Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Piemonte Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


Steve Plotnicki
 Share

Recommended Posts

We travelled in Piemonte about 5 years ago and are returning for a short visit this May. When in Italy, we always use the Gambero Rosso guide and especially seek out the restaurants which they award their "oscar for quality and price." This has never failed to lead us to restaurants where we've had extraordinary food and drink, and has never broken the bank! One of those restaurants on our earlier trip was Antine, which we loved and from what I read is only getting better year after year.

In the 2007 guide there are 5 places with this designation (an unusually high concentration for one province). We hope to try out as many as we can get to on our upcoming trip. Here they are: 'I Bunet in Bergolo (CN), Marsupino, Briaglia (CN), Villa Tiboldi, Canale (CN), Lo Scoiattoio, Carcoforo (VC), and Collavini, Costigliole d'Asti (AT).

For someone on a budget, these should be good choices. So, do any of you all know any of these places? Their names haven't come up here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

How long of a list do you want?

Off the top of my head, and being late:

-- Vignaiola near La Morra

-- Tornavento, Treiso

-- Antine, Barabaresco

-- Antica Torre, Barbaresco

-- Crota, Calosso

-- Belvedere, La Morra

-- Guido, Pollenzo

--La Libera, Alba,

-- dell'Arco, ALba

-- Il Laghetto, La Morra pizza

That's the quick list. Gotta go.

Edited by pedalaforte (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How long of a list do you want?

Off the top of my head, and being late:

-- Vignaiola near La Morra

-- Tornavento, Treiso

-- Antine, Barabaresco

-- Antica Torre, Barbaresco

-- Crota, Calosso

-- Belvedere, La Morra

-- Guido, Pollenzo

--La Libera, Alba,

-- dell'Arco, ALba

-- Il Laghetto, La Morra pizza

That's the quick list. Gotta go.

Thank you pedalaforte for your list! Do you know if Trattoria Della Posta is open for lunch? I met Piero from Guido on a recent visit but have not eaten there. I had great meals years ago in Costiogle at the original Guido.I would imagine a much different menu? The new restaurant was quite contemporary as I remember-cuisine as well? And what about La Enoteca in Canale? Belvedere is on my list...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RISTORANTE TRATTORIA DELLA POSTA

MONFORTE D'ALBA (CN)

Loc. Sant'Anna, 87

Tel. 0 173 78120 - www.trattoriadellaposta.it

There's a web site to get more info.

In fact, here's a list I copied before from our infamous friend and colleague "Swiss Chef." Look like a great list to me!

DUEMALLEVINI (THE ASSOCIATION OF ITALIAN SOMMELIERS)

2007 TOP RESTAURANT PICKS IN PIEDMONT

(Listed according to town)

RISTORANTE I CAFFI

ACQUI TERME (AL)

Via Verdi ang.Via del Voltone, 1

Tel. 0144 325206 - www.icaffi.it

RISTORANTE PISTERNA

ACQUI TERME (AL)

Via Scatilazzi, 15 -

Tel. 0144 325114 - www.pistema.it

RISTORANTE DULCIS VITIS

ALBA (CN)

Via Rattazzi, 7

Tel. 0173 364633 - www.dulcisvitis.it

RISTORANTE LOCANDA DEL PILONE

ALBA (CN)

Fraz. Madonna di Corno, 34

Tel. 0 173 366616 - www.locandadeipilone.com

RISTORANTE PIAZZA DUOMO

Alba (CN)

P.zza Risorgimento, 4

Tel. 0173 366167 - www.piazzaduomoalba.it

RISTORANTE L'ARCIMBOLDO

Alessandria

Via Legnano, 2

Tel. 0131 52022 - www.RISTORANTEarcimboldo.it

RISTORANTE LA FERMATA

ALESSANDRIA - Fraz. Spinetta Marengo

Via Bolla, 2

Tel. 0131251350 - www.lafermata-al.it

RISTORANTE IL GRAPPOLO

ALESSANDRIA -

Via Casale, 28 -

Tel. 0131 253217 - www.RISTORANTEiigrappolo.it

RISTORANTE VECCHIA ARONA

ARONA (NO)

Lungolago Marconi, 17

Tel. 0322 242469

RISTORANTE L'ANGOLO DEL BEATO

ASTI

Via Guttuari, 12

Tel. 0141531668 - www.angolodelbeato.it

RISTORANTE GENER NEUV

ASTI

Lungo Tanaro dei Pescatori, 4

Tel. 0141 557270 - www.generneuv.it

OSTERIA Al BINARI

ASTI -

S.S. Asti-Chivasso Fraz. Mombarone, 145

Tel. 0141294228

OSTERIA DEL DIAVOLO

ASTI

P.zza San Martino, 6

Tel. 0 141 30221 - 339 4286857 - www.osteriadeldiavolo.it

TACABANDA

ASTI

Via al Teatro Alfieri, 5

Tel. 0141 530999

RISTORANTE ANTINÉ

BARBARESCO (CN)

Via Torino, 16

Tel. 0 173 635294 - www.antine.it

RISTORANTE AL VECCHIO TRE STELLE

BARBARESCO (CN)

Fraz. Tre Stelle

Tel. 0173 638192 - www.vecchiotrestelle.it

RISTORANTE D'LA PICOCARDA

BARGE (CN)

Loc. Crocera Via Cardè, 71

Tel. 0175 30300

RISTORANTE LOCANDA NEL BORGO ANTICO

BAROLO (CN)

Via Boschetti, 4

Tel. 0173 56355 - www.locandanelborgo,it

RISTORANTE OSTERIA LA CANTINELLA

BAROLO (CN)

Via Acqua Gelata, 4/a

Tel. 0173 56267

RISTORANTE VILLA D'AMELIA

BENEVELLO (CN)

Fraz. Manera Loc. Bonelli Bianchi, 1

Tel. 0173 529225 - www.villadamelia.com

RISTORANTE BUNET

BERGOLO (CN)

Via Roma, 24

Tel. 0173 87013 - www.lbunet.it

RISTORANTE PRINZ GRILL

BIELLA

Via Torino, 14

Tel. 015 30302

RISTORANTE PINOCCHIO

BORGOMANERO (NO)

Via Matteotti, 147

Tel. 0322 82273 - www.RISTORANTEpinocchio.it

RISTORANTE TRATTORIA DEI COMMERCIANTI

BORGOMANERO (NO)

Via Cornice, 35

Tel. 0322 841392 - www.trattoriadeicommercianti.it

RESTORANTE OSTERIA CASCINA DEI FIORI

BORGOVERCELLI (VC)

Reg. Forte Cascina dei Fiori

Tel. 0161 32827

RISTORANTE AL RODODENDRO

BOVES (CN)

Via San Giacomo, 73

Tel. 0171380372

RISTORANTE LA CORTE ALBERTINA

BRA (CN) Fraz. Pollenzo

P.zza Vittorio Emanuele 3

Tel. 0172 458189 - www.lacortealbertina.it

RISTORANTE GUIDO A POLLENZO

BRA (CN) - Fraz. Pollenzo

Via Fossano, 19

Tel. 0172 458422 - www.guidoRISTORANTE.it

RISTORANTE OSTERIA DEL BOCCONDIVINO

BRA (CN)

Via Mendicità Istruita, 14

Tel. 0172 425674 - www.boccondivinoslow.it

RISTORANTE MARSUPINO

BRIAGLIA (CN)

Via Roma, 20

Tel. 0174 563888 - www.trattoriamarsupino.it

RISTORANTE VIOLETTA

CALAMANDRANA (AT)

Via Valle San Giovanni, 1

Tel. 0 141 769011

OSTERIA DELLA GALLINA SVERSA

CALOSSO (AT) - Fraz. Piana del Salto

Via Battibò, 9

Tel. 0141853483 - www.gallinasversa.com

RISTORANTE GARDENIA

CALUSO (TO)

