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Eating through the Piemonte region

((Ok, something went terribly wrong with original post! CH mods, could you pls delete the previous thread? Thanks in advance!__

We will be traveling through the Piemonte region in the autum season, and for now, this is what our reservations are looking like:

Combal Zero - Rivoli
Guido - Pollenzo
Boccondivino - Bra
Piazza Duomo - Alba

Wondering what else would everyone recommend? We'll be in Torino a few nights, followed by Bra, Asti and Alba. I will slowly pore through the search results here to see what everyone recommends for this region

* But in the meantime, I did a search on here and couldn't find anything about Consorzio in Torino. Has anyone been, and would you recommend? Site: http://www.ristoranteconsorzio.it/

* Also, is there anything of interest en route from Bellagio to Asti (I know, it probably sounds a bit strange out of context, but such is our route)? I understand Novara is a nice town to go through (as per Plotkin), Biella is known for wool (and beer!), and Vercelli is known for rice.. but is there anything else of particular interest along this route?

Also, has anyone tried the guided tour + tasting at the Wine Bank in Pollenzo? (We aren't huge drinkers, but the region is so well known for it, we love learning new things, and that vault looks amazing!

)

Thank you so much in advance!

db

-----
Piazza Duomo
vicolo dell'Arco 1, angolo piazza Risorgimento, Alba, Piedmont 12051, IT

Consorzio
Via Monte di Pietà, 23, Turin, Piedmont , IT

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  1. I have mentioned this on other threads regarding the Piemonte, but I would again recommend visiting the regional enoteca/wine tasting room in the castle above the village of Grinzane Cavour, a bit south of Alba. There is a large tasting room where you will be able to taste wines from 20-30 various wine makers in the region. The castle itself is worth touring and there is a restaurant on the premises as well.

    http://www.castellogrinzane.com/ing/i...

    I have found the information/booklets (especially the ones regarding food/wine tourism) available in the local tourist offices in the Piemonte to be very helpful. I know there are tourism offices in both Bra & Alba (at least there used to be!).

    1. Well if you stay few nights in Torino I would recommend a vist to Eataly Torino (where everything started...long before the one in NYC), eating to:
      AS promised here the phone numbers and map to "Porto di Savona", "Michele" and "Kuoki"
      Porto di Savona:Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 2 Torino - 011 817 3500
      Michele:Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 4 Torino (pizza al tegamino..ask for that...)
      Kuoki: VIA FERRARI GAUDENZIO,. (10124) Torino (TO). Tel.011 8397865

      In case anyway you should try too "ristorante tre galli" in the quadrilatero romano.

      Alex

      1. We have done the tour and tasting at the Banca del Vino in Pollenzo and LOVED it. I recommend adding the Slow Food Presidia products to the tasting if that is still an option... you get to try some amazing local artisanal food products. We sampled some great salumi and cheeses that went very well with the wines. I'm sure you will enjoy it.

        1. We try to get to Piemonte whenever we can and have a trip planned for truffle season, using Il Castello di Sinio as the jumping off point for as many as eight meals. As to the Langhe and Roero areas, you are missing two essential restaurants: Antica Corona da Renzo in Cervere and Il Centro in Priocca. You will find lots of comments on each on this board. I would rate both ahead of Guido in Polenzo (although I have always been a great fan of the Alciati family, especially when they ran the original Guido in Costigliole d'Asti.

          Another highly recommended restaurant among readers here is Trattoria Coccinella in Serravalle Langhe. Finally, for a wonderful traditional lunch, consider I Bologna in Rochetta Tanaro.

          -----
          Il Centro
          Via Umberto I,8, Priocca, Piemonte 12040, IT

          8 Replies
          1. re: Peter Rodgers

            @DavidT: Thanks for this suggestion - I have read about it on here and in the guides, will add to our itinerary!

            @TorinoAgent: Thanks for all this! I see you are a Torino specialist! Eataly is definitely on our list. We've frequented the one in NYC, as well as visited the Bologna one.. so making a stop at the original one that started it all has me very excited!

            Aside from Tre Galli, I can't say I'm too familiar with those other restaurants on your list.. but will do research on your recommendations.

            @Villafavolosa: Thank you - this is great feedback! Yes, I saw that option to add on the local food pairings with the tasting - we will be certain to add this option.

            Did you book way ahead, does it fill up fast? Our time in Bra is limited to one night, so I'd prefer not to back track into Bra/Pollenzo after our stay..

            @Peter Rodgers: Wowzas, thanks for all these recommendations! I will have to gmap the bulk of them, as I'm not 100% familiar with where they are all located in relation to where we are staying/driving through.

            RE "2 essential restaurants" - time to add these to our itinerary!

            Thanks to everyone for your input!

            **** One more question: Sunday night dinner in Alba. Most restaurants (of course) are closed on Sun nights.. is there anything anyone could recommend in Alba on Sunday night -- or anywhere within a 10-15 min drive that is good and open on Sun nights? I know, slim pickins..

