Eat & Drink

Nowhere in Italy can offer as much as Piemonte when it comes to what’s on your plate and in your glass.  The wines are the most interesting in the land and the cuisine, courtesy of the Savoyard Empire, is a sublime blend of French and Italian.  The wines are easily accessible, the food wonderfully seasonal and crowned with the glorious White Truffle.

Whatever you are looking for – from fine dining to a quick coffee stop – I have listed options below.  I have listed them by area or town/village so that you can find something close to where you are staying.  If you try one that’s not on the list and feel it should be, let me know!  If you try one that is on the list and think it shouldn’t be, let me know…!  And if you don’t have enough options here, stay home…!

Alba:

Fine Dining

Piazza Duomo Piemonte’s only 3 Michelin-Star restaurant.  A la carte is available as well as tasting menus.  An amazing experience.

La Libera – A stylish Alba institution which serves traditional Piemontese cooking at its best.

Osteria dell’Arco – Excellent Slow Food restaurant tucked away off Piazza Michele Ferrero.

LaRossa – Alba’s other Michelin-starred restaurant, in an intimate underground space just off Piazza Michele Ferrero.

Enoclub – Another underground restaurant with great ambience, food and wine.

More Casual options

Ape – Winery-owned wine bar and restaurant right outside the duomo.  Sit outside if you can – and try the burgers…

Pizzeria La Ducchessa – Straightforward pizza house in a quiet square with outside seating and a nice wine bar opposite.

Caffè Umberto – The relaxed upstairs partner to Enoclub, with piazza seating and one of the few dining bars in Alba.

Vincafè – Great location on the main shopping street in the old town.  A café in the morning, wine bar and restaurant from lunchtime, and restaurant and B&B in the evenings and into the night.  Sample one of the many wines available by the glass as you watch the world go by.

Voglia di Vino – Great cosy wine bar and restaurant tucked away on the next street to Via Vittorio Emanuele. Excellent selection of wines by the glass, and they now have rooms and a separate wine shop a few doors up the street.

Osteria dei Sognatori – An Alba institution, I have mixed feelings about including this – whilst I think everyone should know about it, I don’t want everyone to know about it…

Fra Diavolo – Pizza restaurant with lovely pizza and a nice outside seating in the summer in a quiet square.  They also taught our 3 year-old son how to make pizza…

Cincilla – An Alba institution, this has been run by the same Neapolitan couple for more than 40 years, and it looks exactly as it did when it opened.  Right by the cinema in the old town, it a class classic pizza restaurant.

Prosciutteria Albese – Great little local hang-out, offering a small but perfectly-formed range of panini and focaccia sandwiches, cured meats, cheeses and so on.  Served with a smile and local wines or beers.

Cafés:

Il Mondo del Caffè – On Piazza Michele Ferrero, with plenty of outside seating, great pastries, coffee and friendly staff.

Caffè Teatro – Tucked down a street (and conveniently opposite Attaccati al Fusto if you fancy moving onto beer…) off the main pedestrian thoroughfare of Via Vittorio Emanuele, this is small, with possibly the strongest coffee in Alba.

Bars:

Risiè – Wine bar with super-friendly staff, a great location in the afternoon sun in Piazza Michele Ferrero, great wines and a small menu of delicious food.

Bistrot dei Sognatori – A more relaxed, ‘urban’ and ‘grunge’-style bar.  Unfussy, friendly, fun with a few great-value dishes to chose from if you’re feeling peckish. 

Boia Fauss Pensavo Peggio – ‘Seattle-style’ micro-brewery and bar with funky decor, great beers, and a huge spread of aperitivo food on offer.

La Birroteca Attaccati al Fusto – Pub and beer shop – they do have wine, but beer is the thing here: dozens to choose from, from all over the world.

Something different:

I know you didn’t come to Alba for Japanese food, but sometimes we locals like a change, and these two hit the spot:

Hasu – Japanese restaurant with beautiful decor set underground in a courtyard off Via Cavour with terrific set lunches.

Ryogin – Amazing fixed-priced Japanese lunch menu during the week.