C.so Torino, 9

Tel. 011 9832249 - www.gardeniacaluso.it

RISTORANTE TAVERNA DI CAMPAGNA DAL 1997

CAMAGNA MONFERRATO (AL)

Vicolo Sallina, 20

Tel. 0142 925645

RISTORANTE AL CAMINETTO

CAMERI (NO)

Via Cavour, 30

Tel. 0321 518780

RISTORANTE ALL ENOTECA

L CANALE (CN)

Via Roma, 57

Tel. 0173 95857

RISTORANTE VILLA TIBOLDI

CANELLI (CN) - Loc. Tiboldi

Case Sparse, 127

Tel. 0173 970388 - www.villatiboldi.it

RISTORANTE SAN MARCO

CANELLI (AT)

Via Alba, 136

Tel. 0141 823544 - www.sanmarcoRISTORANTE.it

RISTORANTE LOCANDA MALPASSUTI

CARBONARA SCRIVIA (AL)

Vicolo A. Cantù, 11

Tel. 0131 892643 - www.locandamalpassuti.it

RISTORANTE OSTERIA DEL BORGO

CARRÙ (CN)

Via Garibaldi, 19

Tel. 0173 759184 - www.osteriaborgo.it

RISTORANTE CACCIATORI

CARTOSIO (AL)

Via Moreno, 30

Tel. 0 144 40123

RISTORANTE LA TORRE

CASALE MONFERRATO (AL)

Via Candiani d'Olivola, 36

Tel. 0142 70295 - www.RISTORANTE-latorre.it

RISTORANTE LA FIORAIA

CASTELLO DI ANNONE (AT)

Via Mondo, 26

Tel. 0141401106

RISTORANTE ARIANNA

CAVAGLIETTO (NO)

Via Umberto, 4

Tel. 0322 806l34 - www.jre.it

RISTORANTE ANTICA CORONA REALE

CERVERE (CN)

Via Fossano, 13

Tel. 0 172 474132

RISTORANTE OPERTI 1772 DA FAUSTO

CHERASCO (CN)

Via Vittorio Emanuele, 103

Tel. 0172 487048 - www.opertil772.it

RISTORANTE OSTERIA DELLA ROSA ROSSA

CHERASCO (CN)

Via San Pietro, 31

Tel. 0172 488133

RISTORANTE SAN DOMENICO

CHIERI (TO)

Via San Domenico, 2/b

Tel. 0 11 9411864

RISTORANTE DOLCE STIL NOVO

CIRIÈ (TO) - Loc. Devesi

Via San Pietro, 71

Tel. 011 9211110 - www.dolcestilnovo.com

RISTORANTE LOCANDA DELL 'ARCO

CISSONE (CN)

Pzza dell'Olmo, 1

Tel. 0 173 748200 - www.locandadellarco.com

RISTORANTE VILLA SAN CARLO

CORTEMILIA (CN)

C.so Divisioni Alpine, 41

Tel. 0173 81546 - www.hotelsancarlo.it

ENOTECA CAFFÈ ROMA

COSTIGLIOLE D'ASTI (AT)

Pzza Umberto 1, 14

Tel. 0141 966544 - www.enotecafferoma.com

RISTORANTE COLLAVINI

COSTIGLIOLE D'ASTI (AT)

S.da Traniera 24

Tel. 0141966440 - www.fistorantecollavini.it

RISTORANTE DA MAURIZIO

CRAVANZANA (CN) - Via San Rocco, 16

Tel. 0173 855019 - www.RISTORANTEdamaurizio.it

RISTORANTE BEL SOGGIORNO

CREMOLINO (AL)

Via Umberto 1, 69

Tel. 0143 879012 - www.RISTORANTEbelsoggiorno.it

RISTORANTE DELLE ANTICHE CONTRADE

CUNEO

Via Savigliano, 11

Tel. 0171 690429 - www.antichecontrade.it

RISTORANTE OSTERIA DELLA CHIOCCIOLA

CUNEO

Via Fossano, 1

Tel. 0 171 66277

RISTORANTE TRATTORIA DEI TACCONOTTI

FRASCARO (AL) -

Fraz. Tacconotti, 17

Tel. 0131278488

RISTORANTE NUOVO IMPERO

GATTINARA (NO)

Via E Mattai, 4

Tel. 0 163 833234

RISTORANTE CANTINE DEL GAVI

GAVI (AL)

Via G. Manneli, 69

Tel. 0 143 642458

RISTORANTE OSTERIA LA MADERNASSA

GUARENE (CN)

Fraz. Castelrotto Loc. Lora, 2

Tel: 0 173 611716 - www.osterialamadernassa.it

RISTORANTE IL CASCINALENUOVO

ISOLA D'ASTI (AT)

Statale Asti-Alba, 15

Tel. 0141958166 - www.ilcascinalenuovo.it

RISTORANTE DA MANUELA

ISOLA SANT' ANTONI0 (AL)

Via Po, 31

Tel. 0131857177

RESTORANTE BELVEDERE

LA MORRA (CN)

Pzza Castello, 5

Tel: 017350190 - www.belvederelamorra.it

RISTORANTE OSTERIA VEGLIO

LA MORRA (CN) - Fraz. Annunziata, 9 -

Tel. 0173 509341

RISTORANTE LA PIOLA DEL BARBON

MANTA (CN)

Via Garibaldi, 190

Tel. 0175 88088

RISTORANTE NOVECENTO

MEINA (NO)

Via Ing. Bonomi, 13

Tel. 0322 669600 - www.nov-ece-nto.it

RISTORANTE MACALLÉ

Momo (NO)

Via Boniperti, 2

Tel. 0321926064 - www.macalle.it

RISTORANTE AMETISTA

MONCALVO (AT)

P.zza Antico Castello, 15

Tel. 0 141 917423

RISTORANTE GIARDINO DA FELICIN

MONFORTE D'ALBA (CN)

Via Vallada, 18

Tel. 0 173 78225 - www.felicin.it

OSTERIA LA SALITA

MONFORTE D'ALBA (CN)

Via Marconi, 2/a

Tel. 0 173 787196

RISTORANTE TRATTORIA DELLA POSTA

MONFORTE D'ALBA (CN)

Loc. Sant'Anna, 87

Tel. 0 173 78120 - www.trattoriadellaposta.it

RISTORANTE LA BRAJA

MONTEMAGNO (AT)

Via San Giovanni Bosco, 11

Tel. 0141653925 - www.labraja.it

RISTORANTE CONTI ROERO

MONTICELLO D'ALBA (CN)

Pzza San Ponzio, 3

Tel. 0173 64155 - www.contiroero.com

RISTORANTE CASCINA MARTINI

MURISENGO (AL) - Fraz. Corteranzo

Via Gianoli, 15

Tel. 0 141693015 - www.cascinamartini.com

RISTORANTE LA CONTEA

NEIVE (CN)

Pzza Cocito, 8

Tel. 0173 67126-677558 - www.la-contea.it

CANTINA DEL RONDÒ

NIEVE (CN)

Loc. Fausoni, 7

Tel. 0173 679808 - www.cantinadelrondo.it

LA SIGNORA IN ROSSO

NIZZA MONFERRATO (AT)

Via Crova, 2

Tel: 0141 793350 - www.signorainrosso.com

RISTORANTE TANTRIS

NOVARA

C.so Risorgimento, 384

Tel. 0321657343

RISTORANTE VILLA CRESPI

ORTA SAN GIULIO (NO)

Via G. Fava, 18

Tel. 0322 911902 - www.hotelvillacrespi.it

RISTORANTE OSTERIA DEL BRUTTO ANATROCCOLO

PEZZOLO VALLE UZZONE (CN)

Via Roma, 31

Tel. 0173 827505

RISTORANTE LE CLIVIE

PIOBESI D'ALBA (CN) -

Loc. Carretta, 2

Tel. 0173 619261

RISTORANTE AI NOVE MERLI

PIOSSASCO (TO)

