Eeks – I ate at restaurant Piazza Duomo in Alba – yes, the one with three Michelin stars!
I began drafting this post as a synopsis of my first Piazza Duomo experience. Then, I made a shift in direction – c’mon, no one cares about my experience. That does a whole lot of nothing for you. Instead, let’s look a little closer at this Alba food and wine lover utopia.
Restaurant Piazza Duomo in Alba: Believe the hype.
In addition to those coveted three Michelin stars, Piazza Duomo has been rated on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list numerous times, in 2017 moving up two spots to # 15. So, to say I’ve been itching to go there is an understatement.
Despite the restaurant being a mere five minutes from our apartment, a seat in that pretty-in-pink dining room (true story) eluded me. A few years ago Il Marito went for a biz dinner. Sadly, significant others were not invited; can’t really blame ’em, it’s not cheap. There is a splurge and there is Piazza Duomo.
Well, I landed an invite from the gracious Ceretto family (a.k.a., the owners). I do some work for a great little company in the U.S. that offers individual wine club programs for European producers. It allows U.S. consumers to purchase wines from an email offer. They deliver direct to their home from the winery; think pre-market release offers and specials like collector editions magnums, verticals, older vintages, etc. Ceretto is one of our winery partners, so I was included in their recent importer event. A big grazie mille to the Ceretto family for the entire program that ended perfectly with the one-of-kind Piazza Duomo dining experience.
There is much to be admired about the restaurant. Starting with the chef and his muse – the local food.
Chef Enrico Crippa sources his ingredients locally from specially selected suppliers. Nearly all the products come from within a 50 kilometers / 31 miles radius.
The local products are what guide my hand: Langa beef, for example, being lean and not marbled, is perfect for hand-cut carne cruda (raw meat). These are the same principles that have always inspired the work of a great trattoria.
Enrico Crippa, restaurant Piazza Duomo in Alba
The variety and quality of products from our southwestern corner of Piedmont are revered the world over. Think Fassone beef (veal), hazelnuts, mushrooms, Alba’s white truffles, rabbit, fresh cream butter, Alta Langa potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke…and, a whole lot more.
For me, there were three things to do: Make the most of what is around me, look behind the traditions, and present my take on the traditional recipes.
Enrico Crippa, restaurant Piazza Duomo in Alba
Chef Crippa’s rich pedigree includes work with some of the world’s best chefs: Michel Bras in Laguiole and Ferran Adrià at El Bulli in Spain. According to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants site, his biggest influence came from innovative Italian chef Gualtiero Marchesi. At dinner, it was explained that Chef Crippa prefers a lighter, veggie-based cuisine. Hence, the restaurant’s infamous vegetable garden.
The Piazza Duomo Vegetable Garden
Chef Crippa’s vegetable garden sits in the heart of the Langhe, about 13 km / 8 miles from restaurant Piazza Duomo in Alba. The garden occupies a little more than 2 hectares in Castiglione Falletto, a section of the Barolo wine-making area. It houses plants from all over the world with special care taken to properly sow and cultivate each seed and cutting.
The garden came to life when the restaurant opened in 2005 after Alessandro Ceretto took over the winery. He wanted to focus on biodynamic farming principles. So, Chef Crippa did the same with his vegetable garden. Today, they have around 500 wild herbs from all over the world. The garden is tended with the utmost respect for the land. No plowing takes place and they limit soil movement so it maintains its nutrients.
Ingredients are true to the season, so nature regularly dictates change: “When an ingredient is no longer available, the dish must be reconsidered: the same vegetable that was the feature, may not go so well the following week because it is bigger, or longer, or more bitter, or more leathery: in its place there will be another, or its role in the dish will have to change.”
The restaurant’s famed 21, 31, 41 salad. The numbers represent the varying seasonal ingredients.
The Piazza Duomo Pink Room: The Fresco of Francesco Clemente
The food and wine aren’t the only things people talk about after a visit to restaurant Piazza Duomo in Alba. Don’t forget about the infamous pink room. The Ceretto family is known for their love of contemporary art – from the great glass cube at their Barolo winery to the colorful chapel in the La Morra vineyards. To add that signature to the restaurant, they painted one dining room pink. The walls feature the fresco of Neapolitan artist Francesco Clemente; a giant grape leaf with images of the local Langhe landscape.
Dining at Piazza Duomo
Making reservations at Piazza Duomo requires planning. What you should know:
- The restaurant accepts bookings starting on the first day of the month for the following four months.
- If the system doesn’t allow you to proceed, the date is fully booked. They do take names for their waiting list.
- Note that a credit card confirms your booking.
- If you email to confirm your booking, know that your response could end up in your spam filter. Check your junk mail.
- English is spoken, so don’t worry about not being able to communicate if you call the restaurant directly.
- If you plan to dine with children, notify the staff when booking.
- For groups of six or more, contact the restaurant directly at email@example.com.
- To book a table at restaurant Piazza Duomo in Alba, click here.
The dress code at Piazza Duomo is smart casual attire. That means men must wear long pants and closed shoes.
The opening hours at Piazza Duomo are 12.30 pm to 2.00 pm and 7.30 pm to 10.00 pm. The restaurant closes on Sundays and Mondays; during the annual Alba Truffle Fair, the restaurant closes Sunday evenings and Monday.
Piazza Duomo’s holiday closures are from the end of December to the middle of January and for two weeks in August.
The Piazza Duomo menu features four tasting menus or you can order ala carte.
- Website: http://www.piazzaduomoalba.it/en/
- Address: Piazza Risorgimento, 4, 12051 Alba
- Phone: +39 0173 366167
My dinner at restaurant Piazza Duomo in Alba – in pictures
Have you dined at restaurant Piazza Duomo in Alba? Leave us a note below and tell us the standout dish and / or wine for you!