TOP 10 Best Coffee Houses in Turin | I EAT Food Tours
Best Coffee Houses in Turin | Walking with I EAT Food Tours
Turin rhymes with coffee. Coffee as a beverage, of course, but also as a place of tasting.
This blog is the ultimate guide to explore and be amazed by the best coffee houses of Turin. Both the historic cafes and the modern ones.
The historic coffee houses, especially, constitute a significant component of our socio-cultural fabric, having played an important role in the so called Italian Risorgimento (from 1815 to 1861, when Italy became a unite nation and Turin its first capital).
Small museums showing unique charm that has remained unchanged despite the passage of time, the historic cafes have been the favourite scene of socio-anthropological, artistic, cultural and historical-political revolutions from the eighteenth century until the first decades of the twentieth century.
Visiting them today means immersing yourself in a precious, refined and imposing environment and stopping to celebrate and incorporate pearls of memory and glory.
However, we do not want to neglect the importance of incorporating pearls of goodness as well! And what a goodness…
So in this blog I will introduce you to some of my favourites coffee houses among those we can consider as the super famous in town, to which I will add a small itinerary that also includes the most contemporary ones, so as to give you a cross-section of Turin as the guardian of coffee between past, present and future.
At this point I would say that, if you are ready, we can go. Come with me, I’ll take you for a walk to my top 10 best coffee spots in Turin: 5 historic and 5 modern.
If you want to know more, our Chocolate and Sweets Tour in Turin could be the ideal experience if you love coffee, chocolate and the all-round sweet world. Rigorously made in Turin.
But now ready, set, go!
HISTORICAL CAFES IN TURIN: TOP 5
1.BARATTI & MILANO
Baratti & Milano is the re-enactment of Turin glory, declined in the past and delivered to the present days.
It opened wide the magnificent doors of its sweet delicacies in 1848 and since then it continues unstoppable, winning the hearts of visitors and loyal locals who fall in love with it more and more every time, cremino after cremino.
Yes, because one of the signatures by Baratti & Milano is the iconic cubic chocolate, whose goodness is also elevated to the cube, called indeed cremino!
Three layers of ecstasy, composed of a base of gianduja chocolate (chocolate + hazelnut paste from Alba, for those who are not familiar with the local chocolate yet) that marries a heart of pure hazelnut paste and covers everything with another level of enjoyable gianduja. This is the mini Piedmontese sandwich that you can not miss, let’s put it that way.
Turin boasts many master chocolatiers. However, this is my personal opinion, the cremino Baratti is The One. Period.
It doesn’t stop here, though. As a matter of fact, Baratti & Milano is also for me the best place to enjoy a fabulous cappuccino, with an equally fabulous coffee.
To create the most delicious of morning hugs, a very soft creamy cappuccino and the irresistible fragrance of pastry croissants that sparkle in a blaze of delicacy behind the nineteenth-century windows. Yes, great standing ovation for these too.
Among other things, if you do not know what to choose, I suggest you try the most typical of Piedmontese brioches. I warmly recommend the biciulan of Baratti, with its classic horseshoe shape and filled with magnificent apricot jam; Anyway, anything else you choose will deserve your attention… and devotion 🙂
(The biciulan is not always available, but no worries: any other pastry would do its job. Like that delightful croissant filled with fresh made custard cream in the picture, for istance. I love it!)
In all honesty I really struggle to find something that is not worth to taste. It is no coincidence that Baratti represents for me the top of the historic cafès in Turin. I’d probably even say that is my favourite in town for the excellence of the products and the courtly environments.
I would conclude this sort of ode by suggesting you their heavenly mignon pastry, which fully respects the dictates of the Piedmontese petit patisserie. And with an inevitable applause to the location: with some of the regal windows overlooking the amazing and bright Galleria Sabauda. Entrance is Piazza Castello, under the arcades, therefore a very central position. What else? 😉
2. CAFFè AL BICERIN
Certainly the café par excellence in the city and also one of its most representative symbols, not only from a gastronomic point of view. But let’s proceed step by step.
The opening of Al Bicerin dates back to 1763, making it the oldest historic café in our beautiful Savoy.
To tell the truth, however, at that time the name was a different one; it was in fact a place where the aquacedrario Giacomo Dentis administered soft drinks, hot chocolate and other drinks.
It will be only from the early 1800s that, passing the baton to an entirely female management, this small treasure chest of great enchantment will begin to create recipes with timeless charm, that have been carefully preserved through the years.