Barbaresco:

Antinè – Intimate restaurant with an upstairs terrace on the main street of Barbaresco village.

Rabayà – Restaurant with 5 rooms and an outdoor terrace overlooking the vineyards and village of Barbaresco.  Traditional Piemontese cooking.

Aromatario – About the only bar with a vineyard view in Neive, this is also a great place for lunch or dinner, and it has rooms, too.

Al Nido della Cinciallegra – Friendly, cosy bar and enoteca in the historic centre selling all manner of local delicacies.  Bottle prices are great, outside seating inviting and Luca and Michela (& Graziella) are super hosts.

Birrificio Citabiunda – Buzzy microbrewery in the old school in Bricco di Neive, with an interesting selection of beers and pub food.

Carlin Carlota – Enjoy the stunning view of Barbaresco from the terrace drinking the family’s wine from the Neive vineyards below.  Limited choice but excellent home cooked Piemontese dishes.

Degusto – Yet another super friendly restaurant and wine bar in Neive serving quality food and local wine (plus a great selection of Champagne and other French whites).  Spectacular terrace for when the weather is good.

Il Camino – A well-known Neive eatery, serving great pizza, fish specialities and home made desserts. Good local wine list and house wine.

I due regni – Friendly bar which is open all day, with excellent lunch menu and restaurant/pizzeria in the evening. Dario regularly shares Sardinian specialities with the good folk of Neive.

Fiore di Pesco – The charming Cinzia Bordino provides no menu or choice, just simple home-made fare in eye-watering quantities washed down by her own wine.  Located in Bricco di Neive.

La Torre del Monastero – Fantastic local restaurant/wine bar run by Eugenio & Caterina, where you will doubtless see wine producers from the village of Neive.  Excellent local cooking, great selection of local wine.  Try the tagliata or costata.

Porta San Rocco – Small wine bar/tasting room at the very gates of medieval Neive run by wine producer Massimo Rivetti.  Great place to sit and sample.

Ristorante Donna Selvatica – A classy addition to Neive dining.  Outside terrace with superb views over the vineyards towards Barbaresco.

Osteria Italia – Excellent local fare in the smallest Barbaresco commune of San Rocco Seno d’Elvio. Try the fried porcini and the lamb cutlets and share your pasta.

La Ciau del Tornavento – One of my favourite local restaurants, it has everything you expect of a Michelin starred restaurant: beautiful view from the terrace in Treiso, super food, unobtrusive service and at a decent price.  Its fabulous wine cellar is now reputedly the most extensive in Italy, at over 60,000 bottles.  And they have a few beautiful rooms as well, in case sampling the cellar’s delights got out of hand…

Trattoria Risorgimento – The yin to La Ciau del Tornavento’s yang, this is a quintessential family-run Italian Trattoria in Trieso serving Piemontese fare and local wine.

taStè – Sympathetically restored old school in Tre Stelle – a hamlet in Barbaresco – that has great dining areas, outside seating, some of the best views around and great food, wine and service.

Casa Nicolini – Great restaurant in the hotel of the same name on the same hill as taStè.  Lovely food, views, people and they have a pool to doze by if the post-lunch grappa gets too much…

Barolo:

La Cantinetta – Unpretentious place for lunch or dinner, righting the centre of Barolo village.  The food is all great, but you must try the egg yolk pasta.

La vite turchese – The best bar in Barolo with extensive selection of local wines and ones from other areas and countries.  A bewildering array available for tasting, with some of the most knowledgeable staff around.

Ristorante Brezza – Homely, straightforward Piemontese restaurant with outside terrace (and focaccia to die for…) offering a fantastic view across the town to the castle of Barolo.

Rosso Barolo – Excellent food and wine in the centre of Barolo village.

La Terrazza – Lunch in typical Langhe style with a selection of antipasti that they just keep bringing until you say ‘basta’.  The terrace of the title has wonderful views from Castiglione Falletto towards Serralunga d’Alba.

Locanda del Centro – Right across from La Terrazza, this is another winner for lunch or dinner in Castiglione Falletto.  Small outside space, nicely done interior and great food.

