I arrived back in beautiful Turin yesterday and am staying at the lovely Grand Hotel Sitea again. As British Airways is still on a winter timetable I couldn’t get a flight until mid afternoon which meant arriving in Turin at 6.30pm. The taxi ride to the centre is about half an hour so I reckoned I wouldn’t reach the hotel until about 7.30. Thus a plan was needed for dinner; no wandering leisurely round trying to find somewhere. Especially since rain was forecast. A search on the internet led me to book a table at Dai Saletta, a simple trattoria serving typical Piemontese dishes. This was exactly the kind of place I wanted, what I like. And I wasn’t disappointed.
As it was raining and google maps reckoned it would take me 20 minutes to walk to the restaurant from the hotel, I discussed getting a taxi with the receptionist. He thought it was too far to walk. He was right. As I sat in the cab (€8.70) I was so pleased I hadn’t tried to walk.
The welcome as I went in was warm and friendly. I looked round and it was indeed just what I think of as a typical Italian trattoria. I ordered a prosecco and discussed the menu with the waiter. For a starter a mix of typical Piemontese antipasti was offered (€12). I asked him what it was and then said it sounded a lot. But no, the waiter said, it was just little tastes, so I went with that.
It turned out to be quite a lot but all wonderful and indeed all typical Piemontese dishes: vitello tonnato, Piemontese sweet peppers, carpaccio of veal with lemon and Parmesan, fresh cheese, Russian salad and veal tongue with green sauce. It was hard to know where to start and what last gorgeous mouthful to save until the end!
Having escaped into the cosy trattoria from the horrid weather outside, the typical Piemontese dish of Brasato al Barolo (€13) – braised beef with red wine – was very inviting, although there were other dishes I liked the look of too, especially roast veal with a hazelnut sauce. I had some seasonal vegetables with it and it was all delicious and perfect for my first evening. I had a glass of red wine too.
There was an appealing choice of desserts and I chose zabaione. When the waiter told me they served it cold, I almost changed my mind. I’m so glad I didn’t. It was wonderful; one of the best zabaione I’ve ever had. Rich, thick and creamy, served with gorgeous little homemade biscuits to dip into it. The waiter suggested a little glass of local dessert wine to go with it – Caluso Passito.
It was excellent, a lovely sweet wine but not too sweet. It’s made from Erbaluce grapes grown to the north of Turin. I’d never have thought to order it and am pleased the waiter suggested it. I finished with an espresso.
I always order espresso after an Italian evening meal but this definitely wouldn’t be a place to make the faux pas of ordering a cappuccino! (In Italy, cappuccino is only for the morning, up until about 11am.) I was surrounded by Italians in the restaurant, which was great. The only other English voices – American, I think – across the other side of the restaurant.
Dai Saletta was just the kind of place I like to eat: simple, honest food in simple traditional surroundings; friendly service and a relaxing and comfortable place to eat. It’s definitely on my list for a return visit sometime.