Our Espresso in Torino and Piemonte series continues with a return to Torino’s Piazza San Carlo. Caffè San Carlo may not be among Gambero Rosso‘s top 18 cafés in all of Italy, but they rated it with a very respectable 3 tazzine and 2 chicchi in its 2008 guide.

Chairs in the piazza, in front of Caffè San Carlo Entrance to Caffè San Carlo under the porticos

With so much competition on this piazza, it may be a little surprising that the Caffè San Carlo holds its own. Its espresso may be weaker than its neighbors’, but they offer the best pastries and best milk-frothing for cappuccini on the square. It has seating out front on the piazza and decorative touches inside, with a small mirrored bar with a monstrous glass chandelier. In the morning, they set out their great pastries in the middle of the place.

Breakfast pastries at Caffè San Carlo The four-group Faema at Caffè San Carlo

Using a four-group E92 Faema, they pull espresso shots with a thin layer of a lighter brown crema speckled with dark brown. The pour is relatively large for the region, and thus not very potent. Still, it’s pretty good and comes with more of an herbal flavor of cloves and spice. Served in delicate IPA cups with the Caffè San Carlo logo.

The Caffè San Carlo cappuccino The Caffè San Carlo espresso

When it comes to cappuccini, there’s no real latte art beyond a basic swirl. But their milk frothing and consistency in their cappuccini is perhaps the best on the square — earning them something of a bonus score. Still a pretty good deal at €0.90.

Read the review of Caffè San Carlo.

Ceiling inside Caffè San Carlo Chandelier in Caffè San Carlo