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Barbaresco: Ristorante Rabaja

Via Rabaja , Phone: 0173.635223

Reviewed by: BelgianItalylover from Belgium, review #3549

When: 2010

I had doubts about submitting this comment because the place needs to kept free from the usual tourists... but here you go.

Directions: Not needed. Just drive to Barbaresco and you'll find it.

We were staying at an agriturismo in Alba and both the owner and a guest (who had come to the region twice a year for the last 8 years) recommended us this restaurant and we didn't regret it.

I am used to good cooking (being myself an ex hotel school student, and ex maître d') and want to have some good, honest quality food to be enjoyed by my kids (6 and 8), my wife and myself. Well, this is it! Don't expect too fancy and modern decoration but the real stuff. It's all what you expect of the real Piemontese decoration, cuisine, service and wine. The place is just great for anyone who loves honest food at a decent price!

Reviewed by: Tim in Piemonte from Italy, review #2225

When: 2005

A simple and wonderful restaurant in Barbaresco.

Directions: Centre of Barbaresco at the junction by the church enoteca. Look for Via Rabaja; take the upper fork.

I know I am always sounding off about how Piemonte has some of the best wine and food in Italy, so I would like to share a description of a nice little lunch we had today in Barberesco, famous for its wines.

Actually, we had an appointment with one of the local wineries, but couldn’t find it, stopped at the local enoteca located in the old church – wonderful – for directions and got chatting to a Scottish lady whose husband owns a local winery, she was giving an art show in the church, so by now we decided to miss our appointment as they would be on lunch break and get lunch ourselves.

So we ended up in Rabaja (pronounced Rab-bye-ya) and what a wonderful treat. The restaurant overlooks the Tanaro river with snow covered vineyards stretching down the slopes and up on the other side to Magliano castle, and then the Alps were sparkling on the distant horizon. Too bad it wasn’t summer as we could have sat outside under the vine pergola, but we had a window table to compensate.

We treated ourselves to 5 antipasti (well, we are in Piemonte after all). First off slices of duck over lightly steamed endive and with a drizzle of Balsamico, perfectly complimentary, then slightly cured slices of veal offset with parmigiano cheese and olive oil. Next came the sformato (flan) made with asparagus, absolutely delicious, followed by yellow peppers with Bagna Cauda (a Piedmontese speciality – literally "hot bath" - a dip made from garlic, anchovies and olive oil) and then cabbage stuffed with minced meat and fried in an egg batter.

We made it through these dishes and ordered a primo piatto each. I had a gnocchi made with squash and gorgonzola sauce and Rina had Agnolotti al Plin (local homemade ravioli) stuffed with eggplant and with creamed leek sauce, which was heavenly, and all washed down (actually that’s not the correct term, but you get the idea) with a Barberesco '99 from the proprietor’s family winery.

No room for second - on offer were rabbit, veal and beef braised in Barolo wine, but we wanted some room for dessert, so we had a mixed dolce plate each – a fig torta soaked in amaretto, pears cooked in wine and panacotta with strawberry sauce – scrumptious.

And the bill – a few cents over 50€, not bad, but then we didn’t have any tartufo. Would we go again – most definitely. Ciao from Piemonte.

(Note this review first appeared in Trip Advisor in December 2005. I am submitting it here as I read the other negative review and want to counter it. It is possible once in a while to have a bad restaurant day, but we have sent dozens of guests to Rabaja this year and they have all loved it without exception.)

Reviewed by: Robert from CA, review #625

When: 2003

Horrible disappointment for our first night in Alba area. Not just below average but one of the worst meals ever in Italy.

Has a very nice patio with a magnificent view over the Barbaresco vineyards. The wine list was extensive as could be expected in a restaurant with a established reputation; we had a very nice 1988 Marchesi de Gresy Barbaresco.

The food was disappointing; my wife’s risotto was bland tasting like minute rice, my pasta just ok, followed by my too salty and overdone Brasato al Barbaresco.

One of the worst meals I have had in Italy. Possibly it was an off night - we were there when one other table was occupied. NOT RECOMMENDED.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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