Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

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Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#1 Post by Yao C »

Hi all, I'm deep in the planning for a month-long trip to northern Italy during truffle season and have spent lots of time reading through many recommendations and travelogues on here. I've put together the following list of restaurants and would love your help: are there any obvious omissions, or restaurants that really shouldn't be there?

Lake Como
  • Trattoria Baita Belvedere (Bellagio)
  • Enoteca Cava Turacciolo (Bellagio)
  • Ristorante Alle Darsene di Loppia (Bellagio)
  • Il Cavatappi (Varenna)
  • Osteria Quatro Pass (Varenna)
Alba and surrounding villages
  • Piazza Duomo (Alba) - we've got a reservation
  • Caffe Umberto (Alba)
  • Osteria dell’Arco (Alba)
  • Antine (Barbaresco)
  • La Cantinetta (Barolo)
  • Ristorante San Marco (Canelli)
  • Marc Lanteri Ristorante AL CASTELLO (Grinzane)
  • Ristorante Bovio (La Morra)
  • l’Aromatario Osteria (Neive)
  • Il Centro (Priocca)
  • Vinoteca Centro Storico (Serralunga)
  • Trattoria La Coccinella (Serravalle)
  • La Ciau del Tornavento (Treiso)
Milan
  • Contraste - we've got a reservation
  • l’Alchimia - we've got a reservation
  • Da Martino
  • Trattoria del Nuovo Macello
Bologna/Modena
  • Osteria Francescana (Modena) - we've got a reservation
  • Sette Tavoli (Bologna)
  • Ristorante Da Cesari (Bologna)
  • Gelateria Gianni (Bologna)
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#2 Post by Ramon C »

In Milan, an evening at the lively Navigli neighborhood by the canal is soothing and away from the city's hustle and bustle. Trattoria Milanese and Nonna Mafalda are solid restaurants featuring local regional cooking.

A little more sceney in a NYC West Village mode is Trippa Milano for some awesome tripe and bone marrow dishes. A personal favorite in Milan.

Bellagio:
About < 10 minutes uphill from the town piazza, Ristorante Silvio provides the awesome views and fresh seafood dishes.

Your pick of Cava Turaciollo should be good in a winegeek way. In the old town itself, Cava Turaciollo has good antipasti, a couple of cooked specials, and a very good wine list at close to retail pricing, where I chanced upon and opted for a bottle of 2001 Montevertine 5 years ago.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#3 Post by Luca Giupponi »

Milan has an embarrassing number of amazing restaurants. I'm not sure how long and where exactly in the city you'll be, but I would highly recommend Ratanà (modern Milanese) and Yoshinobu (world class sushi with excellent wine list). Both are in the Porta Garibaldi area. I know one doesn't necessarily think of Sushi when visiting Italy but I promise you won't find fish this fresh in many places.

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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#4 Post by m. ristev »

i would hit turin for at least a day when trekking from milan to alba. go to consorzio and drink some cult jura wines on the cheap. del cambio also has quite a deep cellar.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#5 Post by Ramon C »

Turin is so out of the way from your best driving route and I wouldn't bother with an overnight unless you have time for a quick meal so that you can fly out of its airport (nearest from Alba) to get somewhere else.

In Piedmont (Alba area), check out Il Centro in Priocca (18 minutes drive from Alba) for excellent Piedmont family cooking and deep (I mean vertically deep) Nebbiolos from their deep cellar.

https://www.ristoranteilcentro.com/en/
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#6 Post by Yao C »

Thank you all for your advice it’s really helpful :)
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#7 Post by jprusack »

ive been to both trippa and ratana in milano...both excellent recommendations and well described by the original posters.

just want to add that trippa has a very celebrated version of vitello tonato that is not to be missed. its in or near the porta romana area of milan. i HIGHLY recommend you go for aperitivo before dinner at trippa at mom cafe nearby. tons of delicious food for those staying for drinks...lively crowd of locals having a drink after work. that plus trippa was a very enjoyable evening.

i recall that ratana had a very well priced set menu with wine tasting. mushroom risotto was a specialty.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#8 Post by Ian Sutton »

Hi Yao
I like your balance of locations: water, cities and rural town (albeit Alba itself gets rather busy in truffle season)