            Cheers & thanks again!

            I can smell the truffles, chocolates, and wine already..

            db

            1. re: DistendedBelly

              I highly recommend a visit to the town of Cherasco, south of Bra. Osteria della Rosa Rossa there is quite good and there is can candy shop that sells roasted hazelnuts covered with dark chocolate that are delicious. Cherasco is also quite unique in Italy as the street grid is almost entirely straight lines & right angles. Yet the town does have charm.

              http://www.piemonteitalia.eu/gestored...

              1. re: DavidT

                Hi DavidT - Thanks for this!

                I also had some old notes made months ago that I had nearly forgotten about - is it the same that you speak of?

                Barbero - for baci Cherasco
                Via Vittorio Emanuele, 74
                Cherasco, Italy
                Tel/Fax: 0172-488373

                1. re: DistendedBelly

                  Yes, I do think that is the place.

                  Link to blog on Baci Cherasco from Barbero:

                  http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2005/10/...

                2. re: DavidT

                  I like hazelnuts, but am not a big chocolate fan; my husband craves chocolate but hates nuts--we both loved the chocolate-covered hazelnuts in Cherasco.

                  1. re: DistendedBelly

                    Actually, I think the toughest day to find restaurants open for business is Monday.

                    1. re: Peter Rodgers

                      It depends which town.. but yes, usually both Sun/Mons are tough nights.

                      Closed Suns in Alba include:
                      Catiza
                      La Libera
                      Osteria dell Arco
                      Piazza Duomo

                      ((sad face))

                      -----
                      La Libera
                      Via Elvio Pertinace, 24, Alba (CN), Piedmont 12051, IT

                      Piazza Duomo
                      vicolo dell'Arco 1, angolo piazza Risorgimento, Alba, Piedmont 12051, IT

                3. We had amazing meals at Osteria Dell'Arco and Vigin Mudest, both in Alba. I wouldn't call either fine dining-- but the food is top notch. I spent a week in Alba-- just returned a week ago-- and I'm working on a trip report. I'll post more soon.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                    Thanks for the recommendation! However, dell'Arco's site states they are closed Sundays:

                    http://www.osteriadellarco.it/ita-arc...

                    ((double sad face))

                    1. re: DistendedBelly

                      Sorry, didn't know youw ere only looking for Sunday options in Alba. Vigin Mudest is open Sundays... I was there 2 sundays ago (sigh!).

                      http://www.viginmudest.it/

                    2. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                      Peter Rogers: Actually Piemonte is different from most other areas in Italy in that Monday is a day when many restaurants/ trattorie, are open. Not sure why this is so, but it is a fact. For instance, Il Centro in Priocca, Da Renzo in Cervere, and our favorite trattoria around Alba, Osteria Veglio in La Morra, and Ristorante Bovio in La Morra, are all open on Monday. A number of trattorie in Alba are open as well. Villasampaguita can probably fill us in on the Asti area.

                      I've written lengthy, favorable reviews, in the last couple of months on Centro, Da Renzo and Osteria Veglio. With all due respect, disagree with your thought about I Bologna. Don't know when you were last there, but our last meal there was mediocre at best. I would never recommend it.

                      David T: Osteria della Rosa Rossa in Cherasco is good. We find La Torre in the same town to be better in terms of menu, cooking skill, flavor of the ingredients, plating, ambiance, and very much so in the wine list. Also written up here a few months ago. Either one is fine.

                      -----
                      Bovio
                      Via Alba, 17, La Morra (Cuneo), Piedmont 12064, IT

                      La Torre
                      via Garibaldi,13, Cherasco CN, Piedmont 12062, IT

                      Il Centro
                      Via Umberto I,8, Priocca, Piemonte 12040, IT

                      Osteria Veglio
                      Frazione Annunziata,9, La Morra, Piemonte 12064, IT

                      1. re: allende

                        allende,

                        We had lunch at I Bologna in fall of 2009. It was probably our best meal in Piemonte, and we have been planning to return this September, but your comment makes me wonder if it has gone downhill. When did you have your most recent meal there, and how was the food different from before? Can you recommend a similar, but better, place in the vicinit;y? I was planning on lunch on the way from Trento to Alba, so something near Asti would be ideal.

                        1. re: rrems

                          rrems,

                          Our first meal at I Bologna, perhaps a dozen years ago was just fine. We went back last year. Sloppy service. Really pushing too many dishes that we had no interest in; a case of not guiding us to what we might like, but to what they wanted us to eat… that is a no no for us. Formulaic presence in the dining room i.e just going through the motions. Really pushing their own barberas, I mean really pushing them; the rest of the wine list has become very mediocre. Food was okay, certainly nothing to write home about, very disappointing for us after a good first meal. Most importantly trying to be something they are not; the place is a modest trattoria in a great area, which serves local specialties… there was a feeling that they were trying to put that behind them. Piemonte is one of our two favorite areas with regard to eating and certainly our favorite in terms of wine. We're there a lot. As you well know, there are so many really good ristorante/trattorie in the region, that even to accept an average meal seems like a waste. We thought it was going to better than average and unfortunately it wasn't this time.

