I’ve been attending the Slow Food Salone del Gusto in Torino for about 20 years. Although the main event is the mega food fair that happens every two years, i’m always just as excited about visiting and revisiting some of my favorite restaurants.
Antiche Sere is at the top of my favorites list.
I think I first discovered it in the very first edition of the Osterie d’Italia guide published by Slow Food. I remember reserving a table and thinking that it would be half empty, since it’s located very far away from the city center. An old fashioned working class kind of place that is way off of most people’s radar.
I should have known better. The place is always fully booked, so make sure you phone ahead for a reservation, especially during the Salone.
Why is it so popular? This no frills place serves some of the best, most straightforward, Torinese food in town. Plain wooden tables, white washed walls, and simple place settings. Also? They’ve never redecorated, so everything has the original patina from 80 years ago. Which is kind of what you’re dreaming of finding, right?
It’s hard to recommend what to order, since the hand written menu changes daily and seasonally. You’ll usually have a choice of a few antipasti, first courses and main dishes. Definitely start off with an antipasto. The house speciality is a type of ‘salami’ made from pork and boiled potatoes. Spread onto pieces of the crusty bread, it’s delicious.
This past weekend I headed back with Sophie, Gillian and Saskia. Before we could even order, a small plate of salami appeared. While we nibbled we decided to start out with a mix of starters to share. Roasted red peppers were silky and topped with salty anchovies to balance the pepper’s sweetness. Small little fresh goat cheeses topped with a fruity pear chutney, and the slices of frittata made with Swiss chard made me rethink my entire conception of frittata. It was so much richer and more satisfying than most other frittatas because, of course, they used butter.
Sophie had the minestra di pasta e ceci, much soupier than it’s Roman version. A think yellow broth was filled with chickpeas and bits of pasta. Instead Saskia, Gillian and I stayed classic and had the amazingly perfect agnolotti con sugo d’arrosto.
I can’t believe I didn’t take a good photo of the desserts. We were having so much fun jiggling them around, that I just forgot. But I did manage to get them on snapchat. We had one budino di torrone and one creme caramel. These kinds of desserts in restaurants are usually such a disappointment, since they are made with mixes that make the puddings way too firm and gluey. Instead both of these were light and just firm enough to hold together, yet melt on your tongue.
One more thing to add: the service. This family run restaurant has some of the most gracious and good natured service I’ve ever experienced. They make everyone feel welcome and special and their joy at running this very special place is infectious.
Via Cernischia 9 Torino
For more information on dining in Torino and Italy download my app, EAT ITALY. EAT ITALY is a free app, and contains guides to Venice, Milan, Rome, Florence, Torino and Umbria (and an ever expanding list of regions and cities) available as in-app purchases for both iPhone and iPad.
And if you’re coming to Rome you might enjoy my book Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City.