Ristorante Le Torri – If you can, sit on the terrace overlooking the Barolo vineyards.  Unfussy, quality food and drink.

Ristorante L’Argaj – Contemporary interior, outside terrace with great views on the edge of Castiglione Falletto.  Super fixed menus, especially the Chef’s choice.

Da Francesco – Elegant Michelin-starred restaurant in Cherasco (an overlooked and rather grand village) with affordable fixed-price menus.

Marc Lanteri al Castello – Another elegant restaurant with a Michelin Star.  The restaurant is housed within the castle of Grinzane Cavour – once the property of Italy’s first Prime Minister.  The castle also houses the regional Enoteca and a Museum of the Langhe, as well as a bistro if all the Michelin-starred food is getting too much.

L’Osteria del Vignaiolo – Cosy little restaurant in Santa Maria, a hamlet in La Morra, with excellent Piemontese cooking and outside dining.

La Salita – A bit of a hidden gem in Monforte d’Alba, La Salita serves Piemontese cuisine in unusual, arty surroundings.  Good wine list.

Le Case della Saracca – Contemporary meets medieval in the oldest part of Monforte d’Alba.  Extraordinary setting for dinner at the restaurant or just a glass at the bar, which is usually festooned with nibbles. Exceptional wine list and imaginative food.  They have rooms, too.

Osteria dei Càtari – Piemontese favourites served stylishly; tucked away off the narrow streets of the old town in Monforte d’Alba.

Vinoteca Centro Storico – Small, intimate place in the shadow of the castle in Serralunga d’Alba.  Everything here is just right: great local wine selection, plenty of wines from around the world; and Alessio love his bubbles, so expect plenty of Champagnes on the list; simple, quality, local dishes cooked wonderfully by Silvana and Stefania, a buzzing atmosphere, local producers and a great playlist.  But don’t ask for just coffee…

Osteria Tre Case – A nice addition to the dining options in Serralunga d’Alba village, with good food, a nice atmosphere and a private terrace.

Osteria Veglio – Lovely old building in the hamlet of Annunziata, La Morra, with a great terrace.  Food, wine and service are all above reproach.

Locanda Fontanazza – Just off the main road leaving La Morra as you head to Vergne, this is a real star: great food and wine list, wonderful hosts, views to rival any in the Langhe (and that’s up against some stiff competition), rooms and a pool.

More e Macine – Busy, bustling place with a nice, vibrant feel in the centre of La Morra.  Another place frequented by producers, the food is excellent, the wine list likewise, and you’ll find plenty of top French wines, too, if you’ve had enough of Piemontese wines for now (yeah, like that ever happens…).  Outside seating, too.

L’Angolo di Rosina – This is a bit of a find in Novello: a B&B with an excellent restaurant, great hosts, quiet location and they also do cooking classes.

Trattoria dai Bercau – A must-try trattoria in Verduno, ideal for eating out in the summer with a children’s playground attached.  Unfeasible quantities of terrific food and plenty of wines from Verduno producers – often under-rated but excellent.

La Cantina – Really nice, airy local bar in Rivalta, Verduno, run by a lovely couple with help from the family.  Outside seating is possible almost year-round thanks to the porticos, and the food is delicious.

Castello di Sino – As though restoring a derelict castle dating from 1142 and running it as a luxury hotel is not enough, Denise Pardini is also head chef in the restaurant that forms an integral part of her hotel: I am beginning to suspect that there are in fact several clones of Denise, so hard does she work.  The restaurant is wonderfully evocative, set in the old castle, with a terrific menu and wine list.  Food, wine and service are second to none.  And that’s without considering the hotel, which is definitely worth staying at…  

Roero:

Osteria del Boccondivino – “Slow Food” at its best in this affiliated restaurant in Bra, birthplace of, and home to, Slow Food.  Simple menu, delightful surroundings with wisteria covered balconies on 3 sides and an extensive, very well priced wine list.

Leon d’Oro Secolare – Charming Piemontese family-run restaurant in Canale, with mamma still overseeing the service.  Excellent pasta and local specialities.

All’Enoteca – A Michelin-starred institution in Canale.  As you would expect, terrific food and wines.

