Spent two weeks in Piemont Aug/Sept 2009. One week near Alba - we found good food in:
- la Piola, right on the piazza duomo (P. Risorgimento 4), in front of the duomo. A modernistic, sparse interior, the treat is a dinig room in front of the restaurant proper, with a glass wall towards the piazza offering a view on to the activities there as well as the well lit church. Food and cooking is regional and follow the "slow food" idea, the regional specialties being meat in various forms. Not too much choice: several antipasti, two pasta dishes and just one main course (then a few desserts). Reasonably priced wines.
- La Ciau del Tornavente (Piazza Baracco 7, Treiso, 0173 638333), one Michelin star and according ambiente, very nicely situated on a little ridge overlooking the soft hills of the Barbaresco area, great view for the front row tables. Creative cooking with delicious results, a mixture of regional classics and northern italian fare with very good fish. You should spend one evening there if you are in the area.
La Trattoria nelle vigne (Via Santa Croce 17, Diano d´Alba, 0173 468503), You have to look out for it although from Diano there are signposts. As the name suggests, la trattoria is situated right among the vineyards, with rustic tables and banks to sit on, some within the building (wooden floors, glass walls onto the valley) and some in the garden behind it. There is no choice, there is one set dinner and only the price is written on a board. You sit down, order some wine and then the plates will (sooner or later) arrive. But be aware, you might feel induced two empty the first and second plate - be known that several more will follow, all x-large and for more than the 4 pers. at the table. Again regional classics, but you won´t get alici in nut sauce very often. You can - as we did - leave out the main course and only have pasta and dessert, which reduces the fixed price a little. I was a very special evening.
- Finally in Stresa on the west bank of Lago Maggiore, which is rather touristy, we found la Trattoria degli amici (Via A.M. Bolongaro 33, follow the left corner on the backside of the touristy central plaza for 50 m, it is in a little dead end to the left). We chose it because it was the only place where people (italians!) actually queued up to get a table. It is totally unpretencious, the staff very efficient but still friendly and they cook simple but delicious food. The main dishes were best, the beef tender and tasty and the fish soft but still meaty and everything full of aroma. But you could also try the pizza as my wife did to her full satisfaction.