Updated: March 2017
With hundreds of great restaurants to choose from, it’s not easy picking where to dine in the Langhe. So, here are a few of my favourite spots. I can only write about my own experiences, so expect this list to grow – a little too slowly for my liking – over time.
Those with an asterisk are, in my entirely unqualified opinion at least, unmissable, and any prices mentioned are what we paid.
* Locanda Fontanazza – Opened three or four years ago and run by a friendly young chap named Mattiua, La Fontanazza offers an ever-changing menu of seasonal Piemontese dishes, both traditional and more modern. You are always guaranteed a warm welcome and if the weather’s good, sit outside and soak up the amazing view from the terrace. Really good value for top quality food. Strada Fontanazza 4, La Morra, +39 0173 50718, http://www.locandafontanazza.it/
Osteria More e Macine – A firm favourite with the locals, More e Macine puts a modern twist on the classic Piemontese dishes. The wine list is huge and decent value, but service can be very hit and miss, so try to catch it on a good day. Via XX Settembre 18, La Morra +39 500395
Pizzeria Per Bacco – Not many people come to the Langhe to eat pizza, but if you find yourself craving it, this is a decent place to go. They do Neopolitan pizzas, and they do them very well, along with a full a la carte menu and some good artisan beers. The outside terrace is large and atmospheric, but not particularly panoramic. Drinks and non-pizza food are expensive though, so if you’re feeling thirsty expect the bill to be even bigger than your pizza. Via Roma 30, La Morra, http://www.pizzeriaperbacco.com/
L’Osteria del Vignaiolo – A little way down the hill from La Morra, in Frazione Santa Maria, but well worth the trip. Seasonal, local food made from top quality ingredients, a wonderful outside area, perfect service and a menu that always contains a few interesting dishes. Very good value considering the outstanding quality. Frazione Santa Maria 12, La Morra, +39 017350335, http://www.osteridelvignaiolo.it
Trattoria Bercau and Ca del Re – Both of these restaurants are great, low-key places to eat top quality food at great prices. Both have great outdoor areas (Bercau with a playground for the kids), both have good menus and freindly staff and both come highly recommended!
Trattoria Schiavenza – For me, this place is all about the terrace and the wine. The menu is pretty regular Piemontese fare, done to a good standard and at very reasonable prices, but the terrace is one of the best in the Langhe. Being a winery as well as a restaurant, this is a great place to sit back, soak up the sun and sample a few great wines. Via Mazzini 4, Serralunga d’Alba, +39 0173 613115, http://www.schiavenza.com/
VinCafé – With a great position in the centre of town, VinCafé is the place to go for aperitivi, or just a good glass of wine (they have loads of different wines by the glass) and a spot of people-watching. They also do food, which is sometimes good, sometimes not so good. But it’s an easy, fairly reliable option if you find yourself in Alba and feeling hungry. Via Vittorio Emmanuele 12, Alba, +39 0173 364603, http://www.vincafe.com
VegCafe – Owned by the same people as Vin Cafe and tucked away at the end of an indoor shopping Plaza off the main pedestrian street, VegCafe is the place to go if you have vegetarians, vegans, or just plain old healthy eaters in your group. With an ever-changing menu of home-grown, organic, vegetarian, often gluten-free dishes it’s a great place to eat. They also have a great selection of artsanal beers and bio wines!