Osteria Dell’Enoteca – In the same building as All’Enoteca, this is the more casual, ‘diffusion’ restaurant.  Great food and a nice outdoor area, too.  Depending upon your budget, make sure you don’t confuse the two…

Pizzeria Le Fate – Great family restaurant in Canove di Govone serving super pizza; large and thin with some different toppings – e.g. Mexican.  They also offer a full restaurant menu.

Le vigne e i falò – Excellent quality, friendly family restaurant with their own wine from the Massucco winery, also in the village of Castagnito.  Imaginative fixed price menus and great views over the vineyards of the Roero.

Ostu di Djun – Quirky, fun place in Castagnito with great food and atmosphere, and wine in Magnus only…Luciano is the perfect host.

Garibaldi – Take a trip to Cisterna d’Asti, a lovely village just north of Canale, with amazing views from the castle, and step back in time at this wonderful restaurant.  Terrific atmosphere, service and traditional Piemontese cuisine.  Try the local wines: Cisterna d’Asti red is highly unusual in these parts as it is minimum 80% Croatina.

Io e Luna – Exceptional cuisine in a relaxed setting just outside Guarene with al fresco dining overlooking the Roero hills.

Stefano Paganini- Alla Corte Degli Alfieri – A gem in the beautiful surroundings of the castle in Magliano Alfieri.  Stefano is a young, passionate, talented chef, ably assisted by his charming wife in front of house.  Great views across the river Tanaro to Barbaresco and the Langhe beyond.

Il Centro – Lovely, old fashioned hospitality and cuisine at this Michelin-starred stalwart in Priocca.  Class food and wine.  Now with a classy B&B a few does up the street, in the shadow of the mighty church.

Monferrato:

I Caffi – Worth visiting the lovely Roman spa town of Acqui Terme for this family-run, stylish Michelin-starred restaurant.  It also has a Brasserie in the evening.

Belbo da Bardon – Quite simply one of the best restaurants in Piemonte.  Super-traditional, old-fashioned service, a vast wine list, outdoor seating, and if they have the panna cotta on the menu, go without an earlier dish to have it: it’s the best single mouthful of food I have ever eaten.  Off the beaten track in San Marzano Oliveto, and all the better for it.

Crota ‘d Calos – Good value Piemontese fare in the heart of Calosso. Try the tasting menu and leave the wine choice to Sebastiano.  Great views and covered outside dining.

Ristorante San Marco – Now in their 60th year, this is a venerable Canelli institution and they certainly know how to do it.  Outstanding service and Piemontese cuisine.

Osteria l’Oca Giuliva – Small, typical menu but the steaks…Tagliata, Costata, Fiorentina!  Limited wine choice but tiny mark-up from cantina prices at this place just off the main street in Castagnole delle Lanze.

Wine Story – Charming vineria/enoteca/ristorante in the centre of Castagnole delle Lanze old village.

Osteria delle Aie – Wonderful venue in Castellinaldo for a long, relaxing Sunday lunch – but it’s not just great for that!  Excellent wines served in magnums only…

Ca ‘d Linet – 8 or 9 course traditional Piemontese experience. In the heart of Coazzolo, it has an outside terrace with great views.  They also have nice rooms and a couple of apartments.

Costa dei Tigli – Typical agriturismo in Costigliole d’Asti serving excellent lunches.

La Barbera – Choice of elegant or rustic settings in the castle of Costigliole d’Asti, which houses a Regional Enoteca and an international cooking school.

Ristorante Collavini – Like an English country pub, using fresh local ingredients for top Piemontese cooking.  They have some simple rooms, too.

Ristorante Millenium – Corso Lange 22, Costigliole d’Asti (+39 0141 969359) . Half decent Chinese food if you’re craving something different.  Tsingtao beer!

Trattoria I Bologna – Long-established, high-class restaurant in Rocchetta Tanaro.  Affiliated with the nearby ‘Briada’ di Giacomo Bologna winery (they are cousins), they have a fabulous wine list of other producers as well as their own wines.  Also some rooms.