                          As far as other places in the area. Not far away is Il Cascinalenuovo in Isola d’Asti, one of our favorite places for a very long time. Below is what I’ve written about it. Another place is Il Centro in Priocca which I’ve written extensively about on Chowhound. If you were getting off the Autostrada at Asti Est to go to I Bologna, it’ll be roughly the same distance to Priocca and much shorter to Isola d’Asti. Cascinale is open for lunch on weekends and I think Priocca is open for lunch all the time (we have not been to Priocca for lunch). Hope this helps.

                          Il Cascinalenuovo: The brothers Walter (the chef) and Roberto (in charge of the dining room) Ferretto are extremely warm, genial, and generous hosts. The restaurant seats about sixty, with the tables well spaced, in a comfortable, airy and light dining room. Service is gracious without being fawning. The food is traditional Piemontese cooking at a very high level. 

The pasta is etherial; how Walter does it is amazing, but he does. Classic tajarin with a ragu di fegatelli di piccione. Tortelloni ai funghi porcini. Agnolotti "del plin". Ravioli stuffed with eggplant. These are among some that we've had, one better than the next. Other primi might be gnochetti di patate con ragu di maiale e salsiccia; risotto con zucca gialla e tartufo. Antipasti and zuppe might include millefoglie di lingua di vitello e foie gras or perhaps zuppa di fagioli orzo e lenticche con calamari or insalata con funghi porcini and filletto d'anatra con aceto balsamico. Rabbit, pigeon, game and fish are abundant for the main courses.

The menu changes often and everything is seasonal. The flavors of the dishes are strong and vibrant. In the October and November, as you walk into the dining room, there is the unmistakable aroma of white truffles, which are heavily emphasized in dishes at that time of year. Desserts, unusual for Italian restaurants are equally as exquisite as the other courses.

 And then there is the wine list. As one would expect from being right next to Barbaresco and only a stone's throw further to Barolo, it is heavy on both, with all the major producers represented in all the right years. Roberto, however, has gone further and has also sought out less well known producers who make great wines. All the other Piemontese varieties (e.g Barbera) are represented as well. The list is very reasonably priced, certainly with among the lowest markups of any major restaurant in Piemonte. Roberto knows his wines well and is only too happy to speak with you about the list (both Walter and Roberto speak English). 


                          -----
                          Il Centro
                          Via Umberto I,8, Priocca, Piemonte 12040, IT

                          1. re: allende

                            This will be a Thursday, and I see Cascinalenuovo is not open for lunch. We are already planning on a dinner at Il Centro. The 45 euro menu at I Bologna is about as high as I want to go. We had a great wine there the last time, and it was only 20 euros. IIRC it was a Barbera d'Asti, from a very small local producer. Any other ideas in the same price range?

                            1. re: rrems

                              Il Centro, although moderate in price, is going to be more expensive than 45 euros, if you have three courses and wine. Additionally, because the menu is recited by Enrico, you're not going to know exactly what the price is. Wonderful meal, extremely well prepared food that is very interesting, great ambiance, excellent wine list (where you see the prices), but it sounds as if it will be somewhat above your budget. That's a shame because it really is a special place, at least for dinner (as I said, we haven't been there for lunch).

                              -----
                              Il Centro
                              Via Umberto I,8, Priocca, Piemonte 12040, IT

                              1. re: allende

                                No, I was only referring to lunch. 50 or 60 euros for dinner (for 3 courses not including wine) is fine. I'm very much looking forward to Il Centro. For lunch I am just trying to keep it at or below 45 (again, not including wine, for which I figure 20 to 25). I really appreciate your help.

                                1. re: rrems

                                  You'll be just fine at that price for dinner. As I've note in my posts, it is a wonderful place with interesting dishes (in the sense that there are a number of dishes you don't see much anymore, elsewhere), very robust flavors, Enrico and his son are excellent hosts, the ambiance is very good and there is a feeling of happiness in that dining room.
                                  Have fun.

                            2. re: allende

                              allende,

                              Your comments on I Bologna are disheartening. My last visit, which was perhaps the fifth or sixth time we'd stopped there, was about three years ago, just after they finished their renovations and added rooms. At that point, it did not have the pretensions you describe. The food was good (although basic) and the wine list was superb. They did not push the family barberas, but rather invited us to the cellar to pick out a bottle of barbaresco, recommending an excellent small producer's offering, the price for which was quite reasonable. I would be interested in learning whether others have had the same less than enthralling experience as you have had in recent visits.