Como: Sorry I can't offer advice, as I've not been there

Alba:
The big decision will be whether to stay in Alba, or out in the wine villages around Barolo and Barbaresco. If you have a car, then I'd lean towards staying outside. The last time we went, we got into Alba early (~ 7:30am I think) and parked at the new multi-storey car park next to the train station. This was reasonably priced, convenient and also reasonably spacious, so was a good low hassle option. The advantage of doing this is it avoids the serious traffic build-up when the events are on in Alba, but also gets you into the beautiful wine country. The advantage of staying inside Alba, is that it allows you easy access to all the events that go on, and there is much to enjoy, plus the truffle market, plus a now vast outdoor street market, both with some wonderful stalls (e.g. Spezialmente and their huge range of mint related products). A special mention to catch the flag waving/throwing procession, something I always love whenever I see it in northern Italy.

For restaurants I've typically had much better experiences outside the headline villages of Barolo and Barbaresco, which have both delivered mixed experiences. Treiso conversely has 4 places to eat, all of which are excellent (plus I think there is an agriturismo doing meals which we haven't yet tried). If you find yourself near Serralunga d'Alba I'd recommend Schiavenza's restaurant. It's inexpensive but good, plus their wines are excellent. Given the impression I got from their drive and motivation, I expect both have improved over the time since we last visited.

The tourist office in Alba is exceptional, in person and online. Use their Langheroero site as it has a wealth of info/options/booking services and call in their in person if you have the need.


Milano:
A city that just didn't click for us and we've not returned. It didn't help that we felt pestered by street vendors (usually selling roses). If you like fashion, then it's worth finding time to browse the fancy shops, plus the outlets which can have some vastly reduced clothes that are still very much current 'season'. For the restaurants, I recall the advice to book in advance, as the better places are typically fully booked even on a week night. That's about all I can add.

Bologna A super foody city, yet one we've bizarrely had few good/great experiences. Sette Tavoli on via Cartoleria is one that has been good enough for us to return to. Not fancy, just good, with a good and fairly priced wine list. We also liked a southern Italy leaning wine bar, but that shut not long after we discovered it. Luckily, we usually get an apartment there, so can graze the many excellent shops and also the good Ugo Bassi covered market. The criss-cross of older streets between the due torri and Piazza Nettuno are prime grazing ground for a food shopper (better than Eataly for sure), but there are also some good food shops on via Oberdan, but also dotted around elsewhere. Some great gelaterie as well, a few indulging my adventurous spirit with the very modern shift away from classic to creative ingredients. Enoteca Italiana is the biggest range in the city, perhaps a little bit pricey, but we're talking 2-5% over other places rather than gouging, and for many, the convenience of the range makes up for that. Also a good place for a glass of something or a coffee. I prefer the oddly named Caffe Bazar, which has a very good range, very fair prices and listening to the staff chat to others, they came across as genuinely helpful.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#9 Post by M.Kaplan »

I love Milan; haven't been since 2015, which is shocking, as we would either arrive or depart Italy from there once or twice a year for 10+ years. As a result, I am reluctant to make any restaurant reservations after not being there for almost 6 years, but we ALWAYS have a dinner at Osteria del Binari and will when we return. Milan isn't an obvious tourist destination aside from fashion because one must go a bit beyond the beaten path of the duomo, fort, refrectory, and Via Montenapoleone area, but it is worth the effort.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#10 Post by jprusack »

ah...one more favorite in milano...

Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone...we always get lunch here and eat in their courtyard...absolutely amazing scene of fashion and industry types, very solid traditional lunch fare in a beautiful setting.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#11 Post by Cole Kendall »

I agree on Ratana' in Milan and would put in a word for Daniel Canzian's restaurant https://danielcanzian.com/il-ristorante/ where i have eaten and drunk very well; food is traditionally dishes redone by the chef.

Edited to add that Rovello 18 is good during truffle season. Simple food, good wine list.

