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Lunch along the A26 or A5 between Ivrea and Alessandria?

I'll be driving along the A26 and A5 between Ivrea and Alessadria around lunchtime on a Friday. Are there any good places to stop near the autostrada? I don't have time for a long lunch as I need to get to Nice at a reasonable time, but would happily detour for something good and interesting.

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  1. When are you leaving Ivrea, and where do you estimate you will be at noontime?

    If Nice is your ultimate destination, why not take the A6?

    3 Replies
    1. re: barberinibee

      I'm actually driving from Geneva, so I'm just passing through or near Ivrea. I only have a rough idea of where I'll be around lunchtime, I'm just assuming that, based on my best back of the napkin calculations, I'll be in that area roughly around noon to early afternoon.

      Why not the A6? Good question. I don't know. I'm just using the route that ViaMichelin.com drew up for me. So, you would take the A6 instead? If so, anywhere you recommend stopping?

      1. re: dinersaurus

        I don't know why Michelin recommends that route from Geneva. Maybe there's a good reason! I'm reluctant to tell you the A6 is better.

        Michelin's route takes you through Vercelli, which is ground zero for risotto in Italy. Fred Plotkin makes this recommendation in nearby Desana. It's a place I have always wanted to go to:

        http://www.tenutacastello.com/index.p...

        They even serve a business lunch, so it can't be an endless affair, even though it is risotto

        http://www.tenutacastello.com/index.p...

        1. re: barberinibee

          We took Fred's recommendation and enjoyed our meal at Oryza quite a bit. It's not a fancy restaurant, but the period rice board posters are great and the service was good (even if our tatooed water looked like he should have been in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) We had a risotto with spinach and toma cheese, and one with "fine herbes". The risotto was different than most we've had in that you really tasted the rice. The appetizer buffet was simple but good (mostly salad fixings and some cheese). We'd go back anytime we were in the area. While you are there, the Bourbogne museum in Vercelli was nice, although we were the only visitors and the sole staff member was on top of us the entire visit, controlling our path.

    2. As you drive past Casale Monferrato you will be skirting what I call the "zone" on the right, the central Piedmont wine hills, with dozens of small hill towns all with wonderful little trattorie, but that would require a bit of a deviation of the main route, so best stick to major towns along the autostrada, which gives you Ivrea, Vercelli and Casale Monferrato (I wouldn't go into Alessandria, too big and difficult to get in and out). The Oryza restaurant (tenutacastello) in Desana is highly regarded and we have had positive feedback from our guests, and its not far off the A21 Vercelli Ovest exit. Others to try would be Ivrea: La Trattorie (via Aosta 47); Vercelli: Il Paiolo (Viale Garibaldi 74) or Casale M: La Torre (Via Candiana d'Olivola 36)

      1. why not drive to torino and use the a6, it's shorter than a26, so you may choose between a Torino resturant or something else like this one: http://www.ristoranteiportici.it/inde... this is a slow food resturant 8 km from a6

        1. Thanks to everyone for the recommendations. I've reconsidered the route as it looks like the A6 is roughly the same amount of time (according to Michelin). Is the A6 more scenic too? (Although, Oryza looks perfect on the other route.)

          If I take the A6, where do you recommend that I stop? I may want to avoid going into Torino as I'm afraid that it will take too much time to get in an out of. Are there any good places to stop near the A6 that you recommend, yet are not too expensive?

          TorinoAgent, the restaurant you suggested looks good, but I'm afraid it will be too far south - that is, it will probably be mid-afternoon by the time we arrive. Is there anything closer to Torino, be it north or south of it, that you suggest?

          4 Replies
          1. re: dinersaurus

            I would suggest you this one"http://www.trattoriadellavigna.it/" it is just a 4 km from the Carmagnola exit on A6 and you would be just out of Torino.

            here the map from google maps "http://maps.google.it/maps?f=d&so..."

            1. re: dinersaurus

              I would say that not only is the A6 a bit longer then the A26 route, also you have to go on the Tangenziale around Torino and run into some traffic. And the A26 between Torino and Savona is quite boringly straight for miles. OK the A25 passes through the ricelands true, but its a better and newer autostrada and the cut through the mountains is quite spectacular.

              1. re: Villasampaguita

                You've given me more food for thought. I was recently swayed by others on the forum to the A6. When I looked online, I thought that I might get a nice view of the mountains on the A6, whereas the A26 looked pretty flat and uninteresting.

                I may make up my decision later. But, in the meantime, I'll gladly take any more restaurant recommendations for places that are worth a stop, not too pricey, and not too far from the autostrada on either route. Thanks.

                1. re: dinersaurus

                  If you decide to take the A6, I would stop at Boccondivino in Bra, the home of Slow Food, a touch trendy and twee, but not the less an outstanding Osterie and not expensive.

                  You can get off the A6 at Marene about 20 minutes south of Torino, and its about 5 minutes into Bra.

            2. Thanks to everyone again for the recs. I hope to be able to explore all of these recs at some point. We ended up stopping at Oryza for lunch. It was just what we were looking for - a quality lunch, not too pricey, and only a short detour from our route, so we were able to get to Nice before dusk. We had an appetizer plate with cheese, beets, eggs, a frittata-like thing, and some of the best salami I've had in a while. We each had a red bean risotto that was a bit heavy but quite tasty. Washed down with a nice local wine, it was just the pick me up we needed after our long flight and to fortify us for the trip to Nice.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dinersaurus

                Great to hear it worked out for you and that you hope to return to Italy.