The most famous recipe produced, which rhymes with Turin (or Turin, to put it in Piedmontese dialect) will be called Bicerin and, given the resounding success obtained, its name will be the one with which the café will be renamed.
So what is Bicerin?
The Bicerin (small round glass in local dialect) is a three-layered delight that celebrates two key ingredients for our city: coffee and chocolate. Whose goodness is joined by that last magical layer of sublime milk cream.
Sounds like anything more than a hot chocolate with cream?
Yet if Dumas was seduced and abandoned and Hemingway included the drink in the list of a hundred things to save in the world, there must be a reason.
Without forgetting Umberto Eco, who here writes some pages of his famous work “The Prague Cemetery”, inspired as much by the splendor of Al Bicerin ambiance, location and by the Bicerin itself, of course.
Although there are countless versions of the famous chocolate beverage native to Turin, the secret recipe proposed by Al Bicerin remains for me, and probably for the most, the best ever. Here at the first sip you will understand where the magic lies. But I do not reveal it, so, for those who have not yet tasted it, I will not spoil the surprise.
I offer you only a small tip to better enjoy this delicacy in three layers: it is forbidden to add sugar or mix the ingredients (then for heaven’s sake, if you like do it, eh).
If you are lucky enough to find a place at the famous Cavour table, you can take a selfie with the statesman and gourmandise who played a fundamental role during the unification of Italy – and so during that historic era called Risorgimento Italiano. Cavour was a very loyal and welcome customer of Al Bicerin. His table is in the corner on the left, just by the entrance. But you can not miss it since there is affixed his image in correspondence.
In any case, whether you sit at the nineteenth-century tables, among ampoules filled with delicacies of a thousand colours and illuminated by a timid candle, or you sit in the external dehoor, which is a pearl set in the small splendid Piazzetta della Consolata, in front of the homonymous sanctuary, you can absorb all the charm of a place that continues to travel arm in arm with Turin for almost two centuries.
3. CAFETERIA OF THE ROYAL PALACE OF TURIN
The cafeteria of Palazzo Reale is usually not mentioned in the list of historic cafes of Turin because it represents a historical but recent concept.
Let me explain you. About a decade ago, following a massive restoration work, the premises of the ancient Frutteria Service of Palazzo Reale, the historic residence of the House of Savoy, took on new life.
Used since 1700 as a place to collect porcelain and fruit, as the name suggests, La Frutteria opens its doors to the public and turns into an exceptional place where you can enjoy a coffee while admiring the frescoed vault of 1846 and surrounded by fine porcelain, silver services and teapots of the Royal House of Savoy – all still kept in the magnificent original furnishings.
In just two words: pure enchantment. If you want to combine the enchantment of the gaze with that of taste, please follow my advice.
Order their hot chocolate, very dense and for this reason prepared just the way we like it, and do not forget to add their superb whipped cream: you’ll catch the Nirvana, or so!
Needless to say, after a visit to the Royal Palace and a lovely walk through the unmissable royal gardens, you will want to feel like Royals, so that is the right place for you.
Unpronounceable name, essential historic café to visit.
Whether you are from Turin, a gastronaut and coffee and chocolate lover or just a curious traveller, stop to pay homage to this triumph of Liberty and Art deco that delights us with its legendary sweet creations since 1921.
At Pfatisch, interior furnishings and exterior display cases have remained the same ever since, which is unique in the city.
And it is precisely here that among Carrara marble counters, mirrors and crystal tops show off melting delight chocolate bars with the unmistakable Pfatisch logo alongside myriads of other delicacies.
Among the highlights that distinguish Pfatisch since the dawn we find the legendary Festivo and the chocolate meringue.
Speaking of chocolate, people from Turin have long cultivated the dream of owning a chocolate museum.
Well, we trust in Pfatisch, who has been working on this project for some time. The café pastry still has its twentieth-century machinery, fully functional, but for obvious reasons no longer in use. The magic of these machines? They are all attached to a pulley that makes them move, a bit like they were chocolate mills!
What can I say: we at I EAT Food Tours can’t wait to see them and make our Chocolate and Sweets Tour even more special and interesting for our food explorers.
If 50 different chocolate pralines, bars of the most varied, leavened cakes and small pastries are not enough because you are more lovers of savoury treats, do not worry. Pfatisch boasts a tasty collection of eighty different artisanal canapes, so consider it for a delightful aperitif stop.
Here it’s a bit like saying go big or go home, basically. We love it!