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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#12 Post by Alan Rath »

Yao, a few places we ate in 2017 that I would recommend:

Ristorante Le Torri
Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 10, 12060 Castiglione Falletto
+39 0173 62937

Trattoria La Coccinella
Via Provinciale 5, 12050 Serravalle Langhe (CN)
ale@trattoriacoccinella.com
+39 0173 748 220

L'Osteria del Vignaiolo
Frazione Santa Maria 12, La Morra 12064    
osteriadelvignaiolo.it
+39 0173 50335
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#13 Post by Riccardo Campinoti »

In Milan try to go to Cantina Isola, great wine bar, no food though
In Bologna , Osteria del Mirasole in San giovanni in Persiceto, it's 15 minutes out of town but it's absolutely great
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#14 Post by m. ristev »

Riccardo Campinoti wrote: September 23rd, 2021, 6:18 am In Milan try to go to Cantina Isola, great wine bar, no food though
this is definitely a legacy spot. vino al vino is also great.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#15 Post by Yao C »

One more round of thank-yous to everyone for your recommendations!
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#16 Post by JeremyR »

Really enjoying these recommendations. I’ll be in Milan and the Piemonte in November and plan to use some of these tips.

I did a similar trip two years ago and my top restaurant in the Piemonte was Osteria Veglio. My favorite meal for sure. Il Centro was another great meal but the service was BAD. Our servers were incredibly condescending and rude. I’ll give it another shot because so many people love it and everyone has an off day, but it was rough.

Hope you love your trip!
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#17 Post by Kelly Walker »

I have been to many of the restaurants on your Langhe list.

Piazza Duomo - always very good
Osteria dell’Arco - spotty in my experience
Antine - never had a bad meal there
Ristorante Bovio - one of my favorites
Vinoteca Centro Storico - solid
La Ciau del Tornavento - As one would expect with *. One of the top 5 wine cellars in all of Europe, IMHO. If you go ask to go downstairs and see it. Priced accordingly. But an experience not to be missed. We usually stay at the restaurant as they have rooms on property and have breakfast with the amazing views.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#18 Post by Matt Mauldin »

Looking forward to hearing about Contraste. We had a reservation planned for our ill-fated April 2020 trip...
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#19 Post by Dave H. »

Enjoying this thread. If I can quickly hijack: I have zeroed in on La Morra as a nice place to use as a home base for exploring Piedmont over four days this fall. Would that be a good spot to stay? I have a cancellable apartment booked that seems quite nice.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#20 Post by Ramon C »

Dave H. wrote: October 17th, 2021, 4:35 pm Enjoying this thread. If I can quickly hijack: I have zeroed in on La Morra as a nice place to use as a home base for exploring Piedmont over four days this fall. Would that be a good spot to stay? I have a cancellable apartment booked that seems quite nice.
Stay. Every hill town is great and you'll still be within the same reasonable distance from the other great Nebbiolo towns.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#21 Post by Dave H. »

Ramon C wrote: October 17th, 2021, 5:30 pm [quote="Dave H." post_id=3356929 time=<a href="tel:1634513751">1634513751</a> user_id=15860]
Enjoying this thread. If I can quickly hijack: I have zeroed in on La Morra as a nice place to use as a home base for exploring Piedmont over four days this fall. Would that be a good spot to stay? I have a cancellable apartment booked that seems quite nice.
Stay. Every hill town is great and you'll still be within the same reasonable distance from the other great Nebbiolo towns.
[/quote]
Asked and answered. Thank you!
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#22 Post by JeremyR »

Dave H. wrote: October 17th, 2021, 4:35 pm Enjoying this thread. If I can quickly hijack: I have zeroed in on La Morra as a nice place to use as a home base for exploring Piedmont over four days this fall. Would that be a good spot to stay? I have a cancellable apartment booked that seems quite nice.
I’ll be heading back to the area for my second visit next month. I decided to stay in La Morra this time as well. I visited last time and had a great so this visit we’ll go ahead and stay there. Osteria Veglio is my first reservation.

Have a great trip!
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#23 Post by Ian Sutton »

Dave H. wrote: October 17th, 2021, 4:35 pm Enjoying this thread. If I can quickly hijack: I have zeroed in on La Morra as a nice place to use as a home base for exploring Piedmont over four days this fall. Would that be a good spot to stay? I have a cancellable apartment booked that seems quite nice.
Yes it's good. Slightly less touristy than Barolo itself, but a little more so than the other Barolo villages. Plenty of good and fairly priced restaurants. Excellent walking directly through the vineyards, which is something I feel too many miss out on in trying to squeeze too many winery visits in (alongside two big meals a day). One lunchtime, grab some good picnic food and a bottle of something modest like a dolcetto or Barbera (and a corkscrew) and plot a circular route through some of the vineyards, stopping when you find a spot that appeals. Shared ownership means open access, though of course be respectful of vineyard workers and best get out of that area if they are spraying.

