Piedmont cuisine is indulgent and rich, and many of the region’s traditional products are world-renowned; for example, its quality Fassona beef, its powerful Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera red wines, and the coveted Tartufo Bianco d’Alba (Alba white truffle). As the region’s capital, it’s no surprise that Turin has become somewhat of a foodie-haven with many gourmet and Michelin-starred restaurants. Begin with this short list.
Ristorante Del Cambio
An exquisite formal dining venue founded in 1757, Ristorante Del Cambio is a Turin gastronomic landmark that counts Mozart, Verdi and Casanova among its guests. For something truly special, take the elaborate six-course tasting menu (€135 a head). If that’s not your speed, there is also a light lunch and à la carte menu to choose from. All of the menus celebrate traditional Piedmont cuisine. The restaurant space is wonderfully atmospheric: the grand, mirrored dining hall is beautiful and romantic, and then there is a vaulted, contemporary room adorned with dramatic, mural-like paintings by Arte Povera master, Pistoletto.
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Ristorante Consorzio serves haute Piedmont cuisine in a warm and rustic, yet elegant setting – here you can enjoy fine dining but with a little less formality. The price is also equally welcoming as the four-course tasting menu is just 34 euros. Indulge with freshly handmade Agnolotto Gobbo, delicate eggy pasta parcels stuffed with veal, or try bianconero rabbit. Consorzio is also rather serious about its cheese and wine – both menus celebrate local Piedmont varieties so you will definitely discover something new.
Al Gatto Nero
Al Gatto Nero is tucked away on a quiet residential street outside the historic centre of Turin, yet everyone knows about it. It started life as a Tuscan trattoria in 1927 before upgrading to a more formal restaurant in the 1950s. It is still owned by the founding family and the maître d’, Andrea Vannelli, is one of the grandchildren. The heritage of the restaurant is reflected in the sumptuous, traditional menu. For example, an appetiser of red tuna bottarga on soft potatoes; for primi piatti, parpadelle ragu that has been slow cooked in Barbaresco red wine; then a rich meat dish of veal, gruyere and prosciutto or whole roasted orata with leccine olives. Al Gatto Nero was awarded two Michelin stars in the 1960s, but, undeservedly, lost them in the 1980s when competing with the rise of exotic and nouvelle cuisine. The dining room is perfectly unassuming, warm and elegant: white linen tablecloths and sleek mid-century furniture are set against red brick walls and a large stone hearth.
Cafe, Restaurant, Italian, European
Spazio7 is the onsite restaurant at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
, one of the premier destinations to view experimental contemporary art in the city. The minimalist dining space is tranquil and refined with artfully selected finishes: floor-to-ceiling windows, creamy Lecce stone walls, furniture specially designed by artist Rudolf Stingel and artworks by Amedeo Martegani and Alessandro Ciffo adorn the walls. For the menu, chef Alessandro Mecca (who first learned the trade at his family’s restaurant in Turin) combines Piedmont classics, such as vitello tonnato, with his own contemporary recipes. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and then Cafè Spazio7 is open all day from breakfast.
Gaudenzio Vino e Cucina
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Gaudenzio Vino e Cucina opened in 2016 and is a very contemporary take on fine dining reflective of its young patron, Stefano Petrillo – it has marble and stone table tops instead of linen, rough-hewn grey and blue ceramics and exposed bulbs are strung between the bare white walls. The result is a convivial and relaxed atmosphere more typical of a bistro, yet with exemplary, gourmet Italian food. This is because in the kitchen are two rising talents: Michela Cuccovillo (a student of Luigi Taglienti, former chef of the Trussardi in Milan) and Alessio Zuccaro, from a long line of famous cooks. You can also enjoy Gaudenzio Vino e Cucina during aperitivo hour and sample the exquisite cicchetti menu (cicchetti are small plates and snacks, typically served in traditional ‘bàcari’ in Venice). Both the food and wine menus are conscious of sustainability. Lunch service only on Sundays.
Magorabin: Piedmont cuisine, but not as you know it. In old Torino dialect, the ‘magorabin’ is a bogeyman that forces children to finish their meals, which speaks to the chef’s strong character – Marcello Trentini enjoys meeting his clients and discussing his dishes with them, often telling anecdotes about their origin and the unusual ingredients that he uses. The menu, which boasts a Michelin star, is inventive (the dishes often incorporate new flavour pairings and combinations), whimsical and elegant. There are four curated tasting menus – land, water, air and fire – but also à la carte options, and the wine cellar is vast. Magorabin is conveniently located opposite the Mole Antonelliana, the pinnacle of the Turin skyline and an iconic symbol of the city.
At Vintage 1997, the decor and food presentation, much like the website, feels a bit dated. But this has absolutely no bearing on taste and enjoyment; after all, it is Michelin-starred. Located on the very central Piazza Solferino, this long-renowned restaurant will charm you with its old-school format and homemade ice cream. Step into a red room with candelabras and wood panelling to try some of the city’s best traditional dishes alongside other Mediterranean classics and a new vegan menu. The wine list focuses mainly on Italian and French varieties.
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Al Garamond bears the name of a lieutenant in Napoleon’s Dragoons, a subtle nod to the history of Turin and the 18th-century building the restaurant occupies. On the menu, modern interpretations of Piedmont and Sicilian cooking traditions are combined, creating a wonderful breadth of flavours and options. Here you can enjoy both Fassona beef with anchovy sauce and crispy leeks, but also Spaghetti alla Carettera with Mazara del Vallo Squid. Diners can select à la carte or the five-, seven- or ten-course tasting menus. The wine list also celebrates Piedmont and Sicilian vineyards.