As we wind up our Espresso in Torino and Piemonte series (just three more to go!), we pay a visit to Caffè Vittorio Veneto. This café sits at the mouth of Torino’s grand Piazza Vittorio Veneto (known to the Torinese as simply “piazza Vittorio”) — designed in 1825 by architect Giuseppe Frizz, some 360 meters long and 111 meters wide, on the banks of the Po River, and with the Mole Antonelliana looming above.
Compared with the more glitzy center of town at Piazza Castello, just up Via Po, this neck of the woods bustles with foot traffic in decidedly more casual footwear. Part of that has to do with the nearby University of Torino, where cheap books, cheap T-shirts, and cheap eats are more prevalent among the local college students.
The café itself, founded in 1878, isn’t particularly noteworthy. In fact, it’s not even rated in the Bar d’Italia del Gambero Rosso. But it provides a reference point for the classic local café for enjoying an apertivo for “happy hour” (just don’t pronounce the ‘h’s…like a native New Yorker) or for one of your required daily espresso pit stops.
But, oh…the happy hour. As in other northern Italian cities such as Milan, they lay on the happy hour food spread heavy here. Ordering a couple of drinks, you can consume an entire dinner’s worth of accompanying snacks gratis.
Using a three-group Rancilio, they pull shots with a medium and dark brown speckled crema. It has a good degree of coagulation, though it’s not too thick. Flavorwise, it’s mellow — a light peppery flavor that’s a touch subdued for Torino.
Served in Caffè Costadoro logo cups. (Costadoro is one of the most recognizable coffee brands among Torino’s cafés, and yet it is virtually unheard of outside of the area.) At €1, it’s a touch pricey for this part of town. Sometimes the tourists come from other parts of Italy, afterall, to lounge on the square over an espresso.
Read the review of Caffè Vittorio Veneto.
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