Modena Eats: a drop-in at Zelmira
I didn't make any reservations for dinner in Modena before I arrived. Probably not the best idea, but I was simply too exhausted to do much research and planning.
My Airbnb host recommended Da Enzo and Da Danilo, but said that they would likely already be fully booked on a Friday evening. I walked over, and indeed they were fully booked. A note for next time: I got a good vibe from Da Enzo. I walked up and came upon all of the staff, including the waiters, folding tortellini in the landing!
I wandered around town, passing by the famous Osteria Francescana, and passed by this little terrace tucked into a corner of buildings. I kept walking, but eventually circled back and decided that this had a nice, relaxed atmosphere, and that's all that mattered this evening.
I sat down, perused the menu, and got a couple of recommendations from the owner (in English). While I was waiting, out came this amuse-bouche, a little cheese tart.
They also brought out a huge bread basket! I guess if you're is paying for it - the typical Italian "cover charge" - it might as well be bountiful!
For my first course, I ordered an artichoke flan with what I think was rabbit and parmesan sauce. It was delicious! Soft, meaty, with the rich parmesan flavor.
For my second course, the owner recommended the special, a baked cannelloni with spinach dough, and asparagus inside. It seemed like a good, seasonal choice, but it was just okay. The filling was a bit texture-less, and the pasta rather weak (you can see how it's splitting down the side in the left-hand cannellono).
Still, I had a satisfying evening. It certainly was relaxing, sitting down for a proper meal, eating al fresco after hectic grab-and-go Milan.
Afterwards, I read several reviews raving about Zelmira, e.g. locals saying they always come here when they come back home. I don't know if I'd really go out of my way to go back, but it's funny how reading such positive reviews somehow validates your choice!
Piazzetta S. Giacomo, 17