Via Rapida ai Castelli, 10

Tel:. 011 90413 8 8 - www.novemerli.it

RISTORANTE IL PATIO

POLLONE (BI)

Via Oremo, 14

Tel. 0 15 61568

RISTORANTE IL CENTRO

PRIOCCA (CN) - Via Uimberto 1, 5

Tel. 0173 616112 - www.RISTORANTEilcentro.com

RISTORANTE COMBAL.ZERO

RIVOLI (TO) -

Pzza Mafalda di Savoia

Tel. 011 9565225 - www.combal.org

VINERIA TASCHET

ROCCHETTA

TANARO (AT)

P.zza Piacentino, 11

Tel. 0 141 644424

I BOLOGNA, ROCCHETTA TANARO

RISTORANTE L’OSTU DIJ BALOSS

SALUZZO (CN) - Via Gualtieri 38

Tel. 0175 248618 - www.ostudijbaloss.it

RISTORANTE MALAN LOCANDA DEL POSTALE

SAN GERMANO CHISONE (TO)

Via Ponte Palestro, 25

Tel. 0121 58822 - www.RISTORANTErnalan.it

RISTORANTE CASTELLO DI SAN GIORGIO

SAN GIORGIO MONFERRATO (AL)

Via Cavalli d'Olivola, 3

Tel. 0142 806203 - www.castellodisangiorgio.it

RISTORANTE DEL BELBO DA BARDON

SAN MARZANO OLIVETO (AT)

Loc. Valle Asinari, 25

Tel. 0 141 831340

RISTORANTE LA CREDENZA

SAN MAURIZIO CANAVESE (TO)

Via Cavour, 22

Tel: 0 11 9278014 - www.fistorantelacredenza.it

RISTORANTE IL RISTORANTE DI GUIDO DA COSTIGLIOLE

SANTO STEFANO BELBO (CN)

Loc. San Maurizio, 39

Tel: 0 141 844455 - www.relaissanmaurizio.it

RISTORANTE LA ROSA DEI VINI

SERRALUNGA D'ALBA (CN)

Loc. Parafada, 4

Tel. 0 173 613219 - www.larosadeivini.com

RISTORANTE LA COCCINELLA

SERRAVALLE LANGHE (CN)

Via Provinciale, 5

Tel: 0173 748220 - www.the-weber.com/coccinella

RISTORANTE AL SORRISO

SORRISO (NO)

Via Roma, 18

Tel: 0322 983228 - www.alsorriso.com

RISTORANTE PIEMONTESE

STRESA (VB)

Via Mazzini, 25

Tel. 0323 30235 - www.stresa.org

RISTORANTE OSTERIA IL MELOGRANO

TERRUGGIA (AL)

Pzza Vittorio Emanuele III, 9

Tel. 0142 401531 - www.osteriailmelograno.com

RISTORANTE VITTORIA

TIGLIOLE (AT)

Via Roma, 14

Tel. 0141667713 - www.RISTORANTEvittoria.it

RISTORANTE AB+

TORINO

Via della Basilica 13

Tel. 0114390618 - www.progettocluster.com

RISTORANTE LA BARRIQUE

TORINO

C.so Dante, 53/a

Tel. 011 657900

RISTORANTE CASA VICINA

TORINO

Via A. Massena, 66

Tel. 0 11 590949 - www.casavicina.it

RISTORANTE CUBICO

TORINO

Via Saluzzo, 86 bis

Tel. 011 19714546 - www.cubicoRISTORANTE.it

RISTORANTE DEL CAMBIO

TORINO

P.zza Carignano, 2

Tel. 0 11 546690 - www.thi.it

RISTORANTE AL GARAMOND

TORINO

Via Pomba, 14

Tel. 011 8122781 - www.algaramond.it

RISTORANTE AL GATTO NERO

TORINO

C.so Filippo Turati, 14

Tel. 011 590477-590414 - www.gattonero.it

RISTORANTE LOCANDA MONGRENO

TORINO

S.da comunale Mongreno, 50

Tel. 011 8980417

RISTORANTE LA PISTA TORINO

Via Nizza, 262

Tel. 0116313523 - www.lapista.to.it

RISTORANTE TRE GALLINE

TORINO

Via G. Bellezia, 37

Tel. 0114366553 - www.3galline.it

OSTERIA ANTICHE SERE

TORINO

Via Cenischia, 9

Tel. 0 11 3 854347

RISTORANTE VINTAGE 1997

TORINO

P.zza Solferino, 16/h

Tel. 011 535948 - www.vintagel997.com

LE VITEL ETONNÉ

TORINO

Via San Francesco da Paola, 4

Tel. 011 8124621 - www.leviteletonne.com

RISTORANTE FLIPOT

TORRE PELLICE (TO)

C.so A. Gramsci 17

Tel. 0121 953465 - www.flipot.com

RISTORANTE CAFFÉ GROPPI

TRECATE (NO)

V.le G. Mameli, 20

Tel. 0321 71154 - www.caffegroppi.it

RISTORANTE LA CIAU DEL TORNAVENTO

TREISO (CN)

P.zza Baracco, 7

Tel. 0173 638333 - www.lacialadeltornavento.it

RISTORANTE PICCOLO LAGO

VERBANIA Fraz. Fondotoce

Via E Turati, 87

Tel. 0323 586792 - www.piccololago.it

RISTORANTE GIARDINETTO

VERCELLI

Via L. Sereno, 3

Tel. 0161 257230 - www.hrgiardinetto.com

RISTORANTE REAL CASTELLO

VERDUNO (CN)

Via Umberto 1, 9

Tel. 0172 470125 - www.castellodiverduno.com

RISTORANTE LA PERGOLA

VEZZA D'ALBA (CN)

Loc. Borgonuovo P.zza San Carlo, 1

Tel. 0173 65178

VINERIA OSTERIA PERBACCO

VILLA SAN SECONDO (AT) -

Fraz. San Secondo Via Montechiaro, 26

Tel. 0141 905525 - www.osteriaperbacco.it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking for a good restaurant in Piedmont is like a haystack looking to swallow a needle. There are just too many! As well as the "cheffy restaurants mentioned in PF's post and other reviews by me, its hrad to go wrong with the many little trattorie and osterie scattred all over the Langhe and Monferatto towns.

I never had the fortune to eat at the old Guido's, the new one at Pollenza is more contemporary modern style of cheffy restaurant. Lidia still cooks at the Guidos at the Relais San Maurizio near Santo Stephano, however the time we ate there we were sadly not impressed, it was OK, but at the price no better then so many inexpensive osteries in the area.

Tratoria Della Posta in Monforte d'Alba is closed all day on Thursdays and closed for lunch on Friday. I have heard good reviews on Giardino - Da Felicin but no direct feedback from anyone I know. Nearby at La Morra I could reccomend Osterie Vignaiolo or Osterie Veglio, both a little out of town. Or go over to Bra and eat at Boccondivino. Or (oh the lst goes on for ever..)

Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Best meal we had on our recent trip was at Osteria la Cantinella in Barolo (it's in the list above). The antipasti misti was great and I really enjoyed the ravioli. The owner was extremely nice and welcoming.

Frog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

We had a wonderful lunch here in early May:

RISTORANTE VILLA TIBOLDI

CANELLI (CN) - Loc. Tiboldi

Case Sparse, 127

Tel. 0173 970388 - www.villatiboldi.it

Both food and wine were excellent and you can sit on their terrace overlooking the vineyards. A lovely spot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

We're liberal vegetarians who will be staying in Bra for a few days in about a week. (liberal means that we don't fuss about the odd bit of pancetta, gunciale or chicken stock, but we prefer that meat and meat flavor/texture not predominate). We rarely have trouble being well fed anywhere in Italy, but I'm wondering if there's any restaurant that anyone would recommend that would be especially appealing to vegetarians - not just good pastas filled or sauced with cheese or vegetable, but interesting or appealing vegetable sides or even entrees?

Naturally we intend to have some truffle dishes this time of year.

Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're liberal vegetarians who will be staying in Bra for a few days in about a week. (liberal means that we don't fuss about the odd bit of pancetta, gunciale or chicken stock, but we prefer that meat and meat flavor/texture not predominate). We rarely have trouble being well fed anywhere in Italy, but I'm wondering if there's any restaurant that anyone would recommend that would be especially appealing to vegetarians - not just good pastas filled or sauced with cheese or vegetable, but interesting or appealing vegetable sides or even entrees?

Naturally we intend to have some truffle dishes this time of year.

Thanks

Hi Davy

I have not noticed any restaurants either specializing in or braging about their vegetarian selection but vegetarian dishes are very much a part of the Piemontese kitchen so I suggest that you pick the restaurant you really want to try and see what they offer. I doubt you will be disapointed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're not vegetarian, but our son is. When we visited the Piedmont several weeks ago - on an parents-only vacation - I noticed many vegatarian items on all the menus, being more sensitive to vegetarian dishes now that our son is one. Probably more choices, and definitely better-tasting items, than on a standard American restaurant.

Flans (sformatina) are popular, and often served with fonduta (cheese sauce). I saw these listed usually as antipasti; I had them several times. Another popular regional item (but which we didn't have) is bagna cauda, a aoili-like dipping sauce for vegetables.

Pastas can come with or without meats; I don't really like meat sauce, but don't recall ever having difficulties finding a pasta I wanted (in fact, I had the reverse problem of deciding which pasta to choose). The tajarin, which before our trip I saw described as similar to linguini, is much better! More eggy, and while just as narrow, or narrower, a little thicker than linguini.

A big specialty during while truffle season is ouvo with truffles; I saw this listed as antipasto and as secondo courses (we had it several places). This is a soft-boiled egg, served with or without fonduta (tasty either way), with whitel truffles shaved on top. Definitely vegetarian, and a definite treat!

Many restaurants also had cheese course; a number of times, the cheese courses were listed as secondi, though of course you could also have the cheese as a separate course after your secondo.

What I did notice, in our 3 1/2 days in the Piemonte, is fewer separate "contorni" courses than I have seen in other parts of Italy, like Tuscany. So probably your interesting vegetable dishes will be listed under the antipasti or secondi portions of the menus.

Enjoy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another popular regional item (but which we didn't have) is bagna cauda, a aoili-like dipping sauce for vegetables.

Enjoy!

Thank you!

Although I loved the bagna cauda at Tavolcalda Da Alfredo on Bleecker street 25 years ago here in New York, in Italy it is usually quite heavily anchovy based. But we've learned in Italy that anchovy and pancetta are considered vegetarian...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You sound like vegetarians in the same vein as my wife, who also is not stuffy or too resolute with her demands. We leave in 2 1/2 weeks for Piemonte, and we expect no problems. I think you'll find dozens of restaurant choices, with most welcoming you with no problem.

I think Lexma's post lists some of the top items. It's fall, pumpkin/winter squash season, so expect to find stuffed pasta with pumpkin/squash. All the sformati, as already stated. Bagna cauda=anchovies, indeed! (They and sardines are two of the fish my wife truly loves.)

Do you know Italian? Mine is poor, but I did learn the following phrase, which I hope is greeted with smiles -- and great food:

"La mia moglie e una vegetariana, pero lei e’ tranquilla e lei non fa fastidio di carne.

Lei e’ brava con il brodo di carne e i pezzetti della carne, e lei mangia cio che’ noi mangiamo tranne la carne – quindi pasti, verdure certimente, e i contorni."

... My wife is a vegetarian, but (paraphrasing) she's not a pain in the ass (I''m kidding. It doesn't mean that.)

She is fine with meat stock and small amounts of meat. She eats mostly what we eat, except the meat -- so pasta, vegetables certainly, and the side dishes. ...

I don't know. Maybe they'll throw us out!

Best of luck with the trip. Let us know if you find anything magical. Well, of course you'll find things magical. Tell us!

Cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We’ve recently returned from a wonderful first trip to the Piemonte area of Italy, and wanted to report on our restaurant experiences. (On this trip, which was business-related, we also spent time in Bologna, Venice, Milan and Turin.)

We stayed in Monforte d’Alba, in an absolutely stunning B&B called Le Case della Saracca. I’d go on about the wonderful place and its owner, but this is a food forum. (Other than eating, we visited two wineries for tours and tastings; the Alba truffle festival; a bunch of lovely towns; a smaller bunch of enoteche; and the brightly-colored chapel outside La Morra)

With DH and I for some of the time were our friends, who were on their first trip ever to Europe (and had to return home earlier than we did). We’re all foodies (though DH and I more than our friends) and adventurous eaters, more or less. I speak some Italian and a lot of “food Italian;” DH can read most main items on a menu, and our friends do not know (and didn’t try) any Italian. On this trip, as ever, I was torn between the desire to try more creative, inventive dishes and wanting to sample the local specialties and food items. Also, because it was (early in) the white truffle season, we were inclined to order truffle dishes when we could, which was positive on the truffle front, but limited the variety of dishes we ended up eating.

The Piemonte, overall: Great area, and we will return! In terms of food, we very much enjoyed it, with some minor exceptions. I have never liked pot roast (negative childhood memories of Sunday afternoon pot roast with those horrid overcooked vegetables), so I usually stay away from meats with similar textures. So I’m not ever going to be a fan of, for example, beef braised in Barolo. I like carne crudo, though not necessarily enough to have it as an antipasto for every meal! But the local pastas, every time, were delicious, as was anything with a fonduta. Possibly due to the French influence in the area, we saw more cheese courses and carts than we’ve ever seen (or perhaps just noticed) elsewhere in Italy; and many meals served friandises. Much more Italian-only spoken here than in more heavily-touristed Tuscany. Or possibly, because while my language skills are minimal, my accent is good, so the Italians felt they didn’t need to use English (a correct assumption most of the time).

White truffles. Before reaching the Piemonte, and via email from our B&B host, we had heard that it was a not-so-good truffle year (too hot, or too wet, or both), that they would be late, expensive and not so good quality. An acquaintance in Milan, however, said there would be truffles in the Piedmont, just not a lot for elsewhere. We did see them at restaurants, and ordered them at any restaurant that had them. Each time, it was a supplement of €30-40; I wouldn’t know if that was expensive for white truffles in the Piemonte. I’m not so familiar with white truffles that I would know if the quality was lower, though they did seem less aromatic. We were there in mid-October; the situation has probably changed a lot since then.

In order of favorite to least favorite:

Lunch at La Ciau del Tornavento, Treiso (about 5 km east of Alba)

This was probably the best meal, both food and experience, of our entire trip, and definitely lived up to its Michelin star. I told my husband last night that I’d return to Italy just to have more of the pasta I had here! The restaurant, and the views over the hills, is stunning, and the ambiance was wonderful as well. I chose this restaurant to be a more modern, creative contrast to the other, more traditional Piemontese restaurants that we ate at during our time there; I would say that was the case.

The service here was great, even though we entered as the same time as what appeared to be the Italian Porsche club (about 40 people). The owner, Maurilio Garola, and his staff took very good care of us. I would suspect that he, or someone, speaks some English, but my Italian was apparently sufficient. When we stumbled over a word used to describe a salad, Maurilio brought the item out to show us –they were pomegranate seeds! I could tell that Maurilio cared about his food and the dishes, and our appreciation of them.

The restaurant is a Palladian-style rectangle; with one long side all sliding doors overlooking the Langhe hills. It was a gorgeous fall day, and the doors were all opened to the afternoon air. A small lawn with a low wall encouraged restaurant patrons to step out for an aperitif, or just to look at the view. There’s also a swing at one end.

We only had one bottle of wine, a 1998 Barolo Aziali San Rocco. We did have two amuse bouche, though: the first was called by Maurilio “terre e mare;” a thick paper cone, with one perfect jumbo shrimp in the middle, coated in of chopped hazelnuts. The shrimp sweetness of the shrimp combined well with the hazelnuts. The second amuse bouche was two thin slices of trout on buttered bread, also very good, if less cute.

