The hidden gallery of Turin where you can dine amidst marble and antique shops

Mar 12 2024, 18:03
One of the city's three historic galleries, the Subalpina appears in splendid form and hosts some interesting addresses to enjoy the gastronomic soul of Turin, with plenty of tradition, but not only

Polished marbles, enhanced lighting, lush greenery with almost jungle-like tones: the Galleria Subalpina appears more dazzling than ever after the redevelopment at the end of 2023. Set aside - for now - the fears of change, after the acquisition by the US fund Blackstone, which took over all the real estate assets of Reale Compagnia Italiana in the Piedmontese capital. Meanwhile, the Municipality has established limitations aimed at preventing the entry of large commercial chains into the gallery (the only ones now able to afford the exorbitant rent increases in major cities).

The Subalpina Gallery

Inaugurated in 1874, the Subalpina is one of Turin's three historic galleries, commercial areas inspired by the Parisian passages, connections between palaces with glass roofs that filter the light, and sumptuous decorations. Named after the Bank of Subalpine Industry (which covered, in an early form of sponsorship, the construction costs), it connects Piazza Carlo Alberto - via Cesare Battisti - to Piazza Castello and houses the ancient Cinema Romano and precious antique shops, such as Galleria Gilibert, which sells antique books, prints, and wonderful vintage advertising posters (like those of Carpano or Campari).

Historic Cafés

If one encounters one of Turin's historic venues, Mulassano, known for giving birth to the tramezzino, upon entering from the Piazza Castello entrance, inside the Gallery, you immerse yourself in Savoy history thanks to one of the city's most sumptuous and best-preserved signs: Baratti & Milano. Recent renovation for the sign (founded in 1858, it was already there when the Subalpina Gallery was built) with the entry, in January 2023, of the Alciati brothers, Ugo and Paolo, in the management of the venue. Baratti has all the majesty of the great nineteenth-century historic cafés, its splendid halls leave one breathless, with stuccoes, mirrors, and gilding, offering a very extensive proposal throughout the day. Starting from the renowned chocolatier, through the confectionery and excellent pastry. A reference for snacks and aperitifs (the tramezzini are a must), for lunch and dinner, it offers an impressive Piedmontese menu, with tajarin, vitello tonnato, agnolotti del plin in roast sauce.

Dining in the Gallery

It's been almost 40 years since the opening of Arcadia, a venue that is part of the Food & Company group, founded by Piero Chiambretti with the Ferrari family, which manages many Turin establishments. The spacious halls sometimes serve as a scenic backdrop to a venue that, in addition to being a valid restaurant serving Piedmontese and Italian cuisine, also includes a sushi bar. Wide selection of wines and bubbles from Italy and around the world, plus a choice of Italian and Japanese beers. A few steps further, the informal twin of the same property, Sfashion Café, not exactly inside the Gallery, but at its entrance, on the Cesare Battisti side. Restaurant and bar, on weekends welcomes customers at any time of the day, from breakfast to dinner, also to enjoy the magnificent outdoor area on Piazza Carlo Alberto. Fish and pizza cuisine, all inspired by Neapolitan cuisine (Neapolitan cuisine being one of the main reasons for Chiambretti's venues).

Ice Cream and Wines

Also on the Cesare Battisti side, a great reference for a snack is + di un Gelato, a special gelateria that is part of the social project of the Insieme Cooperative, launched in 2009, which helps give new opportunities to young people in difficulty. The proposal is based on high-quality, artisanal ice cream linked to the territory, with classic flavors with particular attention to Piedmