3 dinners in/near Alba
We will have three nights near Alba. So far I am thinking of the following restaurants for our dinners:
I would appreciate any thoughts/comments/suggestions.
We had a great dinner at La Libera last fall. The food is a modern take on regional classics. I am planning a return to Alba next fall and definitely have La Libera on the list again. I am not familiar with the other two, but one other place in the area that we will definitely return to is I Bologna in Rocchetta Tanaro, the best meal we had in Piemonte.
I Bologna most likely was removed from the Guide because it raised its prices.
Michelin shows it as offering a menu at 45 euros, GR at 40, while Slowfood maxes at I think 35 euros. There are a lot of places that seem to fall out for this reason (get well know and raise their prices, presumably), nothing nefarious about it, seems to me.
La Libera in Alba is listed in both Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (SFO) and gets a 77 point rating (one fork) in 2008 Gambero Rosso Ristoranti d'Italia (GR).
Al Enoteca in Canale is not listed in SFO and gets an 87 rating in GF, plus a special mention in two forks verging on three.
Bovio in La Morra is not listed in either of my guides, but it's predecessor Belvedere was rated at 80 (two forks).
If it were my money I would go to Piazza Doumo in Alba rated in GF at 90 (three forks), Al Enoteca and Osterie Vignaiolo in La Morra (SFO and New York Times)
Ekc, Bovio is rather new and what what I can gather is the old Belevedere (which was getting stale after at least 20 years) moved to a new location.
Here is our review of Al Enoteca posted on e-gullet in 2007 and its still superb and not expensive for its category :-
Normally we go for the smaller and less pricey osterie and trattorie, which this area of Italy abounds in, and our guests love, however we decided to try out a more fancy and elegant restaurant as a treat for us and to share with the forum.
The Enoteca Restaurant, as the name implies, is co-located with the Enoteca Regionale di Roero, in Canale, around 20 minutes from our house on the scenic back road between Asti and Alba. The Roero, as you may know, is the other central Piedmontese wine area on the west of the Tanaro river, not as famous as the Langhe and Monferrato but producing good (and reasonably cost) wines such as Roero Arneis (white), Nebbiolo d’Alba (red), Barbera’s (both d’Alba and d’Asti) and Bonarda (Cisterna d’Asti DOC).
The restaurant is on the first floor of the Enoteca building, in the centre of Canale, next to the old porticoed Via Roma shopping street. The decor is quite modern and elegant, although I personally prefer more traditional styles.
I decided to have the menu degustazione classico and Tim elected to go with a menu selection. On special that day was a mixed sashimi antipasti, which was tempting, but we decided that we wanted to try out the Piedmontese specialities. Here are out tasting memories:
* A selection of mixed antipasti tidbits, including a delicious and palate cleansing shrimp cocktail with fresh made tomato sauce, and a cone of goat’s cheese flavoured with blueberry.
* “Il Fassone dalla testa ai piedi” literally a selection of meats from head to toe : 3 slices of tongue – loved it; tripes, shredded with a smear of green sauce, I wouldn’t have even known what it was without asking; carne crudo, not usually my preference, but it literally melted in my mouth; prosciutto type of belly meat marinated in mustard and lastly the hoof made into a jelly and deepfried, this was so good.
* “Calamari aglio-olio e peporoncino, polenta bianca grezza”, very simple, yet the calamari was exquisitely soft and mouth melting sitting on a bed of white polenta making a great combination.
* [/I]Ravioli stuffed with 3 types of meat, beautiful presentation, wrapped in a lace napkin and served with a cup of most delicious broth (I even drank the leftover!).
* “Due ravioli in due servizio”. Two ravioli courses both with liquid (melted) fillings, first one with pesto - really a tortellini which as you bite into releases an explosion of sumptuous liquid pesto, the second with Blue Moncenisio cheese in a chocolate-coloured grano di carube (Sicilian) shell, and perfectly offset by the pieces of pear and almond.
* [I]“Costato di manzo, midollo, pinole tartin di cipoli” A treat for meat lovers, a solid piece of loin cooked between rare and medium the meat was so soft and tender, still pink in the middle and yet not chewy. The side dishes were carefully put together as one dish and a perfect accompaniment.
* “Insalata di piccione, porcini, mirtilli e fegato grasso affumiciati”, which was roasted slices of tender pigeon cooked to perfection, topped with smoked foie gras, sliced mushrooms and blueberries, a most interesting and rewarding combination.
Wine – as can be expected for an enoteca the wine list was extensive with a large range of Roero wines as well as a good selection from Piedmont and other regions. We chose 2 classic Roero wines.
* Roero Arnies 2006 Almondo Giovanni, with good perfume and acidity, but in our opinion not as good as Bruno Giacosa, which is the only Arnies we have found with body.
* Cisterna d’Asti Superiore 2003 La Pergola. We love a good Bonarda, however this one had been oaked in new barrels, which had killed any taste of the fruit.
We felt we could have made a better selection and were not really able to communicate to the wine waiter what we really wanted:
* “Sformata Gianduja con Crema Menthe”, a little crusty for my taste, could have been moister, but a good combination with the mint cream sauce.
* “Crema e Gelato alle nocciole zabiglione soffice” – to die for!
Vino Arneis Passito 2001, - excellent desert wine, the first time we have tried an Arneis Passito, although there was a faint raisin taste reminiscent of Sicilian Moscato rather then a true botrytis wine.
Overall the timing between courses was excellent, as was the presentation, the waiters were attentive and helpful (including some who speak a little English). We didn’t fell overstuffed and tipsy when we left. The bill was 175 euro, more then we would pay at a trattorie, but in keeping with the class of restaurant and the meal.
Restaurant website http://www.davidepalluda.it/
Footnote; since we quite full after this big lunch that we came home via nearby Cisterna d’Asti, a very pretty and scenic hilltop town, dominated by a medieval castle, which has a great collection of old artisan workshops donated by the descendants of the old trade families. Well worth seeing and open every afternoon.
Hello Villa- could you please recommend a few good trattoria//l'osteria where we can have truffle based menu? I am only there for two days so will have 3 meals and so far, I have L'Osteria del Vignaiolo, and Trattoria della posta on my list. Missing one, and was hoping you could help recommend the third since you seem to know the local ones in the area. Thanks!!
You will be in Alba or Barolo area? If it was my choice I would do Vignaiolo of course, I would skip Della Posta and go to Boccondivino in Bra, and for the last choice I would either go to Osterie Gemma in Rodino, for a real local and inexpensive place, but not likely to have truffles, or if you want to splash, go to Ciau del Tornavento in Treiso. Also Locanda nel Borgo Antico near Barolo has a good reputation with our gourmet guests but we have not tried ourselves.
Hi Erica, we took some friends there in June and whereas it was quite good (it had better be given it's reputation), I was not terribly impressed by some of the dishes.It wasn't worth making a review since it has so many and I didn't want to start another forum argument! I think there are better places in the price category and if I only had limited time I would skip it. .