                              -----
                              Trattoria I Bologna
                              Via Nicola Sardi 4,, Rocchetta Tanaro (Asti), Piedmont 14030, IT

                              1. re: Peter Rodgers

                                Peter,

                                Perhaps we caught them on a bad day during our second time there. We don't think so, but it can happen. We were very much prepared to like it; if not we wouldn't have gone back a second time.

                                We're in Piemonte probably 20 days a year. There are so many wonderful restaurants/trattorie which, in our opinion, have more than just good food (although basic food, meaning traditional dishes, is what we look for i.e. no Piazza Duomo in Alba for us).

                                Unless someone like you, who has a lot of experience in Piemonte, tells us that it was an off day and we should try it again because it is a really good trattoria, we won't be back to I Bologna. After you go, please report back with an assessment. Thanks.

                      2. I think you should also add All'Enoteca in Canale to the list of restaurants not to miss. We ate there a couple of weeks ago and had an amazing meal. Whilst not as traditional as Da Renzo it was just as fabulous.
                        Jenny

                        -----
                        All'Enoteca
                        via Roma 57, Canale (Cuneo), Piedmont 12043, IT

                        1. Well this is quite a thread which I missed due to an exceptionally busy two weeks on the farm and agriturismo. DB, you have expressed an interest for high end fine dining restaurants as opposed to the many small mom and pop Osterie beloved by us in Piedmont (with the exception of Boccondivino, which one could almost call a high end Osterie :-).

                          Some other restaurants to add to your list:

                          Il Ciau del Tornavento in Treiso, I prefer this to Il Centro in nearby Priocca, if nothing else for the ambience and flair.

                          http://www.laciaudeltornavento.it/

                          La Fioraia in Castello D.Annone close to where I Bologna is.

                          http://www.ristorantelafioraia.it/

                          Dal Belbo da Bardon, on the old road between Nizza M. and Canelli.

                          http://editore.slowfood.it/editore/Ri...

                          Belavista near Castellinaldo.

                          Le Clivie in Piobesi d' Alba

                          Locanda di Borgo Antico near Barolo.

                          http://www.locandanelborgo.com/

                          Trattoria della Posta near Monforte.

                          http://www.trattoriadellaposta.it/

                          Neuv Caval d'Brons - in Torino, Pza San Carlo old, famous, and expensive!

                          Asti, Gener Neuv and Angolo del Beato.

                          http://www.generneuv.it/

                          http://www.angolodelbeato.it/

                          Canelli - Al Enoteca - one of our favourites.

                          http://www.davidepalluda.it/

                          And for you Biella trip, you MUST stop at nearby Orta San Giulio for Villa Crespi.

                          http://www.villacrespi.it/ita/ristora...

                          BTW Allende, I haven't eaten at I Bologna for several years, I was not overly impressed, but it was quite OK in the high end osterie class and I chose to have the most expensive Braida Barbera's (never again, I think I produce a better Barbera, but that's another story), however we send our guest there on a regular basis, and they are happy, the last being a few weeks back.

                          .

                          -----
                          Al Enoteca
                          Via Roma 57, Canale (CN), Piemonte 12043, IT

                          Gener Neuv
                          Lungo Tanaro dei Pescatori 4, Borgo Tanaro (Asti), Piemonte 14100, IT

                          Villa Crespi
                          via Fava, 18, Orta San Giulio Novara, Piemonte 28016, IT

                          Il Centro
                          Via Umberto I,8, Priocca, Piemonte 12040, IT

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Villasampaguita

                            Hello Villasampaguita!

                            We've all been awaiting your response - welcome back!!!

                            (just about to step out for lunch now, so a quickie note of thanks and acknowlegement here)
                            THANK YOU so much for your recommendations!!!

                            Also thank you to all other suggestions from everyone else in this thread - allende, Peter Rodgers, rrems, icecream, atasteoftravel, DavidT, favolosa (I hope I haven't missed anyone!). All this information will be tremendously helpful. I travel to eat, so even if these establishments are not in the towns we have booked to stay in, we may venture out for a destination dinner based on what's been mentioned here.

                            I only mentioned the ones that we have decided on (eg Combal Zero, Piazza Duomo) as we have reservations. Don't worry, we enjoy ALL levels of dining! :) Hole in the wall, in the mercato, mom 'n pop, ristorante, birreria, etc - speaking of which, is the Baladin bar in Piemonte worth a detour? (we've been to the one in Rome, nice brews!)

                            Ok, gotta sign off and will return shortly. ps do you have any suggestions for Sun night in Alba?

                            pps: Still doing extensive research for the dinners we shall be having.. and our route has changed yet again - including Vercelli as a stop over, en route to Asti. Risotto?

                            1. re: Villasampaguita

                              Tim,
                              I noticed from the list above that you must have been to Il Centro in Priocca sometime in the last three months.

                              What were your thoughts about the food, menu, wine list, and ambiance?

