Alba / La Piola: piedmontese osteria with 'starred' supervision
After two bottles of wine (and uncertain walking), we decided to move our steps to the next door restaurant La Piola. The name in piedmontese means Osteria, a place where to drink wine and eat simple and traditional food in a familiar environment.
The menu certainly reflects the intention of the name but the design seems to force a bit the concept: the light green window doors, bright lights and wide blackboard with the menu would propose a more elegant and modern look compared to a regular piola but the simple squared wooden tables and black chairs – not particularly pretty - pretend to give a humble touch that is actually not really blending well with the place. Just an aesthetical opinion.
The Restaurant is a project started by the Ceretto family, winemaker, and Enrico Crippa, three Michelin star chef of the neighbor restaurant Piazza Duomo, number 15 of the World’s 50 best restaurants 2017 and best chef of the world – awarded with the Grand Prix de l'Art de la Cuisine – by the Academie Internationale de la Gastronomie.
The kitchen is run by Dennis Panzeri, invited in 2008 by Crippa to take care of the restaurant and provide a traditional and authentic piedmontese experience.
Undoubtedly, La Piola offers the comfort and pleasure of the tradition combined with the use of high quality ingredients and excellent execution:
Ingredients: the fassona meat tartare was extremely rich and full in flavors and would have been even without the precious addition of white truffle with its undisputable intense taste
Execution: the agnolotti del plin, a Piedmontese type of ravioli filled with roasted meat and closed with a pinch, were superb in shape, meaty taste and perfect glazing of roast drippings
Tradition: the fassona tagliata, perfectly cooked, was served with a traditional combination of cardo gobbo (a local variety of cardoon) and a cream of milk and anchovies, a balance of light bitterness and natural saltiness perfectly pairing with the light and tender meat of fassona.
The selection of wines has the fingerprint of the Ceretto family and a very good value for money – the ‘entry level’ Barolo, year 2013, is an excellent compromise for less than 50 euros.
In a period of truffle scarcity and touristy like the one of the International fair, La Piola definitively represents a safe and trusted choice, with its great ingredients, polite service and fair prices.