A glance inside the new Bottega Ristorante da Cesare shows a modest space with room for a couple of tables harnessed by a rustic fireplace in which a spit skewered with goat is rotating over burning embers. As you enter the restaurant and are ushered to a table the modest setting gives way to a damask tablecloth set beneath over-sized crystal glasses and fine china.
The restaurant located in Albaretto, a hilltop town in Italy’s Piedmont region, 30 minutes outside of Milan, is accessible via many narrow, winding, tummy-twisting roads. The owner and chef is Cesare Giaccone who, in the 1980s and 1990s, earned widespread acclaim as a television personality and a culinary master, awarded a place on the world’s best chef lists alongside food world luminaries like Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse. But the perch from which Cesare has long chosen to showcase his culinary stylings is reliant on those intrepid enough to find their way to his modest restaurant.
The menu designed by Cesare is based upon the regions culinary fair. Dishes such as anchovies fried in a dry, light-as-air batter are featured with a duck salad in a whipped egg yolk sauce. Other known dishes include cauliflower swimming in creamy Castelmagno cheese speckled with black truffles, a salad pairing of peaches and locally foraged porcini mushrooms, and his signature risotto “vecchia langa” with a delicate combination of tomatoes and onions. The house ‘dolce’ is a mountain of homemade ice cream tucked under a meringue shell and set aflame as it is brought to the table.