Chef Marco Battaglino opened Osteria Battaglino with his wife, Flavia, to offer clients excellent food in an atmosphere of convivialità (shared pleasure of being around the table together). This is a deeply inherent Italian value with no English word equivalent. (“Conviviality” means friendly, genial or lively.)
Since opening in 2010, they have succeeded on every score. Osteria Battaglino has the friendly air of a local osteria but the food is more typical of a fine restaurant.
Instead of focusing on complicated dishes that need, as he said, “three lines of explanation on the menu”, Marco does gourmet with a balance of simplicity and style…at a reasonable price. “I don’t want to be a celebrity chef, known for individual dishes in a stunning, formal setting,” he told me. “My clients are my focus. They are the stars of the show. I want the meal to be an accessory to their relaxation, enjoyment and pleasure.”
That was definitely the case on the day that I lunched at the Osteria with Nicoletta Bocca of San Fereolo. We looked at the menu full of seasonal delicacies from land and sea…Tajarin di quaranta tuorli al ragú (Local tagliatelle –made with 40 egg yolks–with meat sauce), Il Filetto di Fassona scottato ed il Ranchera D’Alpeggio (Seared Filet of Local Fassona Beef with Local Cheese), Il Tonno Rosso scottato alla griglia (Red Tuna Seared on the Grill)….and so on.
Instead of choosing, we left it to Marco to bring us a seafood lunch that would accompany a tasting of San Fereolo wines. Dogliani is among the Langhe Hills in Piemonte but not far from the sea.
We began with an amuse bouche, a small piece of Bacalà (white fish) wrapped in roasted yellow pepper.
Followed by a spectacular plate of pesce crudo (raw fish).
Then, a classic “fritto (fried fish).
A Risotto with Scampi and Asparagus…
And Lightly Seared Tuna in Sauce
It was a long, leisurely afternoon of delights accompanied by San Fereolo Coste di Riavolo Langhe Bianco DOC 2009 (Read more)
The light and airy dining room of the Osteria…
…reflects Marco’s style of making traditional dishes with a modern touch. He is self-taught having gone to the liceo classico to study Classic Humanities in high school followed by Italy’s Military Academy for college. The rigidity of the army and of the large company he worked in afterwards ironically fired up his desire to express his creativity. He started moonlighting as a cook, then, decided to open the restaurant.
He cooks intuitively from the wealth of knowledge he gained growing up near Dogliani. “My aunt had a restaurant, and my grandfather kept me outdoors: going hunting, working in the garden, walking in the woods,” he said. “I developed a passion for food, a love of Nature and an intuitive desire to learn and experiment.”
He went on to say that the menu is always changing and evolving. “I get bored if I make the same thing too many times. The only problem is that since I never use a recipe, I sometimes look back at photos of things my clients loved and can’t remember how I made them.”
The Osteria is a favorite of local winegrowers and Flavia, who acts as server and wine steward, enjoys pairing their wines with Marco’s food. They have a wide selection of Le Langhe wines as well as wines from elsewhere in Italy and internationally.
By the time we finished lunch, it was almost 4:00 pm, but we couldn’t resist dessert. This light, fresh tart was the perfect ending. I loved Marco’s twist of adding a few pieces of cherry tomato along with strawberries, blueberries and cherries.
The lunch met Marco’s objective perfectly as we had experienced the full pleasure of sharing a meal together: convivialità.
Piazza Martiri della Liberta,12
+0039 0173 742089
Open daily for lunch and dinner. Closed Wednesday.
July 18, 2016