It’s Saturday evening. The sun is going down behind the Alps, shops are closing, in the city center the number of cars is increasing minute by minute, and finding a free parking space becomes a real mission impossible. Saturday night fever has officially started… Turin’s citizens, regardless of age and what's in one's wallet, are going out to meet with friends and eat out.
In Italy, evening usually starts with a nice aperitivo – which consists of snacks (mini sandwiches, peanuts, or even some hot dishes offered as a buffet) included in the price of a drink. The trend of aperitivo as a social phenomenon started at the beginning of the 20th century in Milan – at first, as a glass of wine served with olives. However, the aperitif as an alcoholic drink (18-35 % of alcohol) flavored with herbs and spices was born in Turin in 1786, when Antonio Benedetto Carpano created vermouth as an appetite stimulant, served before the meal. These days, aperitivo is a fantastic opportunity to hang out with friends or simply an economical way to satisfy the first gnawings of hunger before the main meal.
Especially because in Italy, people eat dinner late. When going out with friends, I usually ended up eating dinner at 9.00 p.m., if not later. After aperitivo, served in bars and coffee shops after 5 p.m. until dinnertime or later, evening continues in one of the city's many fine restaurants.
In Turin, you will find restaurants of many types and different cuisines – such as Piano B in via Mazzini, a great place with wonderful, wood-fired pizza. The restaurant is a cozy place, situated on two floors, with elegant booths and interesting decorations. The menu offers pizza, but also dishes based on meat, fish, or frutti di mare, seafood. I had flavorful squid served with green asparagus, an unusual, simple, and delicious dish.
I used to finish eating dinner in Turin around midnight. While walking to the car, I'd often see many people, squares full of life, and crowded clubs. Some streets that are very quiet during the day start to beat with their own life only at night.
Corso Casale, a street outside the city center that heads to the famous Superga monument, is a great example. It’s full of nice restaurants, like Antico Casale, that offers great cuisine from Puglia. Within walking distance, you'll also find sushi bars, pizzerie, and Revolucion with great Mexican food, run by Mexicans, and is spacious, nicely decorated, and the perfect spot for a date or meeting up with friends.
In my opinion, the best pizza you can find in Turin is at the restaurant Fratelli La Cozza in corso Regio Parco. The neighborhood is not the nicest, and the area is not very touristic, despite il Balon. Il Balon is a famous flea market that takes place every Saturday, and every second Sunday of month it transforms into the Gran Balon with hundreds of stands. The restaurant Fratelli La Cozza is just one in the chain Food Company. As an interesting fact, the owner of the group is Piero Chiambretti, a famous Italian TV presenter. The place is huge, arranged in a former factory and decorated in quite an unusual way. Outside Turin in Beinasco, you can go to L’Angolo Partenopeo, specializing in pizzas, frutti di mare, and fish dishes.
Of course, the center of Turin is full of great restaurants as well. I very much liked El Centenario, just a few steps from Piazza Solferino. Great Mexican food (I found it even better than Revolucion) and a specious place.
If you have favorite Turin restaurants, please comment and let me know!
I’m Polish blogger and freelance journalist tasting “la dolce vita” by traveling around Piedmont. As Italia is my passion since the childhood I’m happy having the chance to discover the kingdom of great cuisine and probably the best wines in the world, but also charming little towns and interesting history. My blog Bel Piemonte (available also in Polish and in Italian) was born to show the beauty of this region and to encourage others to discover this part of the Apennine Peninsula.Website: www.belpiemonte.com/en/