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Piedmont Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


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Do you know how much is a Taxi likely to cost me from Cesare?

Don't know the amount, but it will wind up, back and forth, a good percentage of your meal. Piemonte is very deceptive. Everything looks close on the map, but the windy roads prove deceptive regarding distance.

Why are you going to Cesare when there are so many other better places to eat?

Eating at Da Renzo twice, in my opinion, is far better than eating there once and once at Cesare.

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A Google search "dormire Cervere" should net you some suggestions of hotels near Da Renzo. I only found one in the town: La Tour. Alternatively, you can stay in Bra, which is less than 6 miles from Cervere. I vaguely remember it not being the prettiest town, but I may be mixing it up with another. It's also the hometown of Slow Food. I recommend getting their Itinerari, I used the ones for Barolo e Barbaresco and Torino extensively.

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We faced a similar problem to yours on our last visit there - we stayed at a lovely (and cheap!) farmhouse on the outskirts of Barolo but did have to drive everywhere for dinner. Generally, I bit the bullet and drove back after having some wine at a leisurely pace over the course of the dinner. We certainly couldn't afford the prices of taxis back and forth for dinner as we'd heard that it can add up to an appreciable amount of the bill for the night!

Barolo is quite walkable (unless, like us, you stay about 2 miles out of it!!) so if you find anywhere to stay in town, it should be easy enough to stagger back after dinner.

I was also impressed with the options in La Morra - next time we go (this September) I am voting for staying here as there seemed to be a lot of places to stay and to eat at. The hotel Corte Gondina seems to get good reviews and you might want to check out the list of other hotels on Tripadvisor for Piedmont although you do have to wade through all the Turin places....

Good luck! I hope you have a lovely trip!

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

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Help! I'm travelling to Piedmont in November. Now I know that there are a 101 threads on the area but I'm struggling to get a grip on the  major towns/villages that I should be visiting or staying in. Currently I'm in Alba for two nights and thats it. I've another 5 nights to fill. My main problem is staying close enough to the restaurants I want to eat at so that we don't have to drive (We both like to have a drink and Rachel is never going to drive onthe "wrong" side of the road). For instance, I want to go to Da Renzo, what is my best option for nearby accomodation? Same applies for Da Cesare, is it easy to get a taxi there from Alba or is it going to be some ridiculous price.

If I stay in Barolo for a night or two, what are my dining option there keeping in mind my driving dilemma (incidentally try typing Barolo in the EG search engine, you'll see why I'm having so many problems tracking this down myself).

Has anybody got a suggestion for somewhere more luxurious for one night, the rest of the tie we're happy to stay in B&B's or simple hotels.

We too are going to be in Piedmonte in Nov. Have been there several times before and this time we are staying at one place for 6 nights before we move on. The place looks great and I have had good feedback abt it. The restaurant sounds good too. The owners seem very helpful and will offer a lot of guidance. We too do not like to have to drive at night after enjoying the delicious wines. Nov. is often very foggy and those small. winding roads can be a challenge. Look this place up... Hotel Castell di Sinio. www.hotelcastellodisinio.com I am hoping they might be able to find drivers willing to take us on nights we want to eat out of the hotel.

Another place I like is Il Cascinalenuovo. The food is wonderful and they have maybe 10 modest, clean rooms. It is on the Asti-Alba road.

Hope this is helpful.

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I really cannot imagine trying to see the Alba area without a rental car. Taxis are rare in any but the the major cities of Italy. I suspect that you will spend most of your time waiting for cabs, and it will sour your experience. Driving in the area is no different from driving in small towns in the U.S. If the Autostrada is an issue, take a cab from there to the Alba area, then get a rental car.

Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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Bill, you misunderstood (i didn't make it very clear in my original post), I will have a rental car and am happy to drive but in the evenings I like to drink so want to be within easy reach of restaurants either by a short or reasonable priced cab ride or by walking.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Matthew, sorry. However, the ristoranti are so far-flung that there is no ready solution to your problem. For example, Cervere is a dreadful spot along the main truck route that offers nothing other than Da Renzo. It is relatively close to Bra, but Bra is a town without much to offer relative to Alba, Asti and the attractive smaller towns in the area. (Yes, yes, the Slow Food headquarters and its cafeteria Boccondivino, but for a short trip, I wouldn't even spend a meal there.) I can offer only the Klapp designated driver formula: no alcohol before dinner, only wine with dinner, and consume equal quantities of wine and acua minerale with your food. That keeps me sober until I make it to my bed!

Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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The only other possible and some what affordable solultion may be to hire a local driver to drive your car to and from. Perhaps for the cost of 10 or 15 Euro per hour the hotel or restaurant may have someone available. Maybe someone that works at the establishment or perhaps a child of one of the folks that work there. It never hurts to ask.