                              -----
                              Il Centro
                              Via Umberto I,8, Priocca, Piemonte 12040, IT

                            2. Hello ... DB,
                              I want to point out a BBC serie Britisch television, called 'two greedy Italians".
                              It's verry amusing to watch as a whole but for you there is one episode concernnig Piemonte.
                              They vissit the market in Torino, here is the link to youtube,
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvQr7k...

                              Hope it will please you.
                              I glanced your profile for characteristics but it was quite annoniemus.
                              Hope you will post at least a picture of yourself.and a responce.

                              with kind regards from Holland
                              Cinnamonstick

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Cinnamonstick

                                Hi Cinnamonstick:

                                Thanks for this. I'll be sure to check this episode out this weekend.

                                Cheers,
                                db

                              2. I will also be in Piemonte next month (staying in Alba), and would like some comments from other posters on my restaurant picks. We will have 3 dinners, one of which will definitely be Il Centro in Priocca, For the remaining 2 I want something less expensive, traditional but preferably updated traditional (on our last trip we loved La Libera, which fit that description perfectly). Which would be the top 2 from the following list?:

                                Cascina Schiavenza, Serralunga d'Alba
                                La Rosa Rossa, Cherasco
                                La Torre, Cherasco
                                Boccondivino, Bra
                                Osteria del Vignaiolo, La Morra

                                Also, for lunch on the way from Trento to Alba, I had originally intended to go to I Bologna, which we loved when we were there 2 years ago, but based on allende's recent negative comments I have been looking for an alternative, and found Trattoria Losanna in Masio, which has a bib gourmand in Michelin, and got very positive reports on an Italian website. Has anyone on this board tried it?

                                In addition, we will be visiting Cuneo, and would like a reasonably priced lunch spot in or near it. I haven't found anything on this board, but looking at Michelin and Tripadvisor, I have come up with Osteria della Chiocciola, Torrismondi and L'Osteria di Christian. Any thoughts on these, or other suggestions?

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: rrems

                                  With all due respect, I don't think you should use my negative comments as a basis for not going to I Bologna. You've been there and loved it. Most everyone else on this board has enjoyed it. We didn't on our last visit. So what. Why would you take my opinion over your own (and others)?

                                  With regard to your list, I would definitely pick La Torre. I have not been to Schiavenza, but have been to the other two and have written up my thoughts on them in other posts. Lastly, we much prefer Osteria Veglio to Osteria Vignaiolo. Both are right down the hill from La Morra. I've written on Osteria Veglio as well.

                                  -----
                                  La Torre
                                  via Garibaldi,13, Cherasco CN, Piedmont 12062, IT

                                  Osteria Veglio
                                  Frazione Annunziata,9, La Morra, Piemonte 12064, IT

                                  1. re: allende

                                    Villasampaguita,
                                    Surprised that you still haven't commented on your trip to Priocca sometime in the last three months or so. What did you think of it, good or bad?

                                    1. re: allende

                                      @rrems
                                      Just as an aside. Il Cascinalenuovo in Isola d'Asti is not to be overlooked. As much as we like Priocca, we enjoy Cascinale even more. An overlooked gem. I've written about on this board.

                                      1. re: allende

                                        allende,

                                        I really appreciate your many detailed reports on various threads, which have been a great help to me in putting together an itinerary. I am not absolutely ruling out I Bologna, and if I do it is not completely due to your report. Due to recent changes in financial circumstances, I am trying to cut the restaurant budget somewhat, and to get the most value for money. Il Cascinalenuovo looks wonderful, but I think it is above my price range. The ones on my list above are more in line with what I want to spend. Right now, La Torre and Schiavenza are looking like the frontrunners, but I am still open to other thoughts. I understand La Torre is quite small and popular, as is La Rosa Rossa. How far in advance would you reserve these for a Friday night?

                                        1. re: rrems

                                          Scusi -- I've deleted the contents of my post after I realized they were unrelated to what you were talking about!

                                          1. re: barberinibee

                                            @rrems
                                            Normally we'd make a reservation for a Friday night at a La Torre type restaurant a day or two before. In September, because of more tourists in the area(although La Torre doesn't generally attract tourists at night), I'd make a reservation a week (maybe ten days) ahead of time just to be on the safe side.

                                            -----
                                            La Torre
                                            via Garibaldi,13, Cherasco CN, Piedmont 12062, IT

                                    2. re: allende

                                      Just a quick update here, allende. We are currently in Alba, and I will post a full report in a few days. La Torre was very enjoyable, and very well priced. The welcome was warm and service excellent. Schiavenza was absolutely wonderful, a real find. You must try it. As you may know it is also a winery, and as I know you are a wine afficionado I think you will be very impressed with the wines. If Il Centro turns out to be as good I will be very happy.

