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Piemonte Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

Steve Plotnicki

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Marco, really enjoyed Borgo Antico in Barolo - food was very well executed, and the wine list had a great selection of Barolo AND Barbaresco.

I can heartily recommend the restaurant at Hotel Brezza in Barolo for more rustic fare, and the best pasta that I have ever eaten. The wine list is pretty sensational too with some Barolos from the 50s and 60s on the list .



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  • 2 weeks later...

Definitely go to La Luna nel Pozzo for lunch or dinner. My Dad and I had the piccola degustazione for lunch and it was outstanding. The dessert was one of the best I've had in my life.

Here's what the menu was:

Insalata di petto d'anatra al sud foie gras, con creme cannelli e guanciale croccante (basically, duck breast salad topped with foie gras)

Gnocchi di patate al ragout di salsicci di Bra (some of the best gnocchi I've ever had with a sauce of sausage from the neighbouring town of Bra)

Costolette d'agnello in crosta d'erbe contortino di cous-cous e vedure in salsa di zafferano (herb crushed lamb rack with cous-cous cooked in saffron)

Cilindro di ciccolato con parfait di caffe al cardomomo, crema pasticcera, e gelato alla vaniglia

A frozen cylinder of chocolate parfait infused with cardamom with pastry cream (frozen) inside that, accompanied by the best vanilla gelato I've had in my life.

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  • 2 weeks later...

have to say that I am always more interested in great wine lists accompanied by great food. because of that I love Locanda dell'Arco in cissone. The guy knows his wine and has a great cellar and the prices are right. Rooms comfy, shared bath and really fair pricing.

Vittoria portions were very large on the tasting menu. Wine list fine but not compelling. food very good. thought that they were talking about adding rooms.

da Renzo sort of the hot place with the gambero rosso set. food very good. wine list again not compelling. enjoyed both places but not planning to return quickly.

caffi is a really long haul and slightly tricky to find. food good wine list again not so exciting.

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During eight days in July, my wife and I are taking another eating excursion in Northern Italy. We have Piemonte down fairly well, but want to add Combal, Renzo, and Borgo Antico to the list of places visited. Then we drive to Bergamo for a dinner at the two star da Vittorio; then the Mantova area for La Bersagliare, Aquila Negri,and L'Ambasciata. Finally, around Parma for Hosteria da Ivan, Villa Maria Luiga, and another address or two for which we are open to suggestions. Any comments you can make we will greatly appreciate.

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May I recommend Trattoria di Cafragna near Cafragna di Talignano, some 40 kms. south of Parma. We had lunch there in September several years ago when it was one of Gambero Rosso's "Red" restaurants (Oscar for quality & price). It is in the countryside, near a river and we ate on their delightful terrace. The food was delicious; I particularly remember the prosciutto and Parmesano Reggiano and a main course my husband had of lamb with apricots. The service was outstanding, wines wonderful and setting truly special.

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Try Ristorante Il Cascinalenuovo. It is on the Asti - Alba road, abt 1/2 way between both. It is family owned and Walter, the chef, is fabulous. We have had many delicious meals here. There are rooms that are very resonably priced and is nice to walk up the stairs to bed after taking full advantage of the wonderful wines. Zip

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  • 1 year later...

I'm not sure where to add this exactly, but I thought this thread was as good as any [although I only went for 3 days of eating in Piemonte, rather than a week].

I just wanted to add some restaurants to Marco's list. The two places near Barolo were suggested by Raffaella, the owner of the lovely Band B we stayed in (called Gioco del'Oca) as being well-priced and fun.

Sorry if these notes are too rambling and ridiculous, I haven't posted much like this!!!!

We went to:

La Cantinetta Barolo

We had a very enjoyable evening here, putting ourselves in the hands of our waiter for a very filling dinner of:

Four antipasti of: Duck and rabbit paté with red onion jelly, Vitello tonnato, Egg and onion custard with red pepper sauce and cardoon with Fontina sauce (all of which were very competently done and rather yummy) and then, the best of them all: a large ravioli filled with an essentially raw egg yolk and spinach. This was cooked to a T and the egg yolk was divine.

Then we had ravioli al plin with sage and butter sauce (which was very nice) and some tagliatella with ragu (not as good as a similar dish I had last March in the Osteria del'Arco in Alba) and my spouse had Guinea fowl with prunes, green beans and herbed polenta, which he enjoyed tremendously.