Il Cascinale Nuovo – One of the best restaurants around, this has been going in Isola d’Asti sine 1968.  Deservedly Michelin-starred and now a firm favourite.  It also has rooms.

Other places: 

Langhe:

Az.Ag. Brusalino – Piemontese cuisine and house wines at this agriturismo in Mango.  They also have a self-contained apartment with great views over the Barbaresco zone.

Locanda San Giorgio – Spectacular setting in Neviglie for this small, beautifully realised hotel with pool. It also has a good restaurant serving Piemontese classics with a twist.

Lo Sprin – Excellent traditional Piemontese fare in this super-friendly family agriturismo located in Neviglie.  They make their own good local wines, as well.

Osteria della Posta – Good straightforward Piemontese cooking in San Donato di Mango.  Large garden with stupendous views for summer al fresco dining.

Ristorante Stazione – Unexpected pleasure in an out of the way location.  Interesting decor with hearty pasta and local cuisine.  A Santo Stefano Belbo stalwart.

Villa d’Amelia – Relais in Benevello, with two restaurants to choose from – a more informal one, DaMà, and the Michelin-star one, Damiano Nigro.  Lovely place to stay, too.

Relais San Maurizio – Beautiful relais in Santo Stefano Belbo, with two restaurants – a more informal one, Origini Bistrot, and the Michelin-star one, Guido da Costigliole.  Based in a monastery dating back to 1619, it is also a special place to stay a few nights.

Très – Charming local cuisine with a twist and an interesting wine list in the little-visited village of Trezzo Tinella.

Poirino:

Trattoria del circolo di Favari – A real local haunt in Poirino, this no-nonsense place serves local specialities such as sensational eel in carpione, tench and fried frog.

Cervere:

Antica Corona Reale – Piemonte’s only 2 Michelin-star restaurant is in the leek capital of the region – Cervere.  As you would expect, top notch food, service and wine list.

Torino:

Curry Zone – Top authentic Indian and Pakistani curry house in the centre of the city.

San Quintino 6 Wine Bar – Just the place for an aperitivo and fantastic nibbles in the centre of town.

Shizen – Excellent Japanese restaurant for another fix.  Just across the Po from the centre.  Also runs cooking classes every month.

Casa Vicina, Eatlay – 1 Michelin-star.

Del Cambio – 1 Michelin-star.  This restaurant was 104 years old when Italy was born…Across the piazza from the Savoy parliament, which went on to become Italy’s first parliament, this is a must if you are in Turin.  They also have a wonderful lounge bar.

Ristorante Consorzio – The home of ‘innovative tradition’ in Turin, this restaurant celebrates Turin’s place as a cultural and culinary crossroads: traditional ingredients and dishes from different regions meet to great effect.  The wine list reflects a similar approach.

Tre Galline – Like Del Cambio, this place has been around since at least the 18th century – some novels of that era mention it.  ‘Neoclassical Torinese’ cuisine, with particular attention paid to the quality of the ingredients.

Magorabin – The name plays on childhood stories of a kind of bogeyman – Magorabin – who would appear to force children to finish their meals in case of recalcitrance.  No danger of not wishing to finish your meal at this 1 Michelin-star restaurant.  They also have a great cocktail bar.

La Porta Rossa – A rarity in Piemonte: a restaurant that specialises in fish dishes.  Not only that, though, but it’s a very good one.  The wine list is worth checking out, too.

Vintage 1997 – Another 1 Michelin-star restaurant, with exceptional ice cream.  Terrific food, as you would expect, and a very extensive wine list with some older gems.

Combal.Zero – Set in a wing of Rivoli castle, on the outskirts of Turin, Combal.Zero is an innovative restaurant, to say the least: they are the creators of the Cyber Egg.  Michelin-starred and regularly rated in the world’s top 100 restaurants by the San Pellegrino guide.

Gavi:

Ristorante “La Canonica” – Vico Bassani 22, 15066, Gavi (+39 0143 643261).  Simple, great value and located in a spacious cellar in the centre of Gavi.

Il Girasole – Charming local restaurant and hotel serving typical local food from a fixed price menu.  Extensive local wine list. How things used to be, in the best possible way…