                                  2. just back from long weekend in Piemonte....I wanted to love Il Centro, our greeting was very gracious, and Enrico the host/owner gave us a beautiful coffee table style book about his restaurant upomn our departure. Sadly the food fell flat, not bad but somewhat uninspiring considering the atmospheric location and ambience....I will give it another chance and hope to be proven wrong. However lunch at Il Cascinalenuova (http://www.ilcascinalenuovo.com/) was spectacular, 6 or 7 courses , 80 euro, every dish inventive and bursting with flavor. The entrance is right off ss231 which is a small highway and NOT atmospheric, nor is the entrance to a 1970's style hotel...however we sat outside in a covered patio and had an amazing time. The other treat was dinner at Ristorante Bovio (http://www.ristorantebovio.it/ing/dov...) , insane views from the terrace in La Morra, one of the prime Barolo sites, of which Bovio is a producer....again fabulous food, excellent service, very highly recommended.

                                    -----
                                    Bovio
                                    Via Alba, 17, La Morra (Cuneo), Piedmont 12064, IT

                                    Il Centro
                                    Via Umberto I,8, Priocca, Piemonte 12040, IT

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: jcrowne

                                      After trying for years, on this site and another, to get someone to go to Cascinlenuovo and report back, am pleased you went and had a "spectacular" meal.

                                      Sorry to hear about your meal at Priocca. After Da Renzo in Cervere and Cascinalenuovo, it is our favorite restaurant in Piemonte. I'm curious what you meant by "uninspiring considering the atmospheric location and ambiance."

                                      Also, in the 25 plus times at Cascinale, my wife and I have never thought of any of the dishes as "inventive." What did you have?

                                      1. re: allende

                                        re inventive food - raw mackerel over a layer of goat cheese, julienne of green apple, and olive ; millefoglie of foie gras layered with tongue ; roast filet mignon with a hot chili rub and mild honey drizzle....that to me is pretty creative for an Italian resto in the middle of Piemonte...re Centro , the ambiance, service, etc were delightful, but the actual taste of the food didnt match my expectations...i very much wanted to love it but it just didnt measure up t

                                    2. This is a great thread, and was very helpful to me in planning my trip. I have created a separate post of my recent dining experiences:

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810190

                                      1. Been to Piedmont each year in the past 3 years and have loved it. Am now in Piedmont but on the northern parts and already missing Alba after reading all your posts. My 2 cents on those we have tried in Alba regions:
                                        - so far Guido remains our favorite, simple yet sophisticated
                                        - La Ciau has great views and great food
                                        - Antine in Barberesco has a very reasonably priced wine list (for Barberescos especially)
                                        - Locanda del Pilone can be quite innovative but is a bit hit and miss
                                        - Borgo Antico's food was very traditional I felt, and was good without being spectacular
                                        - Piazza Duomo is bizarre (but not in a bad way), worth a try if sick of the usual tajarin and plin in all the other restaurants

                                        -----
                                        Borgo Antico
                                        Piazza di Santo Spirito, 6r, Florence, Tuscany 60125, IT

                                        Locanda del Pilone
                                        frazione Madonna di Como 34, Alba (Cuneo), Piedmont 12051, IT

                                        Piazza Duomo
                                        vicolo dell'Arco 1, angolo piazza Risorgimento, Alba, Piedmont 12051, IT

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Smilinglion

                                          Sorry, my earlier comment about Locanda del Pilone was in respect of its previous chef in 2009 who I understand has now left and the restaurant has been taken over by Antonino Cannavacciuolo of Villa Crespi fame (and he has installed a head chef there from his kitchen at Villa Crespi). I have not eaten at Pilone since the change and hence cannot comment. Has anyone tried it recently?

                                          -----
                                          Locanda del Pilone
                                          frazione Madonna di Como 34, Alba (Cuneo), Piedmont 12051, IT

                                          Villa Crespi
                                          via Fava, 18, Orta San Giulio Novara, Piemonte 28016, IT

                                        2. Just returned from dinner at Il Sole di Ranco which is along Lake Maggiore. Got there too late and missed daylight, but seemed a great location to view the lake and lunch outdoors would have been some experience. Was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. We had ala carte and the standout dishes were the Salmon main course and the desserts. Wine list was quite limited in Barolos which was surprising but managed to find a few gems nonetheless.

                                          Service was excellent and mother of the chef (I think) was a charming hostess.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Smilinglion

                                            Sole di Ranco is not in Piemonte but Lombardia, so it shouldn't be surprising re the limited baroli.

                                            Yes, Itala is the mother of Davide, the chef, and one of the most charming hostesses in the business, as she's been for the thirty years we've known her.

                                            1. re: allende

                                              Would you have any experience how the rooms there are? The views must be quite nice I can imagine. In hightsight it would have been a good idea to stay there for the night given that it's quite a long drive in.

                                              1. re: Smilinglion

                                                The rooms in the "new" wing (closest to the lake) are simply fantastic. Beautifully appointed, quiet, spectacular views. A great place to stay.

