A Feast Fit For A King ๐Ÿ Welcome to Trattoria Il Fantino

Il Fantino Dolce

Trattoria Il Fantino Modena – Mind-Blowing Food Everywhere You Look

Life back in Italy is pretty sweet and the main reason for this is of course the food. That was nailed home by a recent visit to the city of Modena and Trattoria Il Fantino.

It’s been a few weeks since returning to Italy from Hong Kong as we base ourselves in the northern city of Brescia, but for the first time as a couple Bianca and I took to the road to visit an Italian city neither of us had visited, Modena, about 1 hour and a half south of us.

The reason for the visit was to see an old friend of ours from Beijing. We took to the roads of Modena as he showed us round his beautiful hometown.

And then…

Hot from the heat and hungry from the steps, our friend Aldo reserved us a table at his favourite restaurant, Trattoria Il Fantino.

It’s always an experience sharing the food of your friends hometown. For him, he can showcase what makes Modena great, for us, it’s a new experience.

Even though Bianca is Italian, I am regularly told by locals that because Italy is such a new country (barely over 150 years old) the cuisines vary largely across the country, as do languages/accents…

This makes for a hugely diverse country who all have their own traditions. It’s truly fascinating to get to grips with, as I discover more about Italy day to day.

Aldo didn’t go easy on us as you’re about to find out.

We left on the verge of explosion, having sampled the Menรน Degustazione, which, in a nutshell is a bit of everything!

Grab a cuppa, and I hope you’re not hungry, because this will have your mouth watering.

Trattoria Il Fantino Modena – Where Is It?

Trattoria Il Fantino Modena – The Menu

Trattoria Il Fantino Modena – The Food

Trattoria Il Fantino Modena – The Staff

Trattoria Il Fantino Modena – Should I Go?

Trattoria Il Fantino Modena – Where Is It?

Il Fantino is located in the heart of Modena.

It’s easy to find as is anything in Modena seemingly.

We walked to most of the important parts of the city all within our day so they’ll be no issues getting around or finding Trattoria Il Fantino.

ADDRESS IN ITALIAN : Via Donzi, 7, 41121 Modena MO

PHONE NUMBER TO BOOK : +39059223646

Trattoria Il Fantino Modena – The Menu

It’s extensive!

Sadly I never took a picture of the menu whilst we were there and there isn’t a menu on the website either.

However I did see the menu we ordered from on their Facebook page so I will use that one just below, their Facebook page is here if you wish to find more cracking shots of the food.

Our friend was eager enough to sort the order out for the three of us all by himself… and boy did he throw us into the deep end.

They had a couple of Menรน Degustazione options, the most expensive costing just 33EUR and the other one 28EUR.

Trust me, for what you get, it’s exceptional.

Just to give you an idea here’s some recent pictures from the Tripadvisor page.

These are taken from the Il Fantino Tripadvisor page

Il Fantino Trattoria Modena – The Food

Il Fantino Menu

OK ready… we had all of this:

  • Bread (staple in all Italian restaurants of course)
  • Tortellini in Broth
  • Ravioli with Pumpkin filling
  • A Mystery Dish (pictured below, it’s typical of the region and is almost Udon noodle like, we’ll get the name soon hopefully)!
  • Lardo (crushed/mushed fat of the pig, sounds gross, actually incredible when coupled with the next one)
  • Tigelle (type of bread, thin, you cut it in half and fill it with anything you want, also typically found in Modena)
  • Cheese (Strachino)
  • Mixture of Salumi (cold cuts)
  • Gnocco Fritto
  • Lamb Ribs with Potato
  • Chocolate Salame
  • Some form of Torte
  • Another sweet thing (couldn’t be more vague, but honestly struggling at this stage, pictured below)!
  • Nocino (a sticky, dark liquor to wash down the dessert, strong)
  • Lambrusco (Sparkling red wine from Modena)

Having typed all that out, I struggle to believe how we got through it, but between the three of us, to a man, we managed it (with a few little leftovers)!

It was mindblowingly good. So let’s break it down.


Il Fantino Trattoria in Modena
The Mystery Dish from Round 1 (photo taken from the Il Fantino website)

Of course in any Italian restaurant you got bread to start.

I look back and I question why it was needed!

Of course, you enter a restaurant, super hungry, you fill up on bread.


One bit of advice, PACE.YOURSELF!

