Restaurants & Bars

Turin/Torino Trip Report

jnwall | May 19, 201711:39 AM     9

My wife and I had a great week in Turin/Torino, thanks in large part to the help we received from this site.

The hit of the trip for us was Consorzio (http://ristoranteconsorzio.it), where we had dinner twice. We were intrigued by the range of antipasti and pasta courses, so made one meal of items from those parts of the menu, then had a more traditional meal for our second visit. We especially enjoyed the crispy egg, anchovy soup, wild herb omlette, and mullet with pickled vegetable antipasti, also the Tajarin with vegetables and bagna cauda, the agnolotto gobbo, the plin of nettles and seirass, and the risotto with brown stock first courses. For our second courses, we loved the veal braised in wine and the pan-fried Shi drum.

The staff at Consorzio was friendly and welcoming, the cooking was inventive, the food was truly delicious. This is a place not to miss, a place that in itself would make a return trip to Turin worthwhile.

In that part of town, but on the other side of the BIG market in Porta Palazzo, and again at a Chowhound recommendation, we found Trattoria Valenza (https://www.facebook.com/Trattoria-Va...), which will fulfill every need you have for a very traditional northern Italian trattoria -- pitchers of house wine, well-cooked Piemontese dishes, lace curtains on the windows, walls covered by old clocks and photographs of 50's Turin -- and a clientele as local as one could hope to join for a meal.

Our second best meal of the trip was at La Badessa (http://www.labadessa.net/), where we ate once, starting with the rabbit with pea sauce and the squid salad, then moving on to the pasta with asparagus sauce and the herb and ricotta ravioli, then the lamb with hazelnuts and roasted potatoes and the expertly seared tuna. The food here is supposedly derived from cooking in monastery kitchens; if that's the case the monks truly dined well.

We were staying in a hotel on Via San Massimo, near the intersection with Via Maria Vittoria, where there is a gathering of really interesting small restaurants. Our favorite was A6 Sciamadda (https://www.facebook.com/A6-Sciamadda...), a hole-in-the-wall featuring fried seafood, which we understand is done in the style of street food in Genoa. All I can say is that the food was delicious, and this place is well worth checking out.

We also enjoyed eating at La Botte Gaia, a very traditional osteria and wine shop on Via San Massimo, and Bruzzone, a small restaurant, also on Via Maria Vittoria (http://bruzzone5.wixsite.com/fratelli...), where the food was good and the waiter insisted in opening bottles of wine he thought we would like and sharing them with us.

Plans we had for a trip into Barolo country for wine tasting did not work out for us, so as a substitute,w e found Casa del Barolo (http://www.casadelbarolo.com/), a wine bar that has an extensive list of fine wines by the glass. Over a lunch of Italian meats and cheeses, I was able to sample a couple of Barbarescos and three Barolos, including a Bussia Prunotto from 2005.

We also went to the original Eataly, a place overwhelming in its scale and and range of items for sale, also in the number of restaurants and wine bars. They say this Eataly is larger than the one in NYC. I do not really know what to make of an Eataly in Italy. The place feels like a shopping mall, and I can understand it in NYC or Chicago, yes, and yes it has everything one could dream of needing to cook Italian food, but why in Italy when the REAL Italy is right outside the door? But the place was very busy, and in a very untouristy part of Turin, so who am I to argue with Italians?

All in all, a fine and rewarding culinary adventure in Turin/Torino, a city far off the usual haunts of tourist Italy, but well worth discovering.

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