FWIW what we do is similar to Bill. DO not drink copious amounts and drink slowly. The best way to do this is to order older , expensive wines. No cocktails, no after dinner digestive. Drive slowly, carefully and if you are drunk wait an hour or so if you have to to sober up. Take a long walk around town in the cold night air. I have always gotten home safe and always enjoyed a bottle of wine or two at dinner. Just pace yourself and drink lots of water, especially prior to the meal.

I second the thoughts on Bra. When we visited we saw fights between street walkers who then turned their anger at us for walking by. It was quite unpleasant and there was nothing there worth that IMHO.

We stay at http://www.adanada.it/text/agriturismo.html it is outside Alba. Very well situated. Everything is within 30 minutes or so. We will be at Salon di Gusto in Oct. then Ada Nada after that for a few days.

David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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Hi Matthew,

Have you considered the Monferrato? I have a house in Zanco just North of Asti and it looks like Tuscany but with the Alps as a back-drop. The wines are great and half the price of the Langhe. Have a look at my foodblog on the area. I strongly suggest Tenuta Castello di Razzano they have just finished turning the castle into a hotel and it is fantastic. Suites are 120 euros a night for 2 people. Their wines are fantastic and the family is wonderful. There are loads of fantastic restaurants in the area. It's just the next village over from us so pop in and say hi!

Ed

Our village:

gallery_25747_2937_408134.jpg

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We stayed in Alba for four nights earlier this year. We had planned to drive to dinner but our lovely Agritourista turned out to be on a one lane road up in the wine growing region. I had trouble with the ride there. However, we had planned some of our further meals for lunch so that we could do some sightseeing and this solved the problem. We drove to Renzo for lunch without difficulty, but at night thru Bra would have been bad. Also went to Combal. and toured the museum after lunch before driving back. Taxi's are doable if you don't go too far. Where we were staying arranged taxi service for us into Alba for dinner and also to Artine(via the ridge road-I would occasionally open my eyes and sneak a peak of the beautiful scary view). We also as was suggested above tended to space our wine outand drank a lot of water when driving. And take Bill's sugestions-they led us to many great places. Of our 3 weeks in Europe the 4 days in Alba were my favorite.

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If I could add an opinion, having spent the past two months in Piemonte utilizing the guidance of Senore Klapp and Matt Kramer...

With regard to Barolo: although the town of Barolo is scenic and the Enoteca Regionale in the castle is worth a visit for its changing menu of three Barolos of different styles to taste, I would go there only for that purpose. Instead, a visit to the other Barolo villages, particularly Monforte d'Alba (where you could get a ride to the much discussed on this board "Trattoria della Posta"), Castiglione Falleto (for a tasting at Vietti) and to see the capers growing on the side of the castle, or La Morra for an unriveled view of the valley. Personally, I found a little bit of an occasional snooty attitude in the Barolo zone, as compared to the towns of Barbaresco/Neive/Treiso, so I would spend time in the latter. I also agree that to truly enjoy this part of Italy, a car and a good map are essential.

I know pizzerias are a dime a dozen, but there is a truly exceptional one just on the edge of La Morra (an easy walk from the city center, down a small hill on the side opposite Belvedere) called Il Laghetto (as expected situated on a small lake with lakeside seating). They advertise (as do more and more places, you will see), the Slow Food philosophy, and their pizzas live up to it.

When in Alba, don't miss the Saturday morning market, especially the cheese and meat carts. There is a guy there with one of the meat carts who makes his own Cinghale and Pork Prosciutto. You will recognize him when he calls out "Ragazzo! (or ragazza) " to everyone who walks by, for a sample.

I'm blathering on, but what a great place, have a wonderful trip.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I've now booked my accommodation based a little on your replies I am now staying in Alba, La Morra and (shock horror) Bra. I'm mainly staying in Bra for Renzo so that I am nearby but also because the Albergo Cantine Ascheri appealed visually :smile: .

Good to hear that the Pizzeria in La Morra is good, its within easy walking distance Corte Gondina where I am staying, it was this hotel advised me that the taxi to a restaurant 4km away would cost €40 -50 (they advised against it)!!!!!

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I've now booked my accommodation based a little on your replies I am now staying in Alba, La Morra and (shock horror) Bra. I'm mainly staying in Bra for Renzo so that I am nearby but also because the Albergo Cantine Ascheri appealed visually :smile: .

Good to hear that the Pizzeria in La Morra is good, its within easy walking distance Corte Gondina where I am staying, it was this hotel advised me that the taxi to a restaurant 4km away would cost €40 -50 (they advised against it)!!!!!

