Stoke up on brain fuel to locate this 46-seat osteria (another name for trattoria) and you'll be rewarded with vibrant Northern Italian food. The restaurant's namesake, the Piedmontese town of Alba, is known for its white truffles, an autumn specialty at the oesteria. Chef Kurt Spak's intimate cuisine off the beaten Portland track (in Hillsdale) includes housemade pastas, carne cruda and a choice of five or six secondi (entrees). Among them: fresh fish, a pork and beef dish, and, when available, pancetta-wrapped sweetbreads with duck livers. Dedication to authentic and ultra-fresh ingredients lifts this white-tablecloth cafe above and beyond commonplace Italian trattorias, of which Portland is chock full. An unhurried Italian vibe and informed service make visits an occasion.