For a primo, I had my most memorable dish of the trip – ravioli liquidi, in a brothy sauce. The filling (possibly foie gras?) had melted during cooking into a (surprise) liquid; a rush of delicious mouth sensations. At the last minute, I agreed to the white truffles on top. I have to say, it would have been just as good without the truffles. For his primo, DH had l’uovo, a delicious white-truffle-season local item, an egg (coddled?) with many white truffles shaved on top. The diner must stir the egg and truffles vigorously to combine the two. It was truly delicious, though it doesn’t provide much opportunity for the chef to show off his skills. One of our friends had the quail salad (with the aforementioned pomegranate seeds), a light mixture of greens and large pieces of tender quail (sorry, I didn’t note what the fourth person in our party had).

For a secondo, I had the local snails, lumache, served creatively in two miniature saucepans on a small wooden board, one with savory snails in a butter and leek sauce, the other with polenta, creamy and soft. The polenta was a bit different; with, I believe, pieces of fresh corn mixed in. This was a case where ordering a local food item may have prevented me from having one of Le Ciau’s more creative dishes, but I did want to try the lumache! For his second course, DH had the potato gnocchi, four very large gnocchi sitting in the bottom of the bowl, looking very much like hard-boiled eggs, covered (again) with white truffles; DH loved those as much as I loved my ravioli liquidi. For their secondi, our friends each had tajarin with white truffles, which one said was the best tajarin she had. Before our trip, I saw tajarin described as being the local linguini. Tajarin is much better than that; there is an appreciably greater percentage of eggs in tajarin dough, and the shape is different, often narrower than linguini, but thicker.

Several us got the cheese cart, which was impressive indeed. I asked for a variety, from mild to strong, and while I didn’t note all the names, they included several local Tomás, and a Castelmagno, delicious indeed, with a sharp edge, similar to cheddar, without the bite of a blue cheese. The cheeses were served with cugná and honey, to be eaten with the stronger cheeses. We finished our meal (no dessert) outside on the terrace, two of us on the swing, with café and friandises.

Dinner at Trattoria della Posta, 2 km south of Monforte d’Alba

This meal was just DH and I; our friends had returned home. The décor here was elegant casual, exemplified by the worn terracotta farmhouse floors covered with Persian rugs. The tables were spaced far apart in the two rooms we walked through. Oddly enough, this was the only restaurant of our days in the Piemonte where we heard other English-speaking customers, and there were several tables of them (one two-top held two American chefs doing stages here in Italy; while the one was talking quite loudly, I never heard the name of the restaurant she’s working at). We were greeted warmly by the owner; as I recall, someone else took our orders. That woman appeared to only speak Italian, to my (private) amusement, as she took orders from the table of Germans next to us, I discovered she went to the same language school as my father - if they don’t understand you, speak louder in your own language!

For wine for our meal, the restaurant was out of DH’s first choice of a Manzoni (we had visited their vineyard), so we had a Parusso 1999 Barolo. The amuse bouche was nice; thin mozzarella, rolled up, with pieces of sweet pepper (just a couple) and anchovies (not the fresh kind), a little olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.

I have made a personal vow to order torcione (torchon) of foie gras whenever I see it, so I was committed the instant I saw it on Trattoria della Posta’s menu! It was served with the usual though also accompanied by cugná and a Moscato aspic; it was very good, but nothing compares to Thomas Keller’s torchon. DH had roast porcini, served on a grape leaf; a nice beginning to the meal and a pretty, seasonal presentation.

For a primi, I had angolotti al plin, stuffed with veal, with a very light butter sauce. The agnolotti were delicious and delicate in flavor, but could have used a little salt. DH had ravioli al plin, stuffed with a fonduta (not liquid), with white truffles. He said the truffles were good, but I couldn’t even smell them across the table.

Yes, we had a third course (I couldn’t pass up the torcione, and I couldn’t skip any of the other courses). I had l’uovo, this time served with fonduta (and the requisite white truffles). Not so aromatic, as noticed earlier, but a very good dish regardless, and the fonduta lightened up the egg. DH had filet of veal, but without the foie gras that it was supposed to come with (I would have eaten it for him, but with three courses, that would have been too much even for me). This veal was, to our minds, the best meat either of us had in the Piedmont, flavorful and not fatty at all. The dessert list was long and looked good, but after three other courses, we were much too full for anything but café.

Dinner at Giardino del Felicin, Monforte d’Alba

For some reason, I thought this would be a casual, informal place, which we deserved and/or needed after a large and long lunch at Le Ciau; turns out, Felicin is a “big meal” kind of place as well (oh well; tuck in and eat more). More nice-rustic décor; big tables spaced far apart. The restaurant/inn has a lovely terrace outside, where they serve in warmer weather. We were greeted at the table, in English, by the owner, Nino Rocca, vivacious and big with a loud voice. Nino proclaimed that he didn’t have any white truffles, because the “white truffles are for tourists” (I beg to differ, having seen many Italians at Le Ciau and della Posta eating white truffles). Nino declared he would help us with our meal decisions, and bring us each three small antipasti. So we each had three antipasti, which were not so small! The first was a piece of grilled codfish, with a fresh salsa on top; second was a veal terrine, with apple and aspic in the terrine (those of us who like terrine thought it was tasty); third was the best, a piece of pork accompanied by delightful carmelized chickpeas. Our first wine was a 1996 Clerico Plajana Barolo; I didn't note the second bottle.

For a primi, we had a pasta that Nino said he would make “specially for us.” (A bit of a slick character? Or maybe just a character?) Anyway, the tajarin he brought had a little meat, mixed with tiny chopped vegetables and black truffles. Must say, it was very good. Then Nino brought to the table “somebody’s” extra ravioli al plin con rosamarino and black truffles, with a very tasty meat filling, which we all shared as well. I’m not sure how “extra” it was, and I do believe we were charged for it. One of our friends then had a secondo of rabbit, which he’d been wanting to order at some meal (they were returning home the next day). It was served roasted, in a Nebbiolo sauce, with zucchini, carrots and fried polents, and delicious. Being quite full by this point, the rest of us shared an order of grilled porcini.

Continuing the food fest, we all had dessert. The guys had sorbet. My friend had a gianduia item, like a chocolate-covered wafer, served with vanilla gelato and on top of that, I was tickled to see the kind of chocolate that hardens (like at Dairy Queen). I finally had the chance to try the local dessert, bonet, which here was spelled bunet (and pronounced “bunette”). It was fantastic – chocolatey but only a bit so, and quite light and not too rich (I was able to have another serving, at a cafe in Alba, and it was very similar, light and not too chocolately. But upon looking up the recipe after our trip, I have discovered that it’s quite rich indeed, being mostly eggs and cream. Deceptively light, then!)

The bill was a bit confusing. We were charged for a couple of the set menus, though we hadn’t intentionally ordered them. It was probably cheaper that way, though it would have been nice to know in advance.

Lunch at Rabayà, via Rabayà, 9 12050 Barbaresco

Neither this nor the following restaurant is of the caliber of our dinner restaurants, or with lunch at Le Ciau. But not every meal should be over the top, and we love leisurely lunches in beautiful locations, which this certainly was. So for the sum of food plus ambiance, this restaurant comes next. (We did note Antiné, however, for another trip!)