Wineries in La Morra. Back when the modernist/traditionalist rift was strong, we had an interesting trip where we tasted across the spectrum. It was a good experience to challenge preconceptions, but also interesting how interested producers were in where else we were tasting. I came away still a fan of the traditional, but with greater appreciation of (to steal Pat Burton's grouping) modernist leaning wineries.

Winery tips (from those we've visited and not 'the usual suspects')
- Cascina Ballarin down beyond Annunziata on the main road. Notable for a chance to taste a nascetta, plus a very good langhe nebbiolo that can share the hint of white truffle of some of their Barolo wines at a fraction of the price. Might be worth double checking the booking on arrival in La Morra, as they forgot we were coming on two separate occasions!
- Mauro Molino. One of those modernist leaning producers that helped change our perceptions. The (early 20s) kids were friendly and professional, but many years later might be running it. If so, I'm sure they will be in capable hands.
- Renato Ratti. For the wines, honestly I'm not sure it's a good recommendation. However it's a remarkably impressive winery construction for the region, plus they had wonderful posters of vintage assessments available going back 100+ years.
- Marcarini. Actually we never visited them, and I'm not sure why. However I really like their somewhat foursquare traditional wines, that can age decades with ease. If going back, they'd be on my list. Instead we visited (Renzo) Accomasso, one of the most memorable wine visits we've had. Not suggesting this unless you have good Italian language skills.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#24 Post by Rick Allen »

Not a restaurant, but a foodie place to visit in Milan is Peck. This is a food store with every high end food item available in the area. Huge wine shop, large butcher shop, even larger deli selection, and more fresh pasta than I thought existed. Prepared foods, Parmigiano-Reggiano out to six years of age, Prosciutto di Parma, Jamon Iberico - you name it, they had it. The only thing I didn't see there was saffron, but I probably didn't look hard enough. Prices were higher than at the town markets we visited in Florence and Bologna, but the selection and convenience were stellar.

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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#25 Post by Dave H. »

JeremyR wrote: October 18th, 2021, 5:17 am
Dave H. wrote: October 17th, 2021, 4:35 pm Enjoying this thread. If I can quickly hijack: I have zeroed in on La Morra as a nice place to use as a home base for exploring Piedmont over four days this fall. Would that be a good spot to stay? I have a cancellable apartment booked that seems quite nice.
I’ll be heading back to the area for my second visit next month. I decided to stay in La Morra this time as well. I visited last time and had a great so this visit we’ll go ahead and stay there. Osteria Veglio is my first reservation.

Have a great trip!
Please report back on your trip! I realize that I said this fall in my post, but I actually booked for Sept. 2022--getting a bit ahead of myself.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#26 Post by Dav1d S@wyer »

Dave H. wrote: October 19th, 2021, 6:29 am
JeremyR wrote: October 18th, 2021, 5:17 am
Dave H. wrote: October 17th, 2021, 4:35 pm Enjoying this thread. If I can quickly hijack: I have zeroed in on La Morra as a nice place to use as a home base for exploring Piedmont over four days this fall. Would that be a good spot to stay? I have a cancellable apartment booked that seems quite nice.
I’ll be heading back to the area for my second visit next month. I decided to stay in La Morra this time as well. I visited last time and had a great so this visit we’ll go ahead and stay there. Osteria Veglio is my first reservation.

Have a great trip!
Please report back on your trip! I realize that I said this fall in my post, but I actually booked for Sept. 2022--getting a bit ahead of myself.
We did Osteria Veglio during truffle season in 2016 and it was fabulous. It was also packed with wine geeks drinking great bottles. The list is top notch as I recall. Fun experience.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#27 Post by JeremyR »

I can’t remember who is traveling when, but quick word of warning, my trip is coming up in about three weeks (mid-November) and a LOT of places are completely booked for lunch and dinner already. Several of my top choices only have a waitlist available. Clearly travel is picking up and people are going out. I’ve also heard that this years truffle harvest is not nearly what it has been in the past and prices are way up.

