You won’t find any pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pizza or the Colosseum anywhere at Modena – it’s not an Italian-themed restaurant, instead, it is a kitsch-free, uber stylish establishment that manages to truly capture the real essence of a modern Italian eatery, albeit located in the heart of Jozi’s’s northern suburbs.

Similar to the words of world-renowned chef, Wolfgang Puck: “Italian food is all about ingredients – it’s not fussy and it’s not fancy” – Modena focuses on sourcing only the finest ingredients and lets their simple flavours and textures shine through to create an eclectic Italian-inspired menu packed full of rich and delicious dishes that fulfil their promise.

The menu is divided into Breakfast, Salads, Homemade Pastas, Risotto, Gnocchi, Pizzas, Meat, Fish, and Desserts. All the food is created on-site using traditional Italian methods. Although the flavours of best-in-market ingredients used remain simple, the presentation is utterly spectacular – each plate is a culinary visual work of art.

Modena Italian Eatery Short RibWe tried the Burrata Pizza, and it was honestly as good, or maybe even better, than the pizzas I ate on my last trip to Italy! The pizza dough is cooked in a wood-fired oven for the perfect texture – crunchy on the outside, with slightly chewy crusts, and mouth-wateringly soft on the inside. We also ordered the Crab and Octopus Homemade Pasta, which was an absolute showstopper – both visually and with regards to flavours. The linguine, coloured with squid ink, was light and delicate, which made the perfect complement to the crab and octopus, bathed in rich chilli, garlic and butter emulsion.

Visually stunning for both evening and daytime eating, Modena’s décor boasts a colour palette of soft, muted neutral tones, complemented by Mid-Century Modern-inspired wooden tables and chairs, and the cream and gold herringbone tiles add lashings of visually appealing texture. Simple and friendly, yet sophisticated and elegant – the modern décor is a great pairing with the food being served. It’s no wonder that you’ll be hard-pressed to find a table at mealtimes with the buzzy crowd spilling over onto the pavement night and day.

A table at this eatery is coveted for good reason. I was incredibly impressed with the level of service we received. The waiters look stylish in their Modena uniforms and matching masks, and our waitress had an impressively good knowledge of the dishes on the menu, as well as the specials on offer. The staff seemed incredibly friendly, and cater to your every whim. I can definitely say that the service is a notch above the rest – it was a pleasant interaction, and although the dishes are prepared from scratch, we did not have to wait an extraordinarily long time to be served.

As the number of Covid-19 infections soars, it is essential that the places we visit adhere to the regulations as set out by government. In this regard, Modena faired reasonably well. On entering, our temperature was taken and we filled in an attendance register. Our hands were sanitised, along with the soles of our shoes, and the wearing of masks was strictly enforced until seated. The cutlery is served in individually-wrapped packets to ensure the strictest hygiene level are maintained. With regards to social distancing however, I’m not sure that the space between all the tables maintain the required 1,5-metres distance between them.

Highlights: Modena Italian Eatery

Cost for average meal |   R150
Type of cuisine |   Modern Italian
Overall Rating out of 10 |   9
Address |   4th Avenue, Parkhurst, Johannesburg
Phone  |   010 900 0912
IG: @ModenaItalian

Modena Italian Eatery Review