This restaurant is outside of Barbaresco to the south. It’s a good-sized place with a plant and flower-filled and vine-covered terrace (including the sweet peppers and chili peppers used in the restaurant’s dishes) with absolutely stunning views over the countryside. On a quiet Monday, we were the only people here (inside or outside); it was just warm enough for us to sit outside. Unfortunately, for our entire time in the Piemonte, a haze was settled in the distance, so we couldn’t see any mountains. A noisy chicken and occasionally a dog’s bark, accompanied our meal. For wine, we had a 1/2 bottle of Pio Cesare Barbaresco 2003. I enjoyed the mixed antipasti plate: First was served a tasty veal crudo with shaved cheese and little olive oil. Then, all on one plate, (1) rotolo, made with herb pasta, with a strong ricotta and with crushed hazelnuts on top; (2) roast sweet peppers – two red and one yellow, with a caper and mild anchovy paste inside and topped with pesto; and (3) a little salad of galletto (rooster meat), with tiny pieces of zucchini and cooked carrots and with balsamic vinegar; such a simple thing, but so delicious that even non-salad-person DH kept taking bites. DH had the crespelle with porcini, fonduta and tiny herbs; a nice, light first course, and the porcini were good. Our next (and last) course was primi, agnolotti al plin, rectangular , filled with cheese; and tajarin with sugo al carne. Both were good but not outstanding. A quick café, then we were on our way.

Lunch at Osteria La Cantinella, via Acqua gelata, 4/a Barolo

Another lovely location, outdoors on another beautiful (if hazy) day, on the northwest edge of town, with a view (past a small parking lot) of some houses and above them, the hillside. It was Sunday lunch, and many Italians were out enjoying the beautiful weather; the restaurant was full inside when we arrived, and there were only two outside tables available. DH had a primi of risotto ai Barolo; I got tajarin ai funghi. My tajarin was nice enough for lunch. The risotto had an unusual flavor; maybe a little too much Barolo. We shared a secondo of formaggi; a large plate of maybe 12 different kinds, with cugná in the middle. I tried asking the names, but the server laughed and indicated that she had no idea! I was facing away from the entrance to the restaurant and its kitchen, but DH was facing toward it, and he was incredibly tickled when, every so often, an ancient “mama” came down the steps of the hillside above, entering the restaurant kitchen with a large tray of (presumably just-made) pasta.

Dinner at Antica Corona Reale da Renzo, Cervere (“da Renzo”)

I have to say, this meal was disappointing. This meal, our first in the Piemonte, was also our friends’ first visit to a Michelin-rated restaurant, and they’re the type to care about stuff like that. I won’t describe the restaurant, as that information can be found elsewhere. I will note that you have to ring the bell at the door to get in, and the sign for the restaurant is a bit small, so in the dark you have to be watching for the place.

Our disappointment was in the service and resulting ambiance. It was slow generally, though professional when someone approached our table. I translated the entire menu for our table before a waiter approached to ask (in English) if we needed help; not that I minded doing the translating, but in a restaurant of that caliber, with a table in a central location, I was surprised that we weren’t approached sooner (in fact, our problem is usually the reverse – the waiter/owner is ready to take our order before we’ve decided). And we didn’t get the feel of personal or welcoming service. At the end of the meal, we asked for the check three times to no effect. DH finally went into the other room to pay (maybe that’s SOP at da Renzo, but if so, someone should have told us). Interestingly, the owner of our B&B said he had similar service issues the last time he visited – and he’s a local who knows the owner!

Rant over, on to the food, which was of the high caliber I expected, though nothing I’m still salivating over. The amuse bouche was delicious – carne crudo (don’t know what animal), served on top of mashed potatoes. It reminded me very favorably of the salumi al sugo I had in Ferrera several years ago (and still dream about). DH and I shared l’uova, here prepared with a fonduta, with white truffles. Excellent of course. We also shared an order of tajarin with white truffles. To be honest, though I wouldn’t have passed up on the white truffles, the tajarin would have been just as tasty without the truffles. Our companions had the uovo and tajarin as well.

For a secondi, DH had capretto (baby goat), roasted, with vegetables. His only comment was that it was very good. I had pork (can’t remember what cut), like a somewhat-stringy steak with a thick Nebbiolo-balsamic sauce. Not what I’d usually order (it was recommended by the waiter), but I really enjoyed it, though the sauce could have been a bit lighter. One of our friends had the lumache (snails), which he described as somewhat bland. They were served out of the shell, in a little casserole, with the local leeks and onions. Sorry to say, I don’t remember what our other friend ordered! We shared two desserts, one a gianduia flan that was very rich. The friandise I liked more.

Special Mention of a Great Wine Bar: “Barolo Bar” in Monforte d’Alba. We visited twice, and what a delightful place. Small, cozy, with long tables to share. Each time we went in, we appeared to be the only non-locals, but were welcomed kindly and promptly. A nice selection of wines by the glass, good variety of antipasti, and each time, a very nice place of complementary antipasti.

My comment on Michelin-rated restaurants in Italy: Based on our two previous Michelin experiences in Italy, El Toula and Convivio Trioani in Rome, I haven’t been very interested in Michelin restaurants there. For those Rome restaurants, as good as the meal was, I felt like I could have been eating anywhere in the world. Not so on this trip; all of the Michelin-rated restaurants we ate at, those in the Piemonte as well as Vintage 1997 in Turin, felt and “ate” Italy. When choosing restaurants in Italy, I will still refer to eGullet, and guides like Gambero Rosso, but feel a bit better about Michelin.

Hope this helps others in their enjoyment of the region...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for that detailed report. We leave for Piemonte two weeks from today, so your report interests me greatly. Sounds like we need to get to La Ciau di Tornavento some day.

Would it be appropriate to ask for prices? Dinner for two w/wine, that kind of thing?

Cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd seen that you'd be there soon - hope my report has whetted your appetite!

I copied the following from my trip report; notice how the prices rocketed up with those servings of white truffles. Also notice my husband is very much into fine wine. But it will definitely give you a feel for the prices.

Antica Corona Reale da Renzo, dinner, total for 4 people, €390, including 2 bottles wine; 3 servings white truffles

La Ciau del Tornavento, lunch, total for 4 people, €433, including 1 bottle wine (€64); 14 (or 5?) servings white truffles

Giardino del Felicin, dinner, total for 4 people, €326, including 2 bottles wine (€72 & 28)

Osteria La Cantinella, lunch, total for 2 people, €71.50, including 1 bottle wine (€20)

Trattoria della Posta, dinner, total for 2 people, €220, including 1 bottle wine (€70); 2 servings white truffles

Rabayà, lunch, total for 2 people, $92 (notice dollars), including ½ bottle wine

Plus cover charges and I'm sure there are espressos that I didn't include.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lexma90

I know most of the restaurants you visited and found your comments interesting. We first discovered La Ciau five years ago and loved it, but two recent visits (one post renovation) were exceedingly disappointing. By way of contrast, we have had some great meals at Antica Corona, but we much prefer it at lunch when it tends to be far less crowded, with the result that the service is very attentive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd seen that you'd be there soon - hope my report has whetted your appetite!

I copied the following from my trip report; notice how the prices rocketed up with those servings of white truffles.  Also notice my husband is very much into fine wine.  But it will definitely give  you a feel for the prices.

Antica Corona Reale da Renzo, dinner, total for 4 people, €390, including 2 bottles wine; 3 servings white truffles

La Ciau del Tornavento, lunch, total for 4 people, €433, including 1 bottle wine (€64); 14 (or 5?) servings white truffles

Giardino del Felicin, dinner, total for 4 people, €326, including 2 bottles wine (€72 & 28)

Osteria La Cantinella, lunch, total for 2 people, €71.50, including 1 bottle wine (€20)

Trattoria della Posta, dinner, total for 2 people, €220, including 1 bottle wine (€70); 2 servings white truffles

Rabayà, lunch, total for 2 people, $92 (notice dollars), including ½ bottle wine

Plus cover charges and I'm sure there are espressos that I didn't include.

I'm very interested as well, since we'll be coming down in a while, and your prices sans truffles, sound good.

Thanks for the suggestions and report.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Lexma,

Thank you for sharing your Piedmont eating experience with us in such detail and from someone who lives in Piedmont fulltime and also runs a B&B/agriturismo whose guests are mainly here for their love of food and wine, may we say how much we enjoyed reading your review.

