I’ve been very fortunate to travel to Turin a few times in the past year for work and it’s been an amazing opportunity to explore a city that I probably would have normally never seen. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite spots to eat in the city.
Porta di Savona (Piazza Vittorio Veneto 2) is a popular destination for tourists. Set in a beautiful outdoor square with a fantastic view, this is one of the famous restaurants in Turin to get classic Piedmontese cuisine. I’ll admit that the food is here is definitely solid, but you come here more for the ambiance. It’s a great place to have an outdoor meal, have a nice glass of wine or spritzer, and watch the street transform from day to night. One of the most interesting dishes I saw was a mixed plate of savory and sweet fried food. On one plate, you can taste deep-fried lamb and pork and end the meal with deep-fried apple and pineapple. It was quite unique because you don’t normally have your dessert mixed with your main meal, but I liked it. I would definitely recommend the pastas at Porta di Savona (I tasted an amazing gnocchi) and be sure to make reservations because this is a popular destination!
I found Da Cianci Piola Caffe (Largo 4 Marzo 9/b) by researching restaurants that locals recommended. Torinos love this small restaurant for the extremely cheap prices but good food. The restaurant was a little difficult to find because there are three cafés right next to each other and no discernible sign. So stay on the lookout for tables with yellow placemats and napkins. The menu is very small with a few appetizers, two types of pasta with different daily sauces and three main courses. I ordered the vitello tonnato, which is thinly sliced cold veal topped with a tuna and mayonnaise sauce. As you will soon see from all of my food photos in this post, I became obsessed with vitello tonnato and ordered it at every single restaurant. The combination sounds extremely strange, but it surprisingly works. You have a creamy tuna topping (kind of like an elevated tuna salad), which adds a punch of flavor to the more bland veal. For my main dish, I ordered the chicche with eggplant sugo sauce and shredded ricotta. I really loved the chicche, which is basically a potato based pasta like gnocchi, but it has a slightly different texture. The sugo sauce was just so incredibly flavorful (must be all the fresh tomatoes in Italy) and the shredded cheese was a nice salty complement. The appetizers are around 6 EUR and the pastas are 6 EUR so you can easily have a meal here for less than 15 EUR!
The best meal that I had in Turin was at the restaurant at Il Circolo dei Lettori (Via Bogino 9). Il Circolo dei Lettori is actually an old building that is now a public space devoted to reading. Every month, they hold various events like book signings or events for kids. You can even rent out the beautiful rooms for a private event. In the basement is the restaurant where we had an incredible set menu. Highlights for me were the raw steak tartare, which is served very differently from its French counterpart. This raw meat isn’t seasoned with much other than salt, pepper and very high quality olive oil so you’re really able to taste how fresh it is. I really love their rendition of vitello tonnato because the veal was so tender. The meal continued on with fried zucchini flour with an Italian quiche (quite possibly my favorite course) and fresh homemade pasta with porcini mushrooms. While they were both delicious it was a struggle to finish my beef dish and chocolate cake only because we had so many courses! I would completely recommend this restaurant as a place to celebrate a special occasion or take a business client.
I’ve mentioned eating at the casual restaurants at Eataly (Via Nizza 224) in Turin before. But in the basement of the complex, you can find their gourmet restaurant, Casa Vicina. The restaurant is small with only 4 or 5 tables total, and it is a sophisticated dining experience. The presentation and quality of food was absolutely incredible and it was a memorable experience. My appetizer was an elevated bagna càuda, which is normally just a warm dip of anchovies and garlic with butter and olive oil. This bagna càuda was served in a beautiful martini glass with layers of different colorful and flavorful purées. It was so beautiful that I almost didn’t want to eat it. I liked the little attention to detail like serving the appetizer on a signed postcard from the chef, explaining the inspiration of the dish. Talk about a nice memento! My main dish was a beautiful gnocchi dish served with a tomato and pesto sauce and dessert was small platter of different treats. There was a chocolate-covered strawberry gelato popsicle (yum) and my favorite was a grilled peach served with an amaretto and chocolate filling.
Finally, the last restaurant I wanted to mention was Osteria Le Putrelle (Via Valperga Caluso 11). I came here for lunch with co-workers and the food was wonderful. For the appetizer, I really liked the “il flan estivo di ricotta e basilico con emulsione al pomodoro.” While it doesn’t look like much in the photo, it was an amazing savory egg flan that had a really nice consistency and a tomato sauce to brighten it up. Out of all the vitello tonnatos that I had in Turin, I like Osteria Le Putrelle’s version because their tuna mixture wasn’t as creamy. It felt like a lighter version with “fresher tuna” and still good pieces of veal. Again, the picture doesn’t do it justice, but my bucatini pasta was incredible. It had a great texture with slightly thicker and chewier noodles and a fantastic pork ragu that was full of flavor. With an appetizer, pasta, dessert and house wine, I paid 20 EUR for food. I would gladly return to Osteria le Putrelle.
If you have a chance to travel to Turin, I hope this restaurant guide can help you with your decision of where to eat! I guarantee that you won’t regret it.