Among other things, for those who are visiting Turin, Pfatisch is just five-minute walk from Porta Nuova train station, so why not think of a sweet goodbye by stopping here? It will be one of the reasons why you will want to return to visit us.
I attended the gymnasium at the Liceo Classico Massimo D’Azeglio, founded in 1882.
The school has always been mostly populated by the young scions of Turin, the upper and class and also by numerous aristocratic families – incidentally, I did not belong to any of the aforementioned categories. Throughout its history has been chosen by numerous students with great acumen who would later assume a prominent role in the historical, political and cultural panorama of our country.
To mention just a few of the most significant names: Primo Levi, Norberto Bobbio, Luigi and Giulio Einaudi, Cesare Pavese, Natalia Ginzburg…
Well, these brilliant and creative minds used to stop by Platti.
Indeed, to put it better, they had made this café as their favourite meeting place for intellectual, economic and political conversations. Some would have laid the foundations of philosophical-literary thoughts and movements that we still study today. Others the foundations of future empires called Fiat and Lavazza.
Well, Platti was and still is one step away from that high school, so as a teenager who was in love with writing and had many dreams in the drawer, every now and then, timidly, I allowed myself a cappuccino to the counter, imagining that I had gone back in time and that the famous publisher Einaudi was sitting there reading the next book to be published. Fantasizing that it was mine.
Fantasizing at Platt’s is simple. This is such a spectacular place! The only historic café in the city that, through its furnishings and its interiors, synthesizes and blends together three different eras.
The pastry room refers to the refined Louis XVI furniture. Then we have the Twenties who continue to live in the coffee room and in the bar counter. Last but not least is the era of Art Decò with rationalist hints, which we find in the other room created after 1930.
That said, beyond my emotional note, I am sincere when I strongly suggest you to give yourself this special mini tour walking through the time.
POP COFFEE IN TURIN: TOP 5
The blog has moved here everyone, time to discover which are the pop cafès of Turin.
I define pop those cafés that have built up a reputation in the market for a different Italian conception of coffee – both as a beverage and as a place of tasting.
They are the ones who, respecting the principles of Slow Food, believe in and produce only good, clean and fair coffee.
And they are also those who often develop an environment which sometimes is the result of interesting artistic collisions, which then all converge in a special(ty) cup of coffee.
The short list I’ve prepared allows you to explore 4 specialty coffees of Turin, +1 which is a bonus: a small but very interesting variation on the theme.
Specialty coffees in Turin are a growing reality. At the moment there are only four in the city, but I believe in a flourishing development of the concept, given the growth of experts in the field, coffee lovers and coffee connoissuers increasingly involved in the study and research of coffee.
Curious to discover my 5 modern coffee? Come with me!
1.MARA DEI BOSCHI
Before I knew MdB, I thought that Mara was the name of the founder.
No, the idea of the pretty and delicious wild strawberry from which the concept takes its name had not really touched me.
Then I visited their headquarter in Piazza Carlina, tasted their ice cream, their chocolate and, last but not least, their coffee and I imagined Mara as a sort of fairy of the woods with many talents, the lover of some of the most appreciated foods not foods in the world.
Mara dei Boschi is famous for its award-winning and exquisite gelato. But there’s more.
And in fact there is chocolate, made by the skilled hands of Martina, co-founder of the brand. Among the signatures of Mara dei Boschi Chocolate, do not miss the iconic pills. They really give you moments of contemporary idyll of taste. They are funny, conversational and they come with a leaflet. I won’t tell you anything else: go and taste them and show them off during an evening with friends.
But let’s now talk about coffee. In 2020 Mara dei Boschi launched Ialty, making her way along the path of specialty coffees. Riccardo Ronchi, founder of Mara dei Boschi, opens together with other members the first micro roastery in Barolo. And so, in the beating heart of gastronomic excellence, next to the king of wines, today you can also enjoy a trip around the world in a cup of specialty coffee. Let yourself be guided by the brand’s coffee specialists and choose the single origin that suits you between Brazil, Burundi, Colombia, Rwanda and Timor Leste.
The Barolo venue is intimate and nicely secluded. The hidden courtyard is a gem and the interior spaces are very cozy.
Mara dei Boschi located in Piazza Carlina enjoys a position that truly is a gem. Those who are from Turin cannot fail to love it and those who are there for the first time can only be seduced by the charm of the place and the magic of the special triad coffee / chocolate / ice cream – you choose in which order – signed by Mara.
2.ORSO COFFEE LAB
Orso Coffee Lab: A name, a guarantee. Who doesn’t know Orso among locals?