I am glad that you tried out both top end restaurants and smaller osterie. We are familiar with most of the places you ate at, Tornavento and delle Posta are rated in our books are 2 of the top restaurants in the area, Rabaya is very popular with our guests as being a consistently good mid-range restaurant. With great ambience, as you said not to be compared with Tornavento, but look at the price difference too. I don’t know La Cantinella, we usually go to La Cantinetta , , I wouldn’t go out of my way, but a nice little Osterie if you are in Barolo, they ravioli stuffed with a poached egg! I am not familiar with da Renzo or dal Felecin.

It’s a pity that this October’s weather was not so nice, it was very hazy for most of the month, which is not typical and this year’s virtual drought did not help the white truffles. In fact it is better to come to Piedmont in November, this is the month that local residents start eating tartufi bianchi, I am afraid that October is regarded as the time for tourists, which also means Italians from outside the area; places like Tornavento would attract wealthy Milanese and Torinese and you did mention the Porsche club outing. There was a real shortage of local truffles, in November all the better restaurants will bring you a truffle basket to choose from and shave it on your dish, not a pre-shaved in the kitchen supplement.

If I might add a comment about the cheese, I wouldn’t say the French influence, true Piedmont was a border region, which straddled the mountains, and the Savoy Kingdom included both Provence and Piedmont, but Piedmont by its very nature, ringed by mountains with Alpine valleys has a large variety of cheeses both cow and goat. I would guess that the fonduta sauce you had in many places, is actually a béchamel flavoured with cheese. You would have missed the big Cheese festival held in Bra every 2 years by the Slow Food Society which draws some 400 artisan cheese makers mainly from Piedmont.

Also the veal from Cuneo province is regarded as some of Italy’s finest.

Another pointer, which perhaps no one told you, is that fixed price meals are quite common in Piedmont, no matter how much you may eat of the selection. I believe that it probably arose because most restaurants only have one sitting per table for lunch or dinner (you experienced how long the meals take, hence the reason the slow food movement originated here), they don’t turn over tables as in USA . And its quite common in Piedmont to go and pay at the cash desk, not to wait for the waiter to bring the bill (and with expectations of a tip, I hope you didn’t overdo this part, its not expected).

My husband would like to compliment your husband on his wine taste (and his wine-budget). But did you only stick to Nebbiolo wines (Barolos and Barbarescos)? There are some very good Barbera’s as well as many other types of red wine and if you find a good Arnies, it’s a wonderful light white wine.

And lastly, I hope you come back to Piedmont again, so many places to try, and we hope you write about your experiences in Turin and Bologna too. In Torino did you have a gelato at Grom, or sip coffee at the Café Torino on Piazza San Carlo? Myself I don’t drink coffee, but I go there for the ambience.

add-on aha forgive me, I just found your review of Drogheria della Rosa in Bologna.

Edited by Sampaguita (log)

Too many restaurants in Piedmont, too little time in life

Villa Sampaguita

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, had a great trip.

Piemonte is definitely one of the meatiest cuisines in Italy - unusually few vegetable antipasti other than vegetable tarts or flans (usually very good).

Nevertheless we had a wonderful time and ate very well. We had some excellent agnolotti with greens, some wonderful truffles and porcini, beautiful cheese plates, and the best hazelnut cake I could ever imagine. Oh, and the wine wasn't bad either.

Except for the one exceptional meal in Swiss Chef's town we stuck to Slow Food choices and they were all very good. But I have to say that at nearly every restaurant the most popular dish we saw coming from the kitchen was the Brasato al barolo (pot roast?).

Just be sure to have some cheese and wine you will be very happy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Sampaguita -

It's been a busy month; I just now saw your post. As you may have guessed, I used a lot of your info in preparing for our trip. And we will definitely be back! One place we saw that I would have loved to try was l'Osteria del Vignaiolo. Actually, during the entire trip I kept noticed restaurants that I'd read about!

Interesting about it being more the custom in the Piemont to pay at the front desk - I wish we'd known that. Though in plenty of places, other than da Renzo, we saw people paying at their table.

We did drink Barberas as well, maybe more for lunch, and I'm sure I missed writing down some of the wines we drank. I have a very limited ability to distinguish wines, but I do like Barberas, so we tend to drink Barberas quite a bit too. My husband doesn't like whites, so I primarily have white wine by the glass, at lunch.

We are also big connoisseurs of gelato, so we tried Grom's gelato in both Torino and Milano. We both liked it, but in Milano, I preferred the gelato at Gelateria Toldo, in the Brera. The marron glaces gelato was superb wherever they had it, including Grom.

About Torino, I don't plan to write separately about that - I was very surprised to find that I didn't love the city, after hearing so many people rave about things that usually make me love a city (smaller size, less touristy). I think it was partly that the city is so grand, and everything is so big (including the piazze). And I decided I prefer Renaissance, and even gothic architecture, over Baroque. But to balance that, both my husband and I enjoyed Milan much more than we expected. We ended up spending only one day in Torino, using the day of our arrival for more time in the Piemonte, then arriving in Torino in the evening. We ate at Tre Galline, which was fine, but we both made bad choices on the main course (boiled meats, which I truly dislike, no matter how many other people love it). Lunch the next day was on a pretty piazza, Sfashion Cafe, but nothing unusual, except they had decent stuffed zucchini flowers. Dinner, DH's birthday, was a blowout at Vintage 1997 - definitely a special-occasion place, and a very good time was had by all. The next day, we drove through the Valle d'Aosta before heading back to Milano for our last night before the plane flight back to the U.S. But back to Torino, we did spend lots of time in Piazza San Carlo (2 blocks from our hotel), and I tried the bicerin - way too sweet for me! But I love the way every place in the Piemonte served some food with our drinks. For Torino, I thought that maybe - and I'd love your opinion on this - the cafe culture is so big (we saw many cafes with huge and wonderful antipasti spreads, but (D)DH wanted a "real meal") that there aren't, in comparison to other cities, as many "regular" restaurants. Or maybe it's just that Torino is far enough off the English-speaking map that I wasn't able to find as much information on Torino restaurants as I was able to for Milano, Bologna, the Piemonte, etc. (I can read some Italian, so used the Gambero Rosso website to the limits of my linguistic abilities, and have the English Slow Food book, but that doesn't have as many restaurant entries as the Italian version).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Nov-Dec 07 - In the Piedmont

Before recounting our trip’s finds, let me thank all the contributors to this Forum and this topic for their help and advice.

Osteria della Luna in Brodo, via Legnano, 12, Alessandria, 01.31.231898, closed Monday. Exiting Milan for the Piedmont we always have a dilemma, drive straight thru to Asti/Alba/Barolo/Bra, etc or stop for lunch. Having gotten a late start (Late night - last night, Milan Marathon this morning, moved Hertz office, we spent some time in the up-and-coming Triennale Bovina area, had a quick coffee and took off. One knife and fork and pinched pennies in the Michelin and we were there. Where? In dreary, dull, damp Alessandria. But the Square (Garibaldi) was a Sante Fe-esque display of chotchkis and junque and the resto very welcoming. They had an incredible “menu” at 28 € comprised of a first, main or cheese platter, dessert, coffee, water & wine. But we ordered off the carte and started with quite nice spaghetti with artichokes and risotto with red radicchio and creamy cheese. Then onto female deer (what in France is called biche) with a rich, brown, almost-black, intense sauce on fried polenta while Colette had a plate of Piedmont cheeses, that we both judged not much of a much, excepting one quite strong one and the sheep. Finally Colette had a dense yellow cake with Nutella filling. Excepting the horrible music, it was a fine meal for 76 €.