                                          2. Here are some of the spots we hit up in Piemonte this autumn (other half of trip should be in a separate post). I'm jetlagged and sitting at desk @ work now, so this may not be the most detailed.. but thought I'd post this anyhow, as the trip is still fresh in my head:

                                            Vercelli
                                            * Oryza (in Desana, 10-15 mins from Vercelli)
                                            Perfectly done risotto lunch. The panissa was heavenly, and their take on a bagna cauda risotto was interesting. The rice accented desserts were tiny and disappointing though, so I would skip these if you are going.

                                            Took a tour of Tenuta Castello, which was quite short and relatively expensive but the tour guide was quite insightful. http://www.tenutacastello.com

                                            * Vecchia Brenta
                                            Had another risotto dinner - had perfect funghi risotto, and a fine bagna cauda. I would recommend both restaurants (Oryza and Vecchia Brenta) to anyone visiting Vercelli.

                                            Asti & Canelli
                                            * L'angolo del Beato - unfortunately didn't enjoy this meal (should have went to Gener Neuv). Tajarin was on verge of being mushy (I understand that tajarin is not done al dente, but still, mushy pasta that falls apart when you pick it up.. ), desserts were all disappointing (zabaione moscato was terrible), staff was a bit cold. http://www.angolodelbeato.it/

                                            * D. Barbero - you can get their stuff almost everywhere, but we dropped into the store anyhow. Really nice torrone morbido, as well as chocolate covered torrone http://www.barberodavide.it/

                                            * San Marco - one of the highlights of the trip. Traditional dishes done with modern touch. Carne cruda, agnolotti, the most amazing panacotta - all executed perfectly. http://www.sanmarcoristorante.it/

                                            * Visited the Contratto cellars, which was amazing.. but our favourite winery of the area? Hands down Forteto della Luja in Loazzolo. In a breathtaking location, magnificent small production winery.. and also certified WWF oasis. WOW. www.fortetodellaluja.it/

                                            Torino
                                            * Tre Galline - enjoyed classic dishes like vitello tonnato, tajarin and agnolotti again. Interesting how you needed to be buzzed into the restaurant..

                                            * Del Cambio - a very expensive meal.. but an experience (I can see how it rates 4 red cutlery in Michelin). I'd liken it to dining at the original Harry's Bar in Venice. Steeped in history, food is fine, albeit very pricey for the entire experience

                                            * Consorzio - one of our favourites on this stretch of our trip. Really nicely done gnocchi vongole, perfect desserts - we ordered the 'bombe' - basically molten custard wrapped in pastry, and a tris of panacotta that was heavenly - doused in 3 different types of sauces, one of them being chinato. Most excellent value at this restaurant. Would definitely recommend and return.

                                            * Caffe Platti - excellent aperitivo here - really fresh little bites. Great coffee (3 bean rating). Staff very warm and helpful. http://platti.it/

                                            * Stratta - really nice marron glaces (tried at several other places, didn't compare), gianduiotti (didn't taste stale like at Paissa), and extremely friendly staff. www.stratta1836.it/

                                            * Marchetti - My favourite gelato scoops of this trip. Incredible creamy fior di latte, perfect fruit flavours.. already drooling at the thought! http://www.albertomarchetti.it/

                                            * Al Bicerin - needs no introduction! Enjoyed the Bicerin so much that we each had one and then shared the 3rd. Dangerously delicious. www.bicerin.it

                                            * At this point, we wanted something other than the usual stuff, so we had a light pre meal @ Kuoki. Nothing to write home about, and very pricey. Ordered the Kuoki roll that had strong ricotta in it that overpowered everything.. it also came with a basil/olive oil dip that was unnecessary. Tempura was rubbery.

                                            Rivoli
                                            * Combal.Zero - the most playful meal of this trip. We just had to order the cyber egg on top of the tasting menu. It was fun, but we felt it was immensely overpriced for what you got, and too many misses in the meal vs hits (the smoked fassone was unreal though, and made up for the other misses). Top points for presentation and service.

                                            Pollenzo & Bra
                                            * Guido - our favourite meal of the trip. We tried the 2 different tasting menus. The white truffle was incredibly fresh. Included classics like agnolotti (their version was in brodo) and an amazing torrone with chocolate bits on the bottom. Perfect in every way - room was beautiful, food was beautifully presented, everything tasted wonderful. This is truly a destination dining spot. www.guidoristorante.it/

                                            * Wine Bank in Pollenzo - tried 3 wines, walked through the cellars, learned more about the wine and the area, did a self guided tour around the ancient town of Pollenzo (Pollentia? sounds delicious to me). An extremely pleasant afternoon in Pollenzo.