Alongside the bread you get a gorgeous bowl of tortellini in a rich, flavoursome broth.

It almost reminds me of the broth from the Tsukemen dishes we’ve enjoyed before in Asia, not for flavour in itself, just for the novelty of having a rich broth to mop up the dish!

This was followed by a shared dish of Ravioli, with a pumpkin filling. Sweet and full of flavour. Winner.

Onwards we go to the mystery dish (sorry Il Fantino)! This was also shared, and, it’s also delicious, shock!

Il Fantino Trattoria Modena
Picture taken from the Il Fantino website.


Seriously, we could’ve stopped there and been more than satisfied but here comes round 2 and it’s a big one!

Il Fantino Trattoria
Gnocco Fritto with the Cold Cuts – a match made in heaven (photo from Il Fantino’s website)

Firstly the lardo (lard) is brought over in a small glass jar – sounds odd, but trust me, this is rich and strong in flavour and couples the next part perfectly.

The Tigelle – a small, circular bread which you cut in half and fill with whatever your heart desires.

Aldo informed us that in Modena, the tradition is to fill your first Tigelle with simply parmigiano reggiano, and lardo.

OH BOY IT’S GOOD! Doughy and strong in flavour.

Then here comes the cavalry…

Gnocco Fritto (a personal favourite of mine), a plate of cold cuts (prosciutto, salami etc) and a bowl of super tender lamb ribs with potato.

The table is full, and so are we. Our Everest stares us in the face… and we dive in for more!

The flavours make my mouth water all over the keyboard as I type yet still!

I’ve died and gone to heaven! Every flavour is there, everything!

The lamb, so tender, the potato perfectly seasoned. The gnocco fritto (pictured above), my first in nearly a year – SO VERY GOOD.

It’s all too much though, the meat sweats arrive and we labour over the finish line as I eulogise over the food to our Modenese friend!

Il Fantino Trattoria Modena
Photo from Il Fantino’s website

But here comes…

DOLCI (Dessert)

We aren’t done yet.

Il Fantino - Dolce
Exactly the Dolce we were served (picture taken from Il Fantino’s Facebook page)

The waiter kindly brings over a small dessert in which we sample a bit of everything.

The chocolate salami (which I only discovered a week previously) is wonderful as were the little torte and the other mystery bite.

All washed down with some strong Nocino to wake us up again!

We enjoyed a couple of bottles of the local Lambrusco throughout the meal – also highly recommended.

… and we reach the end, barely able to speak let alone get up!

Trattoria Il Fantino – you will remain lodged firmly in my heart for many a year! Bravo!

Il Fantino Trattoria Modena – The Staff

Now sadly here, my Italian is currently weak (don’t worry I’ve started lessons)… so understandably getting a hold of the conversation was tricky… but that’s neither here nor there.

No matter what the language, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to spot manners, good, proper manners.

Il Fantino Trattoria Modena - Review

The chap who served us, presumably the manager or owner, was super friendly, chatty and smiley… and you know what, that’s the way it is here in Italy.

What makes it feel better is the fact we recently came from Hong Kong where sadly, in most cases, the opposite applied.

This chap was asking about us, where we’d come from, telling us about the dishes, how to eat them, all kinds of stuff.

Little things go a long way to a customer and it’s a message that needs to filtrate it’s way through to restaurants in Hong Kong.

10/10 service, and I barely understood a word!

Il Fantino Trattoria Modena – Should I Go?

Pretty obvious really isn’t it?

We actually drove two hours to get to Modena (not for Il Fantino, but for a friend) but let’s put it this way.

With, or without Aldo, I’d gladly drive 500 miles to experience another afternoon at Il Fantino.

If you are anywhere near Modena, BOOK IT NOW!


Trattoria Il Fantino Modena – FAQ’s

Where is Trattoria Il Fantino?

In the heart of Modena.
ADDRESS IN ITALIAN : Via Donzi, 7, 41121 Modena MO

Can I book a table at Trattoria Il Fantino?

You can indeed. Phone them up ๐Ÿ™‚
PHONE NUMBER TO BOOK : +39059223646

Is Trattoria Il Fantino popular?

Going by my own experience, the place was completely full for the entirety of our stay, so I’d guess it’s incredibly popular!

Do the staff speak English at Trattoria Il Fantino?

I do not believe so but I am not 100% here. The owner knew I was English and knew some typical buzzwords but apart from this all communication was in Italian.

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