Return? Probably

Massimo, via Giolito Ferreri, 7, Trino, 0161.801325, closed Saturday and Sunday at dinner. Monday, on our way to the Sacred Mountain of Crea it was one of the few rated restos open. The amuse bouche was our second sampling of wonderful raw salmon this week, this with tart blueberries and celery. Colette had been hankering for pasta with porcini mushrooms and so, even though they were not on the menu, they said “of course” when she enquired. Me, I had a tajarin (15th century derived) pasta with bagna cauda (oil, anchovies, etc) sauce – both very good. Then I had four slices of perfectly undercooked (which for me means just short of raw) venison with only so-so polenta (Disclosure: it takes a great polenta to impress me). Colette, on a Nutella streak, had cream filled crepes with terrific chocolate sauce – which was likely to have been flavored with hazelnuts. Despite the shocking décor and horrid music, we passed a fine lunch for 57 €.

Go back? Probably if nearby.

Aldo di Castiglione, via Giobert, 8, Asti, 0141.35.49.05, closed Thursdays. We were recommended this Slow Food place by both the Osterie……. foodguidebook and our old Milanese colleague/friend who grew up around here and we were all set to really love it. While they have a menu posted outside; their offerings inside are based on the market (good), chef’s inclination (good) and the most charming Signora’s descriptions in Italian (difficult for us). Having had an ample lunch, which, although we walked much off on a forced march, was still weighing on us, we skipped the antipasti (however, we saw crudo, another meat with something that looked like ice cream/yogurt/crème fraiche dollops, go by us) and went straight to the 1sts; good, not great, raviolis of meat with a caramelized sauce and raviolis of squash that needed salt to cut the sweetness. Then onto roasted goat with sauce and veal cheeks with sauce (they also offered tripes, rabbit, lamb and one other I cannot recall). Colette thought her veal cheeks were more like pot roast; I concluded that cabrito is best when spit-roasted; but the fall spinach, al dente, with oil, was fine. No dessert, cheese or coffee, but a Barbera d’Asti, bottle of water and drop of grappa (offered) cost all of 65€.

Go back? Sorry Ernesto, no. I like gutsier stuff.

Lalibera,via Elvio Pertinace, 24, Alba, 010173 293155, closed Sundays, was a snail, wine bottle and cheese wedge in the Osterie…… and two fork and knives in the Michelin. It’s in the center of one of our favorite towns and so startlingly new that one wonders how “old” slow food can come out of the kitchen; but it does. We shared firsts; my spectacular pasta with “small fish” (called in my book – they were rouget) and a slightly spicy sauce that may have been the best dish of this trip, and indeed ever in Italy . Colette’s pasta with rabbit was very good, as was the bread. Then again we split: banal snails & salsify on polenta that had some spices on it and a wonderfully undercooked inside/crispy outside deossified quail on mashed potatoes with wonderful gravy. We had finished our first bottle of Dolcetto (of Alba, natch) both because of the fine quality and slowness in slow food delivery so we soldiered onto another (open) bottle with our cheese (again, not great, but necessary) with lingonberry/hazelnut confiture and terminated with an apple baked like I’ve never had and deep rich red sorbeto. That plus two Illys and a drop of grappa of Moscato = 92 €.

Go back? Probably not

Boccondivino, via Medicita 14, Bra, 0172.425674, closed Sundays and Mondays – address sound familiar? It should, it’s the epicenter of “Slow Food.” We had tried to get in a decade ago, shortly after learning about Slow Food from our food friend in Bologna, but it was closed the Monday we came by so we just picked up some SF booklets and said another time. OK. But I’m glad we came back, it was well worth it. The restaurant is on the second floor and is packed (reservations are a must) with locals (no tourists here, at least this time of year.) The walls are lined with wine of both common, young varieties and old, precious bottles. I had tajarin with tomato and Bra sausage that was excellent and Colette liked her vegetable soup which she deemed perfect for her sore throat. Then I had braised veal in Barolo that was as good as pot roast can get; C had rabbit with fennel. A moment out for a bread comment; it was very flavorful. Finally, Colette had a typical, local specialty, the bonet pudding, while I went with a semifreddo with pistachio and nuts covered with good chocolate. The bill with an excellent Barolo, water, coffee, one grappa = 85 €.

Return to the epicenter? I’d say so.

Ca del Re, via Umberto, 14 (but hard to find from the via Umberto in the dark), Verduno, 0172 470281, closed Tuesdays, was another Slow Food place that in some ways epitomizes the movement. They make their own bread, pasta, vinegar and wine, use great fresh, local products, treat the seasons with respect, etc. I started with 4 antipasti (tongue, pig’s face, goat cheese and spicy salami) while Colette had a plain green salad whose greens were quite tangy. I went on to a simple, spit-roasted rabbit that had a light spice dusting and was just on the edge of dry and Colette, the tagliatelle with rabbit liver ragu, that she says was the best she’s ever had. We tried two wines from their property: a full-bodied Barbaresco 1999 and a lighter “Verduno” 2006. The bill was 63.60 € with water but no desserts or coffee. An aside: the young chef is the daughter of the owners of the restaurant and nearby vineyards; she began in the food world as a waitress and then cooked for two years up the street at another restaurant before coming to chef at the Ca del Re. Next time we will likely take a room at the Ca del Re and plan on having another wonderful meal.

The usual question. Yep

La Cantinella, via Acquagelata, 4A, Barolo, 0173 56267, closed Monday nights and Tuesdays was recommended by both folks here (eG) and the “Osterie…..” book. It has three “menus” but we chose off the carte. Colette started once again with the tajarin with ragu that we agreed was not as good as that at the Ca del Re, but OK; I ordered the bagna cauda (the Piedmont specialty this time with tons of fresh veggies one dips in hot olive oil, garlic and anchovies) which we had to have once – OK. Then, having been overwhelmed by the Florentine tripes I had twice in Florence in September, I tried the Piedmontese version – not as spectacular, unfortunately, but Colette’s beef was up to the best boeuf bourgignon standards albeit without the wine in the sauce, so we were told, but we don’t believe it. The dessert was a nut cake with nut sprinkles and ice cream and zambaglione – super. The bill, with wine and water and coffee and one grappa was 74.50 €.

Go again? Don’t think so.

Le Corte Albertino, piazza Vittorio Emanuele 3, Pollenzo/Pollentina 0172 45 81 89, closed Sunday nights and Wednesdays, was a place we ate lunch at several years ago and after seeing the rooms in the hotel part of this complex, decided to return for more, so we stayed two days. The town, for those unfamiliar with its history, was built on a Roman one (Pollentina, parts of which are still evident), but retained/renovated huge buildings, churches, etc., that house four restaurants, of which one has one-star, two hotels and a University of Gastronomy (founded by the Slow Food folks). What hits you first is the horrid loud music and huge erotic painting taking off on Thomas Eakins’ Swimming, itself a take-off on Cezanne’s Bathers. We started with an amuse bouche of a bean/corn/rice soup with toasted bread with olive oil – a terrific beginning. Then we both chose pastas; Colette enjoyed ravioli filled with branzino, me one with rabbit and olives – both were just fine. I then had the roast quail with almost no sauce or spices or herbs, which was very, very good. (It seems that roasting meats is common in the Piedmont and the few we tried were very flavorful, even without any sauce.) We both then had desserts; Colette – the zambaglione (again) - and I a delicate vanilla flavored crusty cup into which Calvados-poached diced apples and ice cream had been placed. Altogether quite nice! The bill = 70 € with a lotta wine, water and no coffee.

Come back? I think so.

Violetta, valle S. Giovanni, 2.5 km from Calamandrana (ask directions) 0141 76.90.11 closed Tuesday and Sunday nights and Wednesday is a gem of a place beloved by everyone from Fred Plotkin to Michelin and we can see why. A smiley-faced Bibendum, while hard to find, it tries hard to please and does. No written menu excepting a wine list. We started with identical dishes of tagliatelle with a cuisinarted mushroom sauce. Then Colette had (what else?) rabbit and I guinea fowl; both were served with only their own minimum sauce in rollatine form and were accompanied by fine veggies: spinach, carrots and small leaves of just picked lettuce . We both had chocolate desserts (a bouche and mousse) which were less successful. With a bottle of Barbera d’Asti, water, coffee and one giant-sized grappa = 70 €.

Return? As soon as possible - since I can now find the way.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...