see OP). Anyway, Tubino looks great and I hope we're able to try!

        2. We are going at end of June and are having the same trouble finding the best choice for lunch/dinner in and around Ferrara. Will look into Trattoria Tubino and considering these too:

          L'Antico Giardino, Ravalle
          La Rosa, Sorrento
          Buriani dal 1967, Pieve de Cento
          L'Oca Giuliva, Ferrara

          Would love to read a trip report of this area if you have time.