Sitting at the old wood table, looking up at the lamps covered with lace, and watching our courses being brought out on homestyle stainless steel, no frills platters, I felt like I was stepping back in time. There is a reason that this Alba restaurant is called Osteria Dei Sognatori (osteria for dreamers). First of all, it is nostalgic, reminding us of what a true “osteria” is meant to be and where it all started. An “ostu” as they say in Piemontese, used to be a place strategically set in a lively social area of town, where they held the outdoor markets for instance. Where traditionally, the hardworking men would take a break and eat a bowl of homestyle soup and feel good about themselves just for being served. This is the story our local friends told us as we admired the walls covered in black and white photos.



Don’t bother calling in for a reservation because we found out that they take walk-ins only in two phases. There is the early seating around 7.30 and the later phase starting at about 9 and if you are a couple, don’t be surprised if they set your table where there are empty seats together with other customers.
Now let’s talk about the food and wine. We chose the house wine, which is no scam. It was palatable, light and versatile for all the dishes. When you sit down, you are in for a full course meal and the menu is only seasonal of course. In places like these with no menus, my fears arise- What if I can’t eat anything vegetarian? Instead, they kindly said no problem and had appetizing alternatives ready just for me!
We started out with carne cruda, Robiola d’Alba with warm tomato sauce on the side, giardiniera a tomato based vegetable antipasti, breaded cod topped with grilled vegetables, and the famous insalata russa.
I was the only one who chose a pasta dish, fresh whole grain maltagliati with pesto sauce. As our local friends told us, I guess they are best known for their meats so the rest of our table chose roasts, wild boar etc. One of the things I love the most about these laid-back restaurants is how they bring fruit to the table along with a bottle of grappa, just like at home. The coffee is made with the traditional Mokas too.
With our bellies full, and feeling well-fed, it was time to go pay. It was already 11.30 and there was still a line out the door. There must be a reason why, because this old style restaurant is the best deal around. Reasonably priced, characteristic and scrumptious! A must do in Alba!
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