They (sensing our greed perhaps) gave us four desserts: pannacotta, semi-freddo, hazelnut and chocolate tart and bonét (the latter made with eggs, chocolate and amaretti biscuits), of which the most succesful were the pannacotta (lovely texture) and the tart.

With the meal, we mainly drunk 1995 Barolo, Serralunga d’Alba, Fontanafredda, which was slightly dissappointing - a little bit too much age perhaps? It seemed a bit personality-less....however, it had nice perfume on the nose and still enough acidity to go well with the rich food.

Osteria del Vignaiolo just outside La Morra

This was a very welcoming place with a nice interior and lovely position amongst the vines. We started with Carne cruda, a molded brocoli mousse with Fontina and black truffle sauce and a Jerusalem artichoke tart. The meat was very nice and well-seasoned. The tart pastry was a tad overcooked, although the filling itself was delicious. The broccoli mousse was lovely and light.

For the primi, we shared a risotto of zucchini and goose foie gras. This was really, really good. The texture, richness and flavours of the dish worked wonderfully together. Possibly one of the best risotto's I've had (not that I am a veteran risotto eater or anything!!!) My spouse went on to braised lamb shank with beans and pancetta with potatoes, which tasted very rich and well-braised.

For dessert, we shared the malvasia zabajone, which was very well executed (though it doesn't really light my fire as a dish particularly).

The wine was 2003 Langhe, Roberto Voerzio and an absolute stunner!!! It almost distracted me from the food! We were a bit shy of choosing it because of the difficulties of the 2003 harvest - but the fruit was lovely, not overwhelming at all and it had beautifully balanced acidity and tannins- the whole was a joy to drink. I wish I could afford taste this guy's Barolos......one day!

This place was the most reasonably priced - all the above for about 80 euros!

The last night, for an anniversary treat, we stayed at the Relais di San Maurizio, in San Stefano Belbo. Of course we dined at da Guido da Costigliole

We'd stopped earlier and bought some 2002 Asti, I Vignaioli di Santo Stefano, which had the mouth-feel of a German Riesling at Spätlese level and also showed a nice honeyed richness with Muscat fruit throughout.

In the evening, to start my spouse (who went for the tasting menu) had Vitello tonnato and Cardoon with Fontina, which were the best executions of these dishes that we had had, while I *devoured* this dish called "Abbiamo fritto l’uovo" which was not actually a fried egg, but one lightly baked in the oven then served with a kind of funky wavy bruschetta on top of white truffle sauce. Incredible and probably the largest source of dish envy to have transpired between us while in Italy!

Then we both had Lidia's Ravioli Al Plin, which were much bigger than we were expecting. But the filling - WOW!- the texture and taste were fantastic. Again, the best execution of such a traditional dish that we (in our VERY limited experience) had have.

For main courses, I had the 12 month old 'Veal' pave steak with ‘deep-fried’ foie gras, which I (being a monster) adored for its richness and mix of lovely textures (chewy, crunchy and melty all at the same time!!). The other main was braised lamb shank with pumpkin sauce and green beans and aubergine, which was well-done but nothing to really rave about.

With a very cute Tiramisu for dessert, we were about as full as one can get! (though I managed to sneak in some Moscato Passito made by the good ole I Vignaioli di Santo Stefano - very luscious but not tooo heavy).

The wine was 2003 Langhe, Paolo Scavino which, while not as good as the Roberto Voerzio, was very delicious and, again, showed lovely fruit and good balance.

In all, dinning here was a very enjoyable experience, but maybe a bit expensive to return to again for us! [though not for the other diners, who were whooping it up on white truffles everywhere.....at least we got to enjoy the smell! :biggrin: ]

We've already decided that we must return to Piemonte again and sample some of the restaurants that e-gulleteers suggest (I wasn't quite organized enough in time to make a list for this trip!). It certainly is a lovely place to eat and drink!!!

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Thank you - I know so little about Piemontese cuisine that I felt quite embrassed to post the notes and wasn't sure if it was the 'thing to do'.

The one thing about this board.....the more I look at the postings, the more I long to return asap to Italy....thank goodness for Ryanair! :smile:

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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  • 3 weeks later...

