Tre Gallini was recommended to me the first time I came to Turin by someone involved in the Slow Food Movement – which began in Turin – back in London. On my last visit I mistakenly booked into the restaurant’s more informal wine bar, Enoteca Tre Galli, which I liked a lot. But this visit I thought I should definitely get to the restaurant.
Tre Gallini is one of Turin’s oldest restaurants. An inn of the same name was here back in the 18th century. The current restaurant was renovated in 1991 and it is still famed for its traditional Piedmontese food and is situated close to Turin’s huge open market.
I booked for 7.45 when it opens in the evening. Another couple – they seemed local – were already there and the empty restaurant gradually filled over the next hour. While Tre Gallini appears in most guides to eating in the city and is hence a destination for tourists, in truth Turin isn’t a very touristy city – which for me is a large part of its charm – and Tre Gallini last night seemed to be full of Italians.
The menu is deeply steeped in traditional Piedmontese food. I keep telling my family they must come here because I like Turin so much, but I do wonder if my vegetarian daughter-in-law, Rachael might feel challenged by the emphasis on meat. Not just meat we’re familiar with but a local liking for innards and cuts of meat that the more delicate diner might find too much. A local speciality is finanziera – a stew of sweetbreads, chicken giblets, brain, cockscombs – which I saw being served to two men sitting next to me. While I don’t eat meat everyday I’m still a confirmed carnivore but such dishes are a bit too challenging for me. I was intrigued though to watch it being served up to my dining neighbours.
There was plenty to tempt me though. I can never manage the traditional 4-course Italian meal of Antipasti, First Course (pasta, risotto), Main Course, and finally cheese and or dessert. I decided to have a pasta dish and then a main.
A good basket of bread and excellent breadsticks came and the menu. The service throughout was very friendly and helpful and I felt truly welcomed. After a discussion with the waiter, I ordered a half bottle of wine, knowing I wouldn’t finish it but it was a cheaper option than having a glass of wine and then perhaps wanting to order a second. Anyway at €12 for a local Nebbiolo from the nearby Langhe area it was good value. In London I might have to pay that for a glass!
An amuse bouche of some bread with their homemade ricotta cheese on top arrived and was a delicious taster of the food to come.
For my pasta course I chose Fresh Noodles, Leeks & Black Truffle (€16). Truffles are another Piedmontese specialty so how could I resist!
It was really delicious and the truffle not too overpowering, which I find sometimes.
My main course choice was Braised Veal Cheek in Nebbiolo Red Wine with Smashed Potatoes (€18).
This was gorgeous, the meat meltingly soft as cheek is; the sauce deeply rich. I would have appreciated more sauce but overall it was a good choice and I enjoyed it.
I ordered dessert and a ‘pre dessert’ of zabione came first. It was excellent; a fabulous zabione.
I had to have Bunet for my dessert, one of Turin’s most celebrated desserts. The name means with cap or beret and dates from as far back as the 13th century, though chocolate was only added later after it was discovered in South America. It’s basically a rich chocolate custard with rum and amaretti biscuits. And it’s very indulgent and delicious!
It was an excellent meal in nice surroundings with a traditional feel and very good service.