                                            * Boccondivino - For some reason (prob because of the praise it regularly receives, the association with Slow Food, the tre gamberi rating, etc), we expected more from this meal. Ordered eggs in cocotte with white truffle (nice), salsiccia di Bra (with lardo and carne cruda) was very nice, tajarin with truffle (ok), and desserts: panacotta (nice), poached pear with cinnamon gelato (not that great, and the gelato had massive ice crystals in it). www.boccondivinoslow.it

                                            Alba
                                            -- Piazza Duomo - had resos here, but very sadly had to cancel, as Mr.db caught a cold towards the end of our trip.

                                            * Dulcis Vitis - Enjoyed the chicken in barolo, but all in all average meal, nothing out of the ordinary.

                                            * At the Fiera: Enjoyed fried eggs with truffles, accompanied by glasses of Barolo. Side note: As noted by previous resident posters, the town is extremely touristy and crowded during the time of the Fiera (there was also the Baccanale during our time there). After this experience, we would not choose to stay in Alba when visiting the region (esp during this time) again (also noted by other posters, many other towns with their own truffle fests). The town is lovely at the crack of dawn though - we walked through before the throngs arrived, and it certainly has its charm.

                                            * Locanda Antico Borgo Antico outside Barolo - after wild ride with the GPS (we'd later discover that we were on the correct road, but the valley cuts thru), we found this place. Nicely done meal, but aside from gracious host + service, nothing exceptional. http://www.locandanelborgo.com/

                                            ---

                                            Ah, delicious delicious Piemonte!

                                            (I'll add more as I become more coherent / unjetlagged!

                                            )

                                            -----
                                            Piazza Duomo
                                            vicolo dell'Arco 1, angolo piazza Risorgimento, Alba, Piedmont 12051, IT

                                            Dulcis Vitis
                                            Via Ratazzi,7a, Alba, Piedmont 12051, IT

                                            Consorzio
                                            Via Monte di Pietà, 23, Turin, Piedmont , IT

                                            Vecchia Brenta
                                            Via Morosone,6, Vercelli, Piedmont 13100, IT

                                            Tre Galline
                                            Via Gian Francesco Bellezia, 37, Torino, Piemonte 10122, IT

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: DistendedBelly

                                              You did not miss anything by not having gone to Gener Neuv. A very mediocre restaurant both in terms of food and service. Living off its long ago reputation.

                                              -----
                                              Gener Neuv
                                              Lungo Tanaro dei Pescatori 4, Borgo Tanaro (Asti), Piemonte 14100, IT

                                              1. re: allende

                                                concur with allende, although ambience is nice and wine list is good, but it lives on reputation, listings in travel guide books not updated over the years and corporate diners!

                                              2. re: DistendedBelly

                                                DistendedBelly, thanks for such a large report. I'll be travelling through Piemonte with my wife one long weekend in November, so I'll save this info.
                                                One thing though....Are you in the food/wine biz or just an advanced amateur like me? Why should we trust your palate aside from some assumed reasons.
                                                Thank you again very much.

                                                1. re: DistendedBelly

                                                  I'm dizzy from this report (db), no wonder the author's nom di plume :-)

                                                  1. re: DistendedBelly

                                                    " L'angolo del Beato - unfortunately didn't enjoy this meal (should have went to Gener Neuv). Tajarin was on verge of being mushy (I understand that tajarin is not done al dente, but still, mushy pasta that falls apart when you pick it up.. )"

                                                    I sympathize, last time we ate at Trattorie della Posta the tajarin was soggy and it completely put me off the restaurant. We ate ate at Angolo Beato when they first moved to the new location and thought it was great, but then we do know the owners - and have sent many guests there with nary a complaint, but sometimes you can hit a bad night at any restaurant.

                                                    1. re: Villasampaguita

                                                      @Villasampaguita: Sorry, didn't mean to make you dizzy! We only get 3 weeks vacation, so we enjoy the fast paced/full itinerary!

                                                      There are a few other things I didn't add, like all the mini eats/pausa golosa, sweets stops, etc. I'll add here that to change it up a bit, we tried MBUN in Torino. The patty had nice meat, but wasn't seasoned at all, which made for a very bland burger (should have picked it apart and ate it carne cruda style!). Fried potatoes (not really "fries") were limp and cold as well.

                                                      I liked their concept (slow food, all ingredients sourced from region) and mission statement though. The experience is forgiveable, because we didn't travel to Italy to have burgers.. it was more for a change in food type, and out of curiosity ;)

                                                      As for L'angolo del Beato, even if the food was an off night for us, we loved the exposed beams, decor, and ambiance of the room. Asti is also a very charming town, so we enjoyed the pleasant walk back to our b&b afterwards.

                                                      Ah, Piemonte <3

                                                  2. n.1 Everyone, must try Locanda del Pilone - Strada della Cicchetta - ALBA.!! New Chef Masayuki Kondo (executive Chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo), Great Staff..Kind people.. My best meal in PIedmont..!

                                                    n.2 Restaurant Savino Mongelli at S,.Vittoria Castle..

                                                    1 Reply