I reached the Alps: the soul within me burned

Italia, my Italia, at thy name:

And when from out of the mountain’s heart I came

And saw the land for which my life had yearned.

I laughed as one who some great prize has earned.

Oscar Wilde

Piemonte is slowly becoming mine. I am not only coming to understand the “how” of the Piemonte but I am beginning to appreciate the “why”. The Savoyards are the original people of the Piemonte and it is only in the last 150 years that they have been called Italians…a moniker that quite frankly, I think they would happily and unceremoniously cast off.

Piemontese are infused with a fierce sense of regionalism backed by millenniums of traditions, methods and secrets and if you are lucky enough to have time and look closely, some of it will be happily and proudly revealed to you.

If Rome wasn’t built in a day then surely every aspect of the Piemonte can’t be learned and understood in a lifetime, but what an interesting lifetime it would be to try and un-ravel her tangled secrets and traditions of the land, the people and the food.

On the road between Asti and Alba is a tiny shop housed in an old brick building called “Cascina del Cornale“. There are a few colorful signs to point the way and a small parking lot on the side of the building. Once you enter the courtyard, you notice they are also operating a restaurant and an “Agritourismo” (Italy’s answer to a country inn). My friend Toni tells me they have slowly expanded over the last few years to include the restaurant.

During the last twenty years I have visited hundreds of little gourmet shops littering the country-side around New England and other affluent areas up and down the eastern coast of the US and when I walked into the Cornale I have to admit it was a let down. Where were the expensive German knives? Where was the La Creusette cook wear? I didn’t see any big red tins of Amoretti Biscotti! No aprons that make you look like you have a garter and stockings on….. In short what’s the point of this place! The vegetable stand at the Ipermarket down the street was 20 times bigger. The wine selection was dismal. The only thing that looked promising was the cheese counter and the Salumi selection. “How does they make a living here?” I thought……then… as if my eyes were adjusting to the darkness, I slowly began to understand.

The selection was small because it represented only the very best of 50 local “Azienda Agricole Familiari” (family owned farms) of Piemonte and Liguria. They have sourced their products personally, and what they have assembled is a collection of the rarest and finest examples they have been able to find. There was no filler….there was no second best. There wasn’t much in this shop, but you can bet your life that ANYTHING you buy here will be perfect. The Salumi was all artisanale… in Italy “artisanale” translates to: “like nothing you will ever taste again in your entire life outside of Italy”.The same was true of the cheeses. All were hand-made and local, probably by friends and family. There were AOC dried beans called Gianetto di Nasino, sold in tiny 250 gr. bags tied with ribbon and sporting a hand-written “Carta D’Identita” telling me that they came from the Azienda Agricola “U Luvu” in Nasino, bag number 0182 77138 and that I should consume them by November 2006. There were at least a half-a-dozen different types of honey, but from only one producer…L’Archivolto in Gavi. Fresh brown eggs were sorted and stored in a home crafted chicken-wire cabinet under a halogen spot-light like jewels at Cartier‘s. There were hand-poured chocolates and various other confections, all were hand-made and all local. Again, not a wide selection… but nothing but the very best.

I know what you are thinking….yeah right.. all that’s great if you willing to pay $5 for an apple… but honestly the prices were not bad…not bad at all. I happened to check … a wine that they charged €6.50 for only costs €6 at the winery 20 miles away!

After ten minutes I began to feel ashamed of my first impressions. I began to realize exactly how much time and care must have been involved in the sourcing and assembling the kind of collection this tiny shop had. A new sense of respect flowed through me and I began to realize the difference between this place and the so called “gourmet shops” back in the States. Here before me, was a true gem, a tiny bit of the very finest that our region has to offer, very carefully selected by people who love us. As we left we were almost knocked over with a heavenly aroma coming from the kitchens….I can’t wait to try the restaurant!!!

Cascina del Cornale


Corso Marconi, 64

12050 Magliano Alfieri (CN)

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It has been over a week since we returned to Italy and most of my days have been consumed with planning, cooking and occasionally cleaning-up after nearly a dozen meals. With the exception of one “traditional American fried-chicken lunch” which I cooked for some Piemontese friends (they were very brave and tried everything), all of the meals I have cooked have been versions of traditional Piemontese meals.

