Sample the refined cuisine of Piedmont in the region's elegant capital city of Turin.
Before you head out into wine country to discover Piedmont’s undulating hillside vineyards, be sure to pause for a stopover in the region’s capital, Turin. The Quadrilatero Romano neighborhood in the city’s historic center has charm aplenty – cobblestoned streets, bustling farmer’s markets and piazze lined with busy cafes – but the best restaurants in the area can be somewhat hidden. Whether you’re after traditional local dishes or classics with a contemporary edge, these are the local top restaurants in Turin to head to.
6 top restaurants in Turin’s historical center
You’ll want to call ahead to book your place for dinner here a week in advance, such is the demand for the limited tables at this tiny spot. Tucked beside the medieval Church of San Domenico, L’Acino specializes in elegant Piedmontese classics, with especially good handmade pasta. Go for the vitello tonnato to start (cold roast veal, sliced finely, topped with tuna mayonnaise and capers); a primo of their tajarin al sugo di salsiccia – a typical local pasta, similar to tagliatelle but even finer, served here with a sausage-based ragù; the meltingly soft brasato al Barolo (a Barolo-braised meat dish usually made with pork, veal or beef which, not surprisingly, would pair perfectly with a Barolo Riserva) for your main; and wrap it all up with their generous slice of baked chocolate bonèt pudding.
Via San Domenico, 2/A – Turin
On a quiet street near the shopping strip on Via Garibaldi, Ristorante Consorzio is keen on natural wines, wild herbs, heirloom produce, and lesser-known cuts of meat, turning up in traditional dishes with a twist. The ‘La Cruda’ is a menu mainstay, a playful take on the local carne cruda dish (raw, hand-chopped veal akin to steak tartare, served very simply, perhaps with a wedge of lemon and some salt) that typically appears on osteria menus. Here it’s plated as a trio featuring salsiccia di Bra – a spiced, raw veal and pork sausage from the town of Bra about an hour from Turin – with carne cruda, and a raw, breadcrumb-crusted fillet of ultra-lean beef.
Via Monte di Pietà, 23 – Turin
Banco Vini e Alimenti
For a more laid back atmosphere but no shorter a wine selection, head to Consorzio’s sibling diner, Banco Vini e Alimenti. Casual service is paired with a lengthy menu featuring a number of small plates to snack on, like fried friggitelli (sweet peppers) and tender grilled beef diaframma (hanger steak), through to more substantial options like sage-smothered braised tripe and a hefty grissinopoli – an Italian take on pork schnitzel, breaded with crushed grissini breadsticks. There aren’t that many tables, so be sure to make a reservation.
Via dei Mercanti, 13/F – Turin
Da Cianci Piola Caffè
There will likely be a wait to be seated at your table at this ever-lively spot, but locals flock to Da Cianci Piola Caffè for the well-priced set menu. The food is less Michelin standard, more cheap and cheerful, but the portions are pretty hearty given the bill will rarely come in at over €25 all up, including antipasti, primi, mains, dessert and wine. In summer, the tables spill out onto Piazza IV Marzo; come winter, a glass marquee is set up to keep things cozy. The flexible menu lets you choose your pasta and sauce of choice, while the antipasti misti is a good option to share around the table to start, usually featuring the local fresh, sour tomino cow’s milk cheese.
Largo IV Marzo, 9/B – Turin
The younger, cooler sibling to the city’s long-established Tre Galline restaurant (which means ‘three hens;’ Tre Galli means ‘three roosters’), this wine bar-bistro Tre Galli has an extensive wine list and basement cellar. The concise menu highlights Piedmontese ingredients and brings in Italian dishes from further afield. Their agnolotti, a local pasta dish similar to ravioli stuffed with a mixture of veal, parmigiana, and often a bit of nutmeg, are moreish, served with a simple but rich veal gravy. Sit outside when it’s warm, or head indoors to the spacious dining room once autumn sets in.
Via Sant’Agostino, 25 – Turin
How does €10 sound for an appetizer, hearty pasta, glass of wine and dessert? Within walking distance of the major Porta Susa train station, the modern È Cucina restaurant does well for its short but very affordable set menus. There’s usually a choice of two primi – say, fusilli with an almond-basil pesto and guanciale (cured pork cheek) or bucatini with prawns – and two secondi, like grilled seabass with roasted peach, alongside a handful of house wines by the glass.
Via Bertola, 27/A – Turin