Osteria del Arco – Hidden away in a courtyard off Piazza Michele Fererro (which used to be Piazza Savona), Osteria del’Arco is run by the same people as Osteria Bocondivino in Bra, which is the Slow Food restaurant, so you are guaranteed wonderful food. Couple that with a beautiful setting, friendly service and good prices and Osteria dell’Arco is, in my opinion, the best place to eat in Alba. Piazza Michele Fererro, 5, Alba +39 0173 363974 www.osetriadellarco.it
Bistrot dei Sognatori – This place is completely different to anything else on this list… a bar/restaurant popular with young, cool locals. The menu is small, usually about eight dishes in all, scrawled on a piece of paper, but everything is delicious. It’s cheap, friendly, relaxed and lively. My favourite spot for a chilled out Saturday lunch after exploring Alba’s huge Saturday morning market. They also own Osteria Dei Sognatori, on the other side of the street, which is a wonderful place and well worth the, often long, queue to get in. Piazza San Giovani, Alba
Le Case della Saracca – Aperitivi. If you come here, that’s what you want. The restaurant’s good too, and it’s a great place both to see and to dine in, with all the tables tucked into alcoves of a recently-renovated medieval building. But the aperitivi are incredible. Buy yourself a Spritz or a glass of wine and get stuck in. Via Cavour 5, Monforte d’Alba, +39 0173 789222, http://www.saracca.com/
Osteria La Salita – Tucked away down a little alleyway, La Salita offers good quality, local fare in a relaxing, peaceful setting. The menu is fairly classic and the courtyard is a great spot for a long summer’s lunch. Via Marconi, 2A, Monforte d’Alba, +39 0173 787196, http://www.lasalita.it
Osteria dei Catari – Good service, good food and a menu that is local but with a modern twist. There’s always something interesting available alongside the more classic, local dishes. Prices are very reasonable. Via Solferino 4, Monforte d’Alba, +39 0173 787256, http://www.osteriadeicatari.com/
L’Angolo di Rosina – Wonderfully-prepared, seasonal food, often with an interesting twist on the classic, local dishes. The wine list is local, expansive and reasonably-priced. Tucked away in a sleepy corner of Novello it’s not on everyone’s radar, but is well worth a visit. Piazza Caduti 5, Novello, +39 0173 509113, http://www.tramontievigne.it/ristorante/Default.aspx
La Cantinetta – Not to be confused with La Cantinella, just down the road, this a local’s favourite with a reputation for top quality, local food at reasonable prices. The wine list, as you would expect, is impressive and the service is warm and efficient. You really can’t go wrong! Via Roma 33, Barolo, +39 0173 56198
Bar la Terazza da Renza – With one of the most panoramic of panoramic terraces, this is a great place to while away a sunny afternoon. There’s no menu, they just bring you a selection of cold antipasti. At €30 a head, not including wine, you could never call it good value, but I guess you’re paying for the experience. Via Vittorio Emanuele 6, +39 0173 62909, http://www.laterrazzadirenza.it/
- Serralunga d’Alba
Trattoria Schiavenza – For me, this place is all about the terrace and the wine. The menu is pretty regular Piemontese fare, done to a good standard and at very reasonable prices, but the terrace is one of the best in the Langhe. Being a winery as well as a restaurant, this is a great place to sit back, soak up the sun and sample a few great wines. Via Mazzini 4, Serralunga d’Alba, +39 0173 613115, closed on Tuesdays
Osteria della Torre – In the centre of Cherasco, the Italian home of snails, this is a remarkably good restaurant. You can, of course, get snails here, but they do much more than that, putting a creative, modern twist on some of the traditional local dishes. We’ve sent quite a few guests here and every one of them has put it in the top three restaurants of their trip. Via Ospedale 22, Cherasco, 12062, +39 0172 488458
Degusto – Degusto describes itself as an ‘Enoteca con cucina’, but it’s much more than that… yes the wine list is remarkable, but so is the food. There is a five course set menu for 25 Euros that will blow you away, or just sit outside on the terrace and order course after course of freshly cut meats and cheeses and local pastas. A wonderful place to while away a sunny afternoon. Via Cocito, 2, Neive, +39 0173362562, Closed on Tuesdays
There are dozens more great restaurants, form classics like Trattoria della Posta in Monforte d’Alba and Osteria Da Gemma in Roddino to newcomers like Fre in Monforte. Wherever you go, you really can’t go wrong, particularly if you stick to this list!