Mangia in Turin

Porto di Savona

Porto di Savona in Turin

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.

Fried Mixed Plate, Vitello Tonnato and Truffle Risotto

Fried Mixed Plate, Vitello Tonnato and Truffle Risotto

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!

Da Cianci Piolo Caffe

Da Cianci Piolo Caffe

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!

Piazza Castello

Piazza Castello

Dinner at Il Circolo

Dinner at Il Circolo

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.

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Milan Street Eats

Milan: cioccolati italiani gelato

Milan: Cioccolati Italiani gelato

This summer was quite busy with two trips to Italy (one for work and one for play) and so there’s plenty of delicious Milan street eats to share! Probably one of my favorite gelato shops is Cioccolati Italiani (Via San Raffaele 6), which is right behind Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The best part about this place is that you can choose a flavor of melted chocolate (white, milk or dark) to add to your cone. Talk about the best idea ever! It reminded me of being a kid and eating a Nestle Drumstick and having the last bite be filled with delectable chocolate. While they are famous for their chocolate flavors, I find them too rich (it was the first time I couldn’t finish my gelato). I definitely prefer the fruit and yogurt or fruit and fior di latte combination.

Luini Panzerotti

Luini Panzerotti

Right across the street from Cioccolati Italiani is the famous Luini Panzerotti (Via Santa Radegonda,16). Panzerotti is basically a mini calzone but with a more fluffy dough. Luini offers sweet and salty panzerotti that are either baked or fried. My friend and I ordered one fried ham and mozzarella and one ricotta and cheese. The sweet one did not do much for me because they’re baked and with a more cookie-like dough. The savory one was definitely more promising, but I almost wish they could be served hotter and fresher. With a huge line out the door, they already have them prepared and in a glass case so I can understand wanting to move the line quickly. Considering the hype, it was a little disappointing. I’d recommend saving more room in your stomach for gelato.

Spontini Pizza

Spontini Pizza

One of the best things that I ate was the deep dish pizza at Spontini (Via Santa Radegonda 11). There are quite a few of them in Milan, but the one I ate at was also close to Luini. This pizzeria is super casual and only has standing tables to eat at. They only offer three types of pizza, but it’s reasonably priced at about 3-5 EUR/piece. I loved this pizza and it’s piled high with fresh tomato sauce and LOTS of cheese.

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Buon Appetito in Turin and Milan

Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio in Turin, Italy

Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio in Turin, Italy

Last month, I had a business trip to Turin and Milan, Italy. While it was a jam-packed and busy trip, there was still plenty of time to enjoy the magnificent food in Italy. I’ll start with highlights from Milan.

Trattoria del Pescatore in Milan

Trattoria del Pescatore in Milan

One of my Italian colleagues is also a big foodie and he had recommended a couple of restaurants in Milan. He raved about Trattoria del Pescatore (Via Atto Vannucci, 5). I ended up eating there last minute and I kept calling in hopes of making a lunch reservation. Since they didn’t pick up the phone, I showed up right when they opened at 12:30pm (hence the photo of an empty restaurant). The restaurant owners and waiters were so kind to me and gave me a corner seat. I ordered the bottarga (salted cured roe) and clams spaghetti and Catalan-style lobster. The lobster is not for the faint of heart. It’s definitely a lot of work to eat. I rolled up my sleeves, used my lobster cracker and dug in with my fingers. While the lobster flesh was incredibly tasty, it was much smaller than I expected and expensive. I’d gladly go back and try other dishes. Reservations are an absolute must. The place was packed and they had to turn people away. I really enjoyed the atmosphere because the customers were all locals and a lot of them were regulars. It was really fun to watch the interaction of the staff with some of their most loyal customers.

Giulio Pane e Ojo in Milan

Giulio Pane e Ojo in Milan

Giulio Pane e Ojo (Via Ludovico Muratori, 10) was also recommended to me for their Roman-style food. It was a really quaint restaurant and extremely popular. I enjoyed a delicious bucatini with a slightly spicy tomato sauce with slices of pancetta and a beautiful medium-rare steak. I basically ate red meat every chance I could get since the steak in China is so expensive. Giulio Pane e Ojo must be written up in a lot of tourist reviews because the entire restaurant was foreigners. Next to me was a Russian couple, across from me was British couple and on the other side of the room was a table full of Americans. It didn’t quite have that same local Italian feel that Trattoria del Pescatore had.

Il Giardino dei Segreti in Milan

Il Giardino dei Segreti in Milan

I’ve written about Il Giardino de Segreti (Via Pasquale Sottocorno, 17) before, but I had to mention it again. It was the best meal I had in Milan and it was just as good as I remembered. It’s the best bottarga spaghetti I’ve ever had and the tagliata (rare meat) was amazing. The tagliata is very thinly sliced beef and they serve it rare. I made the mistake of ordering it medium rare. Since the plate it’s served on is very hot, the beef actually continues to cook after being served. So my medium rare became too well-done for my taste. It’s better to just let them serve it their classic house style.

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How I fell in love with Chelsea, New York

Chelsea Market

My foodie heaven, Chelsea Market

I cannot claim to be a New York expert at all. Considering my last trip in July was only my 2nd trip ever to this glorious city, I am a self-proclaimed New York neophyte. I was excited to explore my New York friend Emily’s neighborhood, Chelsea.

Emily semi-joked that she never travels outside of her 5-block radius and I can see why! Chelsea has everything. Who needs to travel when Murray’s Bagel will deliver 2 bagels and cream cheese to your door? Let’s not forget that New Yorkers have laundry service where people come to your door and drop-off your freshly-pressed clothing. Um, if I lived in New York, I’m pretty sure I’d be a lazy, fat cat ordering bagels and demanding people to come pick up my laundry.

Sour Cherry Shaved Ice

Sour Cherry Shaved Ice

I adored Chelsea Market. As an indoor market, it’s a foodie’s mecca, full of bakeries, fresh produce, wine and spirits, and so much more. For those of you trying to escape the NY heat, Chelsea Market is air-conditioned and has this cool, underground feel. My friends and I definitely indulged in treats like shaved ice, crêpes and cupcakes.

From Chelsea Market, you can climb the recently renovated High Line. What was originally an elevated railroad track for freight trains is now a GORGEOUS mile-and-a-half-long public park.

I loved how there were lots of public spaces to sit and cool-shaped benches. I could totally imagine just spending a lazy afternoon reading a book on the High Line or having a group picnic on one of the lawns. The views from the High Line are just as impressive. You can see New York modern architecture at its best with modern apartments juxtaposed with classic buildings (like the Desmond Tutu Center!). If you go to New York, you have to check out the High Line and spend time walking the entire path. At the end (north), you’ll find Tom Colicchio’s outdoor food truck and beer garden waiting for you at the Lot.

Views from High Line

Views from High Line

Outdoor seating at High Line

Outdoor seating at High Line

Tom Colicchio's Food Truck and Beer Garden

Tom Colicchio's Food Truck and Beer Garden

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