Hi Matthew,

We found the town of Bra rather boring. Except for Boccondivino, which knocked our socks off when we first came to the Piemonte...not sure we would be as impressed today...in fact, I am sure we wouldn't. Because of Slowfood Boccondivino has become one of the most famous restaurants in Italy and from all this publicity, one tends to be brainwashed into thinking that Boccondivino is heads and shoulders above the rest... but that is simply not the case.

It is really a pity you have overlooked the Monferrato.

Have a great time anyway!

Ed

Edited by SWISS_CHEF (log)
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Thanks for the suggestion Swiss Chef, I'm looking for somewhere to eat in Alba. I presume you are talking about eating in the downstairs restaurant (La Piola) rather than upstairs?

Incidentally, I won't be eating at Boccondivino in Bra, I really will just be bedding down there, we'll be out and about during the day so don't worry about us getting bored :smile:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Thanks for the suggestion Swiss Chef, I'm looking for somewhere to eat in Alba. I presume you are talking about eating in the downstairs restaurant (La Piola) rather than upstairs?

Incidentally, I won't be eating at Boccondivino in Bra, I really will just be bedding down there, we'll be out and about during the day so don't worry about us getting bored :smile:

I have only eaten downstairs. Piedmontese cuisine is still too new to me to even consider experimenting. The Agnolotti are simply the best I have found in my year of sampling...but I have to say Da Maria in Zanco makes them just as delicious but with a little less pizzaz than Duomo.

Have a great time Matthew! If you find yourself with a little extra time and want to see the Monferrato drop me a line!

Ed

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Alberts, are you finally out of my house?  And I am glad to hear that you were waylaid by the salame dude in the Alba market.  His samples forced on me have ruined many a Saturday lunch!

Well Bill, my heart is still there, but the rest of me is stuck back here in the States. Thanks again.

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Have a wonderful trip. Its such a beautiful area and i agree with Albert on the views from La Morra. We also ate at Piazza Duomo, but we ate upstairs. The night we were there there was a large table that are server said were some of the other restaurant owners at the other end of the room, and us at our end. We were treated very well and in trying to put into some sort of ranking , I put it below Renzo and Artine, my husband liked it more than either of those and my son liked Artine better and Renzo less. Sorry for the confusing info but I thought that would give you more than one opinion. Im sitting here looking at a "relanghe" bar -Im not sure what the proper name is but it is a hazelnut nouget candy that reminds me of our favorite Alba restaurant - La Libera( we first tasted it when it came with our check) if you dont already have all your meals planned go look at some of the comments on this place and see what you think.

Alberts- Two months!!! wish I was there. And Bill your frequent trips are the 1st case of Green Monster Ive ever developed on this site . I write so poorly that I lurked for years before deciding that I needed to join just to contribute and then found myself drawn into posting occ.

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Im sitting here looking at a "relanghe" bar -Im not sure what the proper name is but it is a hazelnut nouget candy that reminds me of our favorite Alba restaurant -

It is called Torrone and if you ever get a chance to try the pudding made with Torrone it is a must!

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We've just come back from a couple of days in Piemonte which again reminded me of what an incredible place for food and drink that this is!!!

Since we were driving a right-hand drive car (which provided more than a few hours of amusement/fear on the smaller roads -particularly the Grand St. Bernard pass on the way back...), it was good to solve the problem of driving after dinner with staying at the Vecchia Tre Stelle just outside of Barbaresco for D&B&B for one night. Wonderful restaurant with a good wine list and it was truly lovely to be able just to stagger upstairs after dinner.

But we also went to the Trattoria della Posta (which was AMAZING - thank you to everyone who wrote on this restaurant..it truly lived up to expectations), following very much the advice of:

FWIW what we do is similar to Bill. DO not drink copious amounts and drink slowly. The best way to do this is to order older , expensive wines. No cocktails, no after dinner digestive. Drive slowly, carefully and if you are drunk wait an hour or so if you have to to sober up. Take  a long walk around town in the cold night air. I have always gotten home safe and always enjoyed a bottle of wine or two at dinner. Just pace yourself and drink lots of water, especially prior to the meal.

with this, I managed the drive back after dinner from the Trattoria to outside of Barolo (where we were staying) after a Nebbiolo Langhe (can't afford the 'brand names') and a Moscato d'Asti, even on the 'wrong side' of the road, just fine!

Have a lovely trip - I wish we had stayed longer but at least we've a car full of gorgeous Piemontese wine :biggrin: hmmm- and we brought Torrone back too!

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

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Sorry I'm too late to help this time, but for those looking for accommodation in Italy, the following site is always informative:

www.enit.it

This is the official Italian tourism site and all listed hotels should be on here, with phone numbers and websites (if available). It also includes the prices the Hotels have promised the state they will charge (and that are also found on the back of hotel doors) - this can be useful while navigating the hotel finders on the web.

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