The 'electric tomino', the unknown specialty of Piedmontese taverns. What it is and where to eat it in Turin

Apr 28 2024, 15:43
Among the protagonists in the mixed appetizer platters served in old-fashioned taverns, the electric tomino is so named because it's a mouthful that "lights up" the palate and is hardly forgotten. Here's where to eat it in Turin

You might have eaten it without knowing anything about it. Yes, because the "l'tumin eletric" is a great classic of Piedmontese peasant appetizers, a protagonist of the trays served on the table in taverns or, a little further back in time, among the snacks of the late afternoon snack, the snack of the mid-19th century farmer, with cheese, salami, perhaps an omelette, some seasonal fruit, and a glass of wine. In the late 1800s, even bourgeois and nobles offered afternoon snacks, especially in summer, in their country villas, while in the last century it became a focal moment, indeed, in taverns: green or electric tomini with chili, peppers, hard-boiled eggs, Russian salad, pickles and veal with tuna sauce, tench and zucchini in carpione...

It's called electric because it ignites the fire in the mouth, given the generous dose of chili. However, the preparation is very simple: just like the green or red "bagnetto", it's an express sauce made with oil and chili ("spagnolin" in dialect) used to season the typical tomini of Piedmont, available fresh (those of this recipe), dry or aged. Called "canavesani", they are sold in "rolls". Here are the trattorias in Turin where you can find them in this characteristic version.

The electric tomino, the unknown specialty of Piedmontese taverns. What it is and where to eat it in Turin

Osteria Antiche Sere

A treasure trove where the most authentic gastronomic tradition is preserved in an antique and lived context, but always well-kept and welcoming. This is Antiche Sere, a place where you can immerse yourself in the most sincere flavors of classic Piedmontese cuisine: anchovies, roasted peppers, electric tomini, agnolotti with roast sauce, perfectly cooked veal with an excellent sauce. The wine cellar is not imposing, but there are the right references for this menu offered at fair prices. The service is punctual and friendly.

Osteria Antiche Sere – via Cenischia, 9 - 011 3854347 - Facebook


A small place with a few tables in a quiet block, away from the chaos of the nightlife, which just celebrated its 11th anniversary in March. Halfway between an osteria and the typical Turin tavern, you can stop here just for a glass of wine and a snack, nibbling while perched on a stool in an atmosphere of familiarity, courtesy, and informality. Appetizers are also available in tapas version, and almost all dishes can be ordered in half portions. Piedmontese tradition takes center stage (Russian salad, tomini with bagnetto, and anchovies in green sauce, Bra sausage, Fassona beef carpaccio), but there's no shortage of other inspirations and seasonal dishes. Every first Sunday of the month is the "Sunday lunch" (reservation required).

Barbagusto - via Belfiore, 36 - 011 2760233 - Instagram

Il Cavaliere

It has been around since 1958 and has always been managed by the same family, the Lazzeris. The founder, Nello, originally worked as an ice cream maker in Rome then moved to the North and created what over the years has become an institution. Il Cavaliere specializes in skillet pizza and farinata (both made with selected ingredients), but in the rich buffet of appetizers, super traditional, alongside Russian salad, small omelets and pickled anchovies, there are also tomini, both with green sauce and electric.

Il Cavaliere - Vercelli, 79 - 011 852657 -

Antica Trattoria Con Calma

In the middle of the greenery of the first hill, just outside the center, the restaurant welcomes with simplicity and warmth, offering all the advantages of eating in the countryside and more at a "slow" pace: in summer under a pergola, in winter among antique furniture and a fireplace, for the rest of the year inside a very bright veranda. The gastronomic proposal moves along the tradition/creativity track, and there are always options for vegetarians and celiacs: veal with tuna sauce, marinated electric tomini, anchovies in green sauce, agnolotti with three roasts, Nebbiolo-braised veal, mushroom and truffle-based dishes in season. To finish, homemade desserts, ice creams, and sorbets.

Antica Trattoria Con Calma - s.da comunale del Cartman, 59 - 011 8980229 -

Decoratori e Imbianchini

Among the appetizers, there's the trio of Rivarolo tomini with three "bagnetti": in addition to the classic green and the more creative one with char roe and yellow peppers, there's also the red one with pepper sauce. In this case, less electric than the traditional version, i.e., not spicy, but equally noteworthy. We are in a super typical tavern that is part of a broader social project (there's even a solidarity purchasing group), born almost a century ago from the merger of two mutual aid societies. It's also worth stopping by for the beautiful garden with the characteristic vine pergola (the "topia") and for the related initiatives.

Decoratori e Imbianchini - via Francesco Lanfranchi, 28 - 011 8190672 -

Osteria Le Putrelle

For a quarter of a century, it's been a safe bet for eating well at reasonable prices. Born as a wine bar by Giovanni Foresto, in San Salvario, it has become a genuine and convivial trattoria (or rather a "piola") with Piedmontese cuisine that doesn't disdain some excursions from the South. The Piedmontese staples are all there: Russian salad, veal with tuna sauce, raw meat tartare, agnolotti with three meats, and of course the tomini, with green sauce or "bagnet rus" spicy. In "cit" (small) or "gros" (large) portions.

Osteria Le Putrelle - via T. Valperga Caluso, 11 - 011 6599630 -

Caffè-Vini Emilio Ranzini

A place of worship in the city, which has seen everyone come and continues to welcome every generation in a tiny room with a counter, blackboard, a few tables, and a summer courtyard. Open from 9:30 am until dinner time, it's frequented for a glass of red, a sandwich with butter and anchovies, but also, at lunchtime, for the afternoon snack. At that time, you can feast on anchovies in green sauce, tomini, electric and not, sausage, tongue, veal with tuna sauce, hard-boiled eggs, "friciulin".

Caffè-Vini Emilio Ranzini - via Porta Palatina, 9G - 011 7650477 - Facebook

Dai Saletta

Old-fashioned family atmosphere, courteous and accurate service, forty years of glorious activity inaugurated on December 13, 1983, always under the same family management. The dishes, simple and genuine, are the classic Piedmontese ones, and in the typical appetizer platter, there are also tomini with bagnetti, as well as anchovies in green sauce, veal with tuna sauce, and Russian salad. It continues with homemade pasta, from tagliatelle to gnocchi, dressed for example with Castelmagno cheese. Light bill.

Dai Saletta - via Belfiore, 37 - 011 6687867 - Facebook

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