So far I’ve got confirmed reservations at Ratana and 28 Posti in Milan, might switch Ratana out for Trippa if I can get a table. I’m hoping to visit Cantine Isola and maybe N’Ombra de Vin as well. I’ve sent a note to Comtraste as well but haven’t heard back.

In Piemonte, so many places are booked solid. I’m on the waitlist for my favorite (Osteria Veglio) but have a table at Tre Case for our first night just in case. Still waiting to hear back from Il Centro for Sunday lunch. Last lunch at Monday is confirmed at Bovio. Ciau is full, Guido is full, several others as well. If anyone else has any favorites that might still have space, I’m open for suggestions.

That’s a very long way of saying that you should book early! Can’t believe how full everything is right now.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#28 Post by Ian Sutton »

Rick Allen wrote: October 18th, 2021, 3:59 pm Not a restaurant, but a foodie place to visit in Milan is Peck. This is a food store with every high end food item available in the area. Huge wine shop, large butcher shop, even larger deli selection, and more fresh pasta than I thought existed. Prepared foods, Parmigiano-Reggiano out to six years of age, Prosciutto di Parma, Jamon Iberico - you name it, they had it. The only thing I didn't see there was saffron, but I probably didn't look hard enough. Prices were higher than at the town markets we visited in Florence and Bologna, but the selection and convenience were stellar.
A good suggestion. For anyone interested in food, I'd certainly recommend it. There are also a few other decent specialist shops in the streets around it.

The wine likewise recommended to visit, though in my slightly contrarian manner, I was both impressed and unimpressed. Clearly the wine buyer(s) had been given a clear steer and the budget to get 'the best of the best' in. The selection is very much a who's who of wine, but that's also the issue I had, that it was a selection that felt unimaginative. Where were the great discoveries that they'd unearthed? It didn't seem like there was a place for them.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#29 Post by Rick Allen »

Ian, I agree. We did a quick tour and headed back upstairs. I don't see that big of a collection of very high-end wines in one place very often. After all, how many 3L bottles of d'Yquem does a store really need?

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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#30 Post by Kelly Walker »

Dave H. wrote: October 17th, 2021, 4:35 pm Enjoying this thread. If I can quickly hijack: I have zeroed in on La Morra as a nice place to use as a home base for exploring Piedmont over four days this fall. Would that be a good spot to stay? I have a cancellable apartment booked that seems quite nice.
La Morra has always been my home base. I have stayed at Corte Gondina for years. Simple and not expensive located in the heart of La Morra. Bruno can arrange reservations and winery visits. The last time in 2019 I stayed at the new Relais Le Rocche across from Roberto Voerzio. Very nice property but not cheap.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#31 Post by Yao C »

Enoteca Cava Turacciolo (Bellagio)
Convivial, cosy setting, excellent smoked fish, unexpectedly excellent roast beef (carved like prosciutto and dotted with balsamic vinegar pearls), and an EUR88 bottle of 1996 Produttori Paje? Very yes
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#32 Post by Yao C »

The Brothers Cafe (Como)
Cosy hole-in-the-wall cafe where they make their own pastries - delicious enough that we visited twice. Freshly baked pear cake and amaretti were standouts. Turns into a bar in the evening, but we didn't try the cocktails
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#33 Post by Yao C »

Ristorante Bilacus (Bellagio)
Ups and downs; really excellent tagliolini with bottarga and preserved lake fish, but the secondi piatti were anonymous and boring; tremendous assortment of Tuscan wines, but beware cloudy (and stingy) Coravin pours

edit:
Enoteca Le Torri (Alba)
Most of the wine shops in the area seemed generic and expensive, but there were some decent buys here: €120 1978 Borgogno Barolo Riserva, €13.50 2020 Nervi Rosato. Also €850 2013 Conterno Monfortino if anyone is feeling flush
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#34 Post by Yao C »

