Turin, Italy: Best places to eat and drink


As co-founder of soft adventure company Tourissimo alongside his wife Heather Dowd, Beppe Salermo leads active and immersive trips in Italy. The couple are based in Turin during the season and the US the rest of the year. See tourissimo.travel   


Bicerin is a hot, layered drink made with espresso, chocolate and cream that is native to Turin and is a favourite for breakfast when served alongside a croissant. Caffe Al Bicerin, which has been in operation since 1763 and is the birthplace of the drink, is an ideal spot to try it. See bicerin.it


"Piola" means trattoria in the Piedmontese dialect and is a place that is usually family-run and which serves homemade, traditional food at a good price. One of the best is Piola Da Celso. Try the Vitello Tonnato (a typical dish of veal with a tuna sauce) to start and then order a plate of Tajarin (the Piedmontese word for tagliolini, narrow tagliatelle) or agnolotti (a typical stuffed pasta filled with roasted meat or veggies) and wash it down with  house wine. (Via Verzuolo, 40)


Aperitivo culture started in Turin and is still popular here. Much more than a "happy hour," it's time before dinner to meet with friends for good conversation over bitter drinks and salty snacks to "open" the appetite for dinner. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are typically served with an array of snacks. For a few euros more, some bars offer the apericena (aperitivo and dinner), a full buffet of hot and cold food that comes with a drink. There are countless options for aperitivo all over Turin, and one of the pleasures of sightseeing downtown is stopping at any bar or cafe advertising an aperitivo for a snack and some people watching. In many places you can check out the food and buffet ahead of time. 


After your aperitivo, a passegiata (stroll) to dinner is a good way to continue to work up your appetite. Head towards the Po River to Piazza Vittorio Veneto, a lively area with large, outdoor cafes. The simple, unassuming Da Michele restaurant is tucked in the corner underneath a portico and can be easy to miss. Once you find it, grab an outdoor table and order the tegamino (pan) pizza and farinata (baked chickpea flour) along with an Italian or Belgian beet. (Tomagra Sas, Piazza Vittorio Veneto)


Another passegiata and you'll be ready for dessert. You won't be the only one lining up for gelato, even at this time of night. Gelateria il Siculo specialises in gelato and Sicilian-style granita (sorbet) and has some unusual flavours that you won't find anywhere else (violet, passionfruit, anise), along with the classics that are all made daily using fresh ingredients. The line can be long, but it moves fast. And there's plenty to look at in the small space while you wait. (Via S. Quintino, 31)

Tourissimo is running an all-inclusive Piedmont food adventure led by Julia Child Award winning chef, Mary Sue Milliken, September 30-October 6.  See tourissimo.travel/chef-tours/piedmont