Although the Piemontese use garlic, anchovies and tomatoes in their cuisine, it is notably different from the south of Italy; the flavors are more subtle, the garlic clove and the tomato are used rather sparingly. Pasta is often made with only flour and egg yolks. And the tiny ravioli called Plin are often stuffed Castelmagno cheese. Piemontese are great cheese-makers and as in France; a cheese course is a compulsory part of a fine meal.

Olive oil is the one southern ingredient that the Piemonte heartily embraces, excellent olive oil is produced in Liguria, the Piemonte’s neighbor to the south and the typical grocery store in these parts has an entire aisle entirely devoted just to olive oil.

Antipasti in the Piemonte is mostly Salumi. I have yet to be served an olive or a pickled anything as an antipasti. Yesterday we were given some potato chips and a few olives with a Prosecco as an apero but the antipasti course is all about pork. Yesterday, we were fortunate enough to be invited to lunch in the home of a very fine vintner just north of Asti. Being known for his delicious Grignolino, a wine famous for serving with cured meats, he of course had to produce some outstanding salumi to showcase his wine…and he did. There was coppa and salami, tiny cacciatore salami all were excellent but there was one thing that I wasn’t prepared for….sitting in the center of the table was a tight spiral of raw sausage in a casing, just like you might see labeled “Italian sausage” anywhere in the world. “Oh” I thought “ we are going to cook it at the table….perhaps on a hot stone or something“…well, I was wrong…in the Piemonte they eat pork sausage raw! This sausage had not been treated or cured in any way. It was fresh raw pork in a natural intestinal casing.. .at first I was more than a bit hesitant….eating raw pork is contrary to everything I have ever known. “Surely this isn’t safe” I thought… but our host assured us it is produced fresh every day by the butcher in the next village and he is famous for his “Salsiccia”. Reluctantly, I tried a fork-full and I became an immediate convert! Salsiccia is made from very lean, finely ground, tender pork which is then seasoned lightly and stuffed into a casing. The flavor is delicate and delicious…I had four helpings! Later we had some cooked Salsiccia in the potato gnocchi.

It was good, but I prefer my Salsiccia raw thank you!

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I am also a raw sausage girl!!!

Here in FLorence we serve it blended with stracchino cheese, and spreak on bread!!

I had some at the CAsa Del Vino today in Florence!!!

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It is discoveries like this that make life fun and interesting. Thanks for sharing. Did you buy anything? What particularly stood out in your experience?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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It is discoveries like this that make life fun and interesting. Thanks for sharing. Did you buy anything? What particularly stood out in your experience?

Bought loads of stuff. The cheeses were fantastic. The wines even better. In fact we went home ...tasted one of the wines and the next day went to the winemaker and bought 120 bottles of it. The wine was a Barberra d'Asti from Pino d'Asti.

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Glad to hear your praise of a nice, simple Barbera, something I opened last night myself!

Pipe up on the Barolo thread (under Beverages & Wine). Those folk might be interested in your piece on grappa, too.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Swiss_Chef, it is terrific that you discovered Cornale! The owner is close friends with Alice Waters, one of America's most famous culinary figures, and others who are important in the Slow Food movement. But alas, I must warn you against the restaurant. I and my friends have tried it many times, and one comes away feeling like you have just eaten in a bad health food restaurant. There are too many outstanding options in the area to waste one on Cornale. This truth comes, however, from a regular patron of the shop and an absolute supporter of what Elena is doing there. In particular, the cheeses and breads are unlike any other to be found in the area.

Bill Klapp


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"Antipasti in the Piemonte is mostly Salumi. I have yet to be served an olive or a pickled anything as an antipasti."

Swiss Chef:

Have you been to Cuneo yet?

There you'll find antipasti under oil or vinegar in many local restaurants and shops. At Torrismondi, at Via Michele Coppino 33 (across from the big hospital) you'll find a beautiful cart of these at both lunch and dinner. There are also many more places on the road that leads up to the Parco delle Alpi Marittime that cater to hikers and skiiers and offer inexpensive, hearty menus of local cuisine.

The area near (and in) the park is a bit more rugged than Asti or Dogliani and not really wine or truffle country, but when it comes to cooking, it's as Piemontese as it gets.

Brian Yarvin

My Webpage

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