Osteria La Libera (Alba)
Traditional food executed to a very high standard, best so far of the trip - tagliolini with white truffle, roast lamb chops, stuffed cabbage, vitello tonnato, panna cotta; gave us a large comfortable table where we could spread out; attentive and friendly service; white truffles perhaps not the highest quality but can’t complain at the prices (EUR40 per truffle entree); broad wine list with good value, though young-ish: 2010 Giovanni Sordo Barolo Rocche di Castiglione for EUR60
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#35 Post by Yao C »

Gelateria Al Rondo (San Damiano d’Asti)
Best gelato we've had on the trip so far, and we've had a lot. Ecuador dark chocolate, pistachio, chestnut, pear were all outstanding flavors
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#36 Post by Ian Sutton »

Just a quick thank you for posting these Yao.
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#37 Post by Rick Allen »

Yao C wrote: November 6th, 2021, 4:27 am Osteria La Libera (Alba)
Traditional food executed to a very high standard, best so far of the trip - tagliolini with white truffle, roast lamb chops, stuffed cabbage, vitello tonnato, panna cotta; gave us a large comfortable table where we could spread out; attentive and friendly service; white truffles perhaps not the highest quality but can’t complain at the prices (EUR40 per truffle entree); broad wine list with good value, though young-ish: 2010 Giovanni Sordo Barolo Rocche di Castiglione for EUR60
We wanted to try this place, but we were still a bit paranoid about eating inside and the outdoor seating was taken. Sounds great!

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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#38 Post by Yao C »

My pleasure :)

Also to echo Jeremy above, we are finding that in Barolo we can't just walk into places day-of and expect a table. It's not just for the top restaurants either: we completely struck out in Serralunga d'Alba for Sunday lunch and had to settle for a prosciutto sandwich from a bottega. Better to call ahead at least a few days in advance

Piazza Duomo (Alba)
Went in with tremendously high expectations given the 3* rating and very high price, and they delivered in many respects; there is balance and finesse, and a mastery that creates a natural, unforced deliciousness, in multiple instances redefining our sense of what’s possible; we had the Barolo menu, which featured six very carefully chosen wines that were synergistic to each dish; service was not perfect - they poured me a 1999 Cauhape Quintessence du Petit Manseng that was horribly brown and maderized, but I was so tipsy and delighted with the food that I let it go instead of rejecting it; would absolutely come again for a different tasting menu; standout dishes were:
  • Pane di Carlo Alberto: crusty bread with anchovies - amazing
  • Insalata vignaiola: tribute to traditional Piedmontese stuffed cabbage leaf; this was one of the tastiest salads I’ve ever had, wrapped in a very thin green crepe, and paired beautifully with an older (2008) Barolo chosen for its delicate tannins
  • Never had rooibos with a risotto and a deliberately chosen modernist Barolo with heavy vanilla oak notes, but it works wonderfully
  • The potato cream with egg yolk, lapsang souchong, and white truffle ranks as the finest expression of white truffle we’ve had in our lives
  • Snails in the snail & polenta dish were delicate and flavorful, perhaps even better than the snail porridge we had at the Fat Duck years ago
  • L’albese featured a veal carpaccio with shaved porcini, hazelnuts, and a consomme on the side; the consomme was enhanced by pouring the wine from the pairing straight into it, which was shocking but also delicious
Restaurant Le Torri (Castiglione Falletto)
Great view from the table; food is prepared with care, and is surprisingly intricate despite the richness of the preparations and the massive, massive portions; between the portion sizes and the included amuse bouche + petit fours you'd better come hungry; uovo croccante was magical - a breaded and fried egg, also a lovely fine texture to the skin of the ravioli del plin, and the biggest shock - a delicately fried seafood platter with perfectly textured octopus and a sauce reminiscent of teriyaki (the proper Japanese way, not sickly sweet); we didn't order white truffle but now and then we'd get an intoxicating whiff from a neighboring table, and they seemed very generous with the truffle shavings; very understaffed but that's okay when you're having a leisurely lunch - just be prepared to spend well north of two hours there; highly recommended
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#39 Post by Jim Friedman »

http://www.trattoriadellaposta.it/indexeng.html
We had a wonderful week in Alba and ate well in many places already mentioned. We had a great lunch here
http://www.trattoriadellaposta.it/indexeng.html

My favorite memory was parking the car, walking past the kitchen which had a window, and seeing cookie sheets filled with fresh pasta.

