10 Dec Food finds: the best places for brunch in Turin
Turin is still a little behind on the brunch trend, but more places are now catching up, and as long as you’re not after real English bacon, you won’t be disappointed. I’ve taken one for the team and tried a few brunch places so you don’t have to (you can thank me later), so here’s the lowdown on my five fave brunches right now.
It’s worth mentioning that all of these places are quite small, so spaces are limited. Book ahead if you can!
Right in the heart of San Salvario, the Lanificio (meaning woolen mill) is one of my go-tos, not only for brunch but also for a lovely veggie-rich aperitivo or a yummy after dinner cocktail. It’s a cute place, with a wall full of little framed pictures of sheep (duh, it is a lanificio), and trendy mismatched tables. It’s also clearly one of Turin’s worst kept secrets because it is always full. Couples or small groups have a better chance of being squeezed in if they haven’t booked.
All brunches come with tea or coffee (help yourself), a cold drink (almost anything goes – fresh juice, prosecco, go wild!) and access to the buffet, where you’ll find assorted biscuits, cakes, fruit, yogurt, cereals, breads and jams (and Nutella, obviously). You then choose either SWEET (€10), SAVOURY (€15), or BOTH (€17), and choose one item from the sweet menu (think pancakes, brownies and cheesecakes), the savoury one (think omelettes, croques, or burgers), or, you guessed it, one from each.
WHEN AND WHERE:
Lanificio San Salvatore, Via Sant’Anselmo, 30 (San Salvario). Sundays from 11am.
Located in via Massena, close to the centre but a little more off the beaten track, Slurp is similar in style to the Lanificio – it’s all a bit odd and mismatched, but in a cosy, artsy way. Make sure to show up early if you haven’t booked.
Brunch is à la carte, with options including French toast, sausages and bacon (shh, it’s pancetta), or the enormous Lumberjack (an Italian take on a full English). If you’re in a group, you’d do well to pick a couple of things and share, as you might find that one dish isn’t enough, but two leaves you popping out of your jeans. If you’re accompanied by non-brunch-lovers, there’s a more traditional lunch menu too (but on that note, if the people you hang out with don’t love brunch, get some better friends).
WHEN AND WHERE:
Slurp, Via Massena 26 (San Salvario). Saturdays and Sundays, from 12pm.
Miss Cake has only recently made it onto my list, and is on there mainly thanks to the insanely delicious fruit crumble that I had the first time, and the fact that I came out of there so stuffed that I had to get a bus back home (and that, in my books, counts as a success). It’s again in San Salvario, and has quite a Nordic vibe inside.
Like the Lanificio, Miss Cake is halfway between buffet and table service – you order one dish (usually a bagel or a toastie-type thing), and can then help yourself to the buffet of yummy sweet things, including the aforementioned amazing fruit crumble, pancakes with maple syrup (top tip: try to get a strategic table so you can see when these arrive – they go like hot (pan)cakes), granola, yogurt, cereal etc etc.
WHEN AND WHERE:
Miss Cake, Via Goito 17 (San Salvario). Saturdays and Sundays, from 10am.
I ummed and ahhed a bit about putting Sweet Lab on this list because I really dislike their attempt to decorate the tiny cafe like my grandmother’s living room. That said, in summer you can avoid the questionable decor by sitting in their outdoor seating area, and good grief they make a good Eggs Benedict. Don’t go there expecting sophistication – just embrace the kitsch and stuff yourself silly. Go early to avoid the queues (around midday, the Italian brunchers arrive en masse).
All à la carte, but with a lot of choice. There’s an “English Breakfast” but I have to admit it’s not wonderful, and there are much better choices you can make. The eggs royale is dreamy, and the french toast is also very yum, but there’s something for everyone (bagels, omelettes, cupcakes, all sorts). They’re also un-judgy if you order a coconut milk cappuccino, which is something to shout about in Italy.
WHEN AND WHERE:
Sweet Lab, Principe Amedeo 39 (Centre), weekdays from 7.30am, weekends from 9am.
Located about 200 metres from my front door, this place is my lazy day go-to. Barbiturici has some of the classic elements of Turin’s “alternative” cafés – mismatched chairs, oversized lightbulbs etc etc – but this place also has a weird side. Barbiturico is a fancy name for a medical drug, and the owners have run with the theme. The walls are covered with old hospital-style white tiles, pill cabinets, human anatomy posters and eye-test charts, the kitchen has been signposted as “A&E”, the metal lamps all look like they’ve been pinched from an old doctor’s office, there’s a neon pharmacy cross behind the bar and a friendly skeleton wrapped in fairy lights in the window. It’s odd, and I love it.
A la carte once again, and mainly comprised of a range of croques, bagels, club sandwiches and giga-burgers (with a few more breakfasty things too). Thankfully the food doesn’t come served on hospital trays (although they kinda missed a trick there), and the croques (especially the goat’s cheese one) are to. die. for. They also do a good coconut milk fruity smoothie.
WHERE AND WHEN:
Barbiturici, Via Santa Giulia, 21 bis (Vanchiglia). Monday to Saturday from 9am (except for Tuesday when they’re closed), Sundays from 10.30am.
Last but not least, a place I’ve actually already talked about in a separate post (read about it here). Laleo is a teeny tiny American-style place and is ideal for a quiet brunch with a friend (no big groups – there’s simply not space). Aesthetically, it’s one of the cutest places around, and the food is super tasty too.
Published in advance once a week on Laleo’s Facebook page, you can choose either 3 dishes (from a selection of sweet and savoury) + a juice + a hot drink for €15, 1 dish + a juice for €12, or choose individual dishes à la carte instead.
WHERE AND WHEN:
Laleo, Corso Verona 38 (Vanchiglia-meets-Aurora), Saturdays from 11am.