Located a stone’s throw from the lively market of Piazza Madama Cristina, in the multi-ethnic district of San Salvario, this Coffee Laboratory will enchant you with its quirky vintage spaces and will surprise you with an Arabic Ambrosia of which you will soon be happily addicted.
Orso (bear in Italian) is a crazy concept whose style is unmistakable, with attention to every detail.
From the rooms, to the cups with a genius logo to the coffee selection… Everything is made to stimulate and tickle your senses, including the sixth one.
Dedicated to the excellence of the product, the places of origins of their divine nectar are: Chapas, Everest, Kilimanjaro, Jamaica, Rwanda the islands of Indonesia and many others.
Extraction methods: practically all.
3.COSTADORO SOCIAL COFFEE FACTORY
Costadoro was born in 1890 and it is one of the historic coffee brands of the city of Turin. Since then, that’s water under the bridge…or coffee, to stay on topic. In 2018 the brand inaugurates a multi-experiential space dedicated to coffee lovers. Costadoro Social Coffee Factory is born and takes place in the fascinating rooms of Palazzo Bricherasio, in the heart of Turin.
Defined as the flagship of the brand by CEO Costadoro, this Mecca of specialty coffees offers a wide choice of single origins that you can taste with the extraction method that suits you better among: Espresso, Filter, Chemex, French Press, V60, Clever, Aeropress, Cold Brew, Syphon Moka, Neapolitan.
4.GOCCE DI CIOCCOLATO IN ROASTERY
We are on the northern outskirts of Turin. In 2002 Maurizio Galiano and Ivano Baiunco opened the pastry shop Gocce di Cioccolato (Drops of Chocolate).
A few years later, pursuing their dream and cultivating a common passion, the two business partners opened up Gocce in Roastery, a micro roasting of specialty coffees that is today among the most appreciated in the city. Not only that, in 2017 Maurizio and Ivano also decided to co-purchase, together with 28 other partners, a plantation in Honduras, in order to make the entire supply chain completely transparent and sustainable, from an economic, environmental, social and qualitative point of view,
In their café and pastry shop in Via Stradella in Turin they serve a fine Arabica that comes directly from their plantation. In addition to the standard espresso it is of course possible to choose some different extraction methods.
Here, at I EAT Food Tours, we do love a lot this tiny cafè – which is just a few steps away from the Po river and the iconic Great Mother church.
Dopo Caffè means Naples in Turin (litterally means AfterCoffee).
If you love strong, intense, hot, bursting coffee, in short… Neapolitan coffee, look no further because you will not find anything similar and so exquisite elsewhere. In addition, a wide selection of excellent Neapolitan pastry, in which excel, needless to say, the timeless and super crunchy sfogliatella napoletana.
In just 12 square meters, the Neapolitan owners have created not only the smallest bar in Turin but also a milestone for coffee lovers, which in this case is called Kenon Caffè. In Italy there’s an old proverb that says: In the small barrel there is good wine! Wine of Arabia, in this case.
The internal room of this cafè, with petrol blue hues, is very elegant and the external dehoor very popular, a real treat because it is located in a boutique street, as I call it. In fact Via Monferrato is pedestrian, beautiful and full of designer shops where you can have shopping, and then chill at Dopo Caffè.
Among other things, for those who are not familiar with the Borgo Po district, this area of Turin hides many treasures, so I suggest you carve out a day and go exploring. If you want to organize something special, feel free to contact me and I will be happy to create a custom itinerary. Surprising, intriguing and very tasting, of course!
SO IN CONCLUSION…
Thank you readers for staying to the end credits. I hope virtually discovering this itinerary for coffee lovers and more has entertained you with pleasure and has made you curious to come to Turin if you have not yet been there, or to come back, if you loved it.
For those who already live in the city, remember how beautiful Turin is and never take it for granted, otherwise you may offend her.
Let me know the list of your favorites and share new places with me, if you like.
Also, follow us on our social channels, Instagram and Facebook @ieatfoodtours to stay updated on current news.
Until our next coffee togheter, then. Whether virtual or in person in Torino!
About the Author
My name is Cecilia Puca.
I am an Italian social researcher, specialized in socio anthropology of food. Since 2017 I have been creating gastronomic experiences and private & corporate events through a multidisciplinary and creative approach. In 2018 I co-founded I EAT. Food Tours and Events in Turin, my hometown.
Distinguishing mark: severe case of wanderlust 🙂