Restaurant Review: Scannabue, Turin

Scannabue is a caffe-ristorante in the buzzy, multicultural area of San Salvario, south of the city centre. I was in that area this morning and stopped by to take a look. I liked what I saw and went in. It wasn’t open but I managed to find someone to book a table.

It’s interesting considering the meaning of a name. When abroad, I know I often tend to just take in a name without thinking about what it means. So – my Italian didn’t stretch this far and I consulted my Italian dictionary app: scanna comes from the verb scannare meaning ‘to slaughter’ and bue means ‘ox’. This seems to sum up the Turinese cuisine well for they do like their meat and meat innards.

The decor is of a sophistcated cafe-bistro kind. They are listed in the Michelin Guide and it showed. I like to have a glass of fizz when I arrive and there was a choice of prosecco or Franciacorta from Lombardy, slightly more expensive at €5.50 a glass but described by the waiter as ‘more elegant’. It came with a good basket of bread so I was able to nibble on this and sip my delicious fizz while I waited for my food.

Then came the delightful surprise of an amuse bouche – a lovely cheese panna cotta with buttery breadcrumbs on top flavoured with Parmesan.

I decided to start with a pasta dish. There is no way I can follow the Italian traditional meal of antipasti, pasta or risotto, main course and dessert. It’s either antipasto or pasta for me and I realised I’d been in Italy since Friday and hadn’t had a single pasta dish. Squid ink pasta with baby calamari, tomato confit, Pantelleria capers and taggiasche olives (€13) sounded very good.

It was wonderful. I’ve eaten some very good food this trip, but this was exceptionally good. So too was my main course of Tender veal cheek slow cooked in Barbera wine served with potato purée (€16).

They rcommended a glass of Nebbiolo wine (€8) from the Piemonte region to go with it.

There were some good desserts to choose from. I went with a Hazelnut trio of ice cream, cake and zabaione covered in chopped hazelnuts (€8). Hazelnuts are grown in the area and used in many recipes.

What a lovely dessert for my last dinner this trip. I also ordered  dessert wine (well Italian glasses of wine are quite small compared to those in London) and asked for the local Passito which I had on my first evening.

I finished with coffee. It came with a little cantuccini biscuit.

It was a fabulous meal; a great ending to my trip. I paid and then it was a gentle 15-minute walk back to my hotel.

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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

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