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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#40 Post by Jim Friedman »

We had a wonderful week in Alba and ate well in many places already mentioned. We had a great lunch here
http://www.trattoriadellaposta.it/indexeng.html

My favorite memory was parking the car, walking past the kitchen which had a window, and seeing cookie sheets filled with fresh pasta.

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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#41 Post by Alan Rath »

Did we talk about this? Can’t believe I didn’t send you the restaurants we ate at in 2017.

Ristorante Le Torri
Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 10, 12060 Castiglione Falletto
+39 0173 62937

Trattoria La Coccinella
Via Provinciale 5, 12050 Serravalle Langhe (CN)
ale@trattoriacoccinella.com
+39 0173 748 220

L'Osteria del Vignaiolo
Frazione Santa Maria 12, La Morra 12064
osteriadelvignaiolo.it
+39 0173 50335

TRATTORIA MARSUPINO
Via Roma, 20 12080 Briaglia (CN)
+39 0174 563888

UVE Wine Bar
Via Umberto I, 13, 12064 La Morra CN

Osteria More e Macine
Via Venti Settembre 18, La Morra 12064
+39 0173 500395
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#42 Post by Yao C »

Alan Rath wrote: November 9th, 2021, 9:12 pm Did we talk about this? Can’t believe I didn’t send you the restaurants we ate at in 2017
Sadly no and we're leaving Piedmont very soon, but thank you and I will definitely take note for next time!

Gió Gió Temptations Pasticceria (Alba)
Rather good pastries and entremets, most notably a chocolate black truffle shaped one with black truffle flavor in it, and the pistachio maritozzo. One of the few coffee shops I've been to so far that will give you a to-go cup for your coffee (bloody tourists!) In the end we went four times in three days. Highly, highly recommended

L'Aromatario Osteria (Neive)
Good wine list with a broad selection of Italian wines and also trendy wines from elsewhere, from the reasonably priced to the stratospheric (2009 Selosse for €700 if anyone is feeling rich); food is decently good but perhaps shaded a little bit by other Piedmontese restaurants we've been to; tajarin was excellent here

La Piola (Alba)
Very expensive, right down to the espresso at the end of your meal; food has a bit of a gloss to it, like the sort of thing you'd be served in a Four Seasons, with the edges sanded off; no complaints but not great QPR
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#43 Post by Yao C »

Vinoteca Centro Storico (Serralunga d'Alba)
Lunch here was one of the best meals we had in Piedmont; simple in concept but very high quality ingredients - among the best meat and cheese platters we have ever experienced and a delicious steak Milanese fried in butter; memorable service from Alessio and his staff - opinionated but warm, chivvying but generous; wonderful wines available by the glass: 2017 Valentini Cerasuolo rose, 2018 Gaja Barbaresco, 2012 Aldo Conterno Barolo Romirasco; a must-return the next time we visit; p.s. do not order the Bunet
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#44 Post by Yao C »

Il Centro (Priocca)
Great sommelier and wines; food started out great: wonderful bread, amuses - e.g. chicken liver pate done up to look like a cherry tomato - and a bunch of other delicious things, antipasti (sweetbreads, topinambur, sweet peppers), we also enjoyed the pastas, then it was downhill for the secondi and desserts; somehow though the individual elements were well executed the secondi and desserts didn't quite seem to come together; perhaps an off night? Wouldn't rule out coming back, especially for the wines
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#45 Post by Ofer Refaeli »

Yao C wrote: November 12th, 2021, 1:33 pm Vinoteca Centro Storico (Serralunga d'Alba)
Lunch here was one of the best meals we had in Piedmont……p.s. do not order the Bunet
Why “do not order Bonet” ?
(I like Bonet)

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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#46 Post by Yao C »

Ofer Refaeli wrote: November 13th, 2021, 10:19 am
Yao C wrote: November 12th, 2021, 1:33 pm Vinoteca Centro Storico (Serralunga d'Alba)
Lunch here was one of the best meals we had in Piedmont……p.s. do not order the Bunet
Why “do not order Bonet” ?
(I like Bonet)
Their version is a very stodgy slice of chocolate custard next to a very stodgy slice of vanilla custard, like the kind you would get in an English boarding school. The charming waiter spent some time trying to convince us to order the poached pear instead but we insisted because we wanted to try something traditional. We like the idea of it but would not recommend theirs [cheers.gif]
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#47 Post by Yao C »

MU paolo sarpi (Milan)
On the lively road (Via Paolo Sarpi) that runs the length of Chinatown; authentic and very well executed xiao long bao ("XLB") and sheng jian bao (think XLB but with a bread-like exterior, and fried till crisp on the bottom), worthy of the top tier that I've had worldwide; this is an oddly great place to have an aperitivi

Bar Quadronno (Milan)
I had their prizewinning "Panino d'Italia 1998" sandwich - bresaola, bottarga, game pate, sauce aurore on a toasted roll - and it was excellent, as was their signature Ice Dream cocktail, essentially an Aperol Spritz but with the volume turned up to eleven; a lovely cosy, relaxed, old-school sort of environment, and another oddly great spot for an aperitivi

Rita (Milan, in the Navigli district)
A board recommendation; food is mediocre but you come for the cocktails and the peaceful quiet of the location, tucked away as it is at the end of a very long strip of bars; after trying out several different cocktails, we thought the best of the bunch was the Willy Wonka, an incredibly cohesive citrusy, chocolatey concoction; perhaps in the top 5 of cocktails I have ever tried and I don't even like sweet cocktails; highly recommended if you're looking for a break from wine

Ratana (Milan)
They do an amazing job balancing tradition with their avant garde impulses; there's lots here to make you sit up and pay attention - e.g. a stunning savory tarte tatin made with caramelized beets and leeks, plenty of comforting standards - e.g. meltingly soft osso bucco that just holds its shape, with a glorious well of veal marrow in the bone, and things that are somewhere in the middle - e.g. carbonara with risotto instead of pasta topped with lots of delicately crisp porky bits; service is unforced but attentive, and the 2017 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano for €65 is the cherry on top; highly recommended
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#48 Post by Ofer Refaeli »

Yao C wrote: November 13th, 2021, 12:40 pm
Ofer Refaeli wrote: November 13th, 2021, 10:19 am
Yao C wrote: November 12th, 2021, 1:33 pm Vinoteca Centro Storico (Serralunga d'Alba)
Lunch here was one of the best meals we had in Piedmont……p.s. do not order the Bunet
Why “do not order Bonet” ?
(I like Bonet)
Their version is a very stodgy slice of chocolate custard next to a very stodgy slice of vanilla custard, like the kind you would get in an English boarding school. The charming waiter spent some time trying to convince us to order the poached pear instead but we insisted because we wanted to try something traditional. We like the idea of it but would not recommend theirs [cheers.gif]
Got you, thanks🙏👍

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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#49 Post by Ian Sutton »

TBH I've yet to have a Bonet/Bunet that I've enjoyed, which is surprising as I'd expected to enjoy it. Poached pears in moscato I always find enjoyable, even when making it myself (and it's very much a dish of the region as well).
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Re: Restaurants: Lake Como, Alba, Milan, Modena, Bologna

#50 Post by Yao C »

Contraste (Milan)
They buzz you through a nondescript door into a fun space full of interesting ideas; the food is Japanese-inflected but never derivative; sometimes the ideas pan out spectacularly - cf. scallop “noodles” in a dashi made with Italian tuna and a parmesan foam, wonderfully textured red mullet with crispy skin and citrus/saffron sauce, iberico pork with an uni (!) reduction; other times you wonder what they were thinking - cf. overly mushy, indistinct carbonara spheres, and also kampachi sashimi cubes in a matrix with cube-shaped grapefruit, nuts, and squid ink gel; whatever the results, the kitchen is never not swinging for the fences, and that is admirable; spectacularly broad wine list that’s great for the omnivorous but not inexpensive, though that is balanced by the comparatively affordable food prices; lighthearted but attentive service that recalls Epicure in Paris; we’ll be back; highly recommended

Hekfanchai (Milan)
Filthy cha chan teng food from Hong Kong done spectacularly right; if you don’t crave congee and cheung fen and deep fried toast filled with taro paste and pressed sandwiches filled with satay beef then you don’t have to come, but if you do then this will hit the spot
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