The new Eataly just opened in Asti in December incorporating Tuit restaurant. How could we resist popping in for lunch? The location is as central as you can get in Asti, one of the little side streets off the central Piazza Alfieri (the “new” Piazza built in 1700) and almost opposite the Teatro Alfieri Asti’s mini-opera house.
You enter through the Eataly market, which is a mini-version of the big mother store in Turin, lots of nice things, foodstuffs, beverages, tableware etc. It doesn’t have the overwhelming hugeness and ambience of the original, more like a super-quality supermarket and for a visitor I wouldn’t substitute a visit to Turin Eataly (30 minutes away) but its nice to have this store in Asti.
Adjacent to the store is the new TUIT restaurant, actually two, a lunch trattoria on the ground floor and a dinner restaurant on the second floor (an elevator is available if you need it). We arrived at around quarter after midday and were the first people to sit, within a half-hour it was completely full. The downstairs is in an enclosed courtyard with a glass ceiling and wall of plants on one side. The décor is quite modern and minimalist, reminded us of Wagamama in London, wooden floors, tables very close to each other, moulded plastic chairs (quite comfortable) and water served in biodegradable paper cups.
Service was very good, (naturally since we were the first in) and the waitress spoke some English too, not as good as our Italian, but good to know for visitors. The lunch menu was quite reasonable and the food arrived quickly, even after the place filled up, dare I say a trendy quality fast food restaurant with an Italian style?
Rina ordered agnolotti antignano (ravioli with meat stuffing) as a test of how they could prepare a classic dish and since I am on my winter diet (yes we do this even in Italy) I ordered the piatto di vedure (vegetables). The beverage card was more oriented towards beer then wine, with several Lurisia beers (not surprising since Oscar Farinetti, who owns Lurisia is the major shareholder in Eataly), so we started with a glass of prosecco each.
Rina was very pleased with her agnolotti, which measured up to her exacting standards. I was a bit disappointed with my dish, the presentation was superb with an artistic splash of real balsamico, the two peppers with a bit of anchovy were rather minimalist (did they hear me say I was on a diet?), the mini-quiche didn’t have a real flaky and crisp crust; the best part was the stuffed tomato which had a minced meat stuffing, so don’t order this plate if you are a vegetarian.
For second we moved on to salsiccia umido con patate (sausage and potato stew) for Rina and insalata di galleto con vedure (chicken salad with vegetables) for me. Sausage balls in tomato sauce? Edible. My chicken salad was not bad (English for good), better then your average Russian salad, and the vegetables were a small side salad (yes word has spread to the kitchen about my diet). I had a glass of Arneis di Castello Santa Vittorio 2008, my favourite white this year, but the red selection was restricted to 2 Barbera’s, one a bulk Barbera (but only 50 cents) and the other a Barbera d’Asti Briga della Mora Malgra 2008, which was adequate, but not much else.
I felt that to do justice we had to try the dolce, so keeping to the diet, I ordered the homemade gelato fiora di crema which was actually quite good (English for very good!) soft and creamy, not too sweet and delicious.
The bill came to 50 euro, which was tad high for a fast food restaurant! But it was very trendy and not bad and by the time we left the place was hopping, more people waiting for our table, so don’t expect VIP treatment.
We did take a peek at the upstairs restaurant, which overlooks the courtyard and some of Asti’s old buildings, still modern, but less starkly so, and the menu was more in line with traditional Piedmontese dining.
In all quite adequate and trendy…
Tuit per Eataly ad Asti
Via Carlo Leone Grandi, 3, Asti, Piedmont 14100, IT