This is a recently opened restaurant in the sleepy but beautiful Piemontese town of Mondovi. Perched on the edge of 'Piazza' -- the old, noble part of Mondovi, filled with crumbling palazzos, a magnificently oversized bell-tower clock and a large irregularly shaped and very beautiful main piazza-- il Baluardo serves amazing, elegant dishes in a serene and modern atmosphere. It's located on a slightly odd street/area (across from the local elementary school (Scuola Materna)) but don't be offput by that. Once you are inside all the world disappears. Word on the street is that in the next year it may well be awarded a Michelin star, due to the quality and innovation. The chef is fantastically experienced, friendly and not only delivers the goods but you can see him in action in his uber-modern 'theatre style' kitchen. His wife is the sommelier is American and very knowledgeable and friendly . Although the Langhe and other regions of Piemonte (for example, Barolo, Bra, Alba) are known for fantastic food, the combination of modern sensibilities, traditional techniques and the 'savoir faire' that the French can bring to any cuisine makes this a unique and worthwhile restaurant. Not an inexpensive place, but a very worthwhile special occasion spot.
(p.s. there is an interior courtyard 'pocket-sized' garden available for apertifs (and dinner, I believe).
After (or before) Piazza warrants a leisurely stroll and drinks at Cantina Bonaparte, which has a terrace overlooking the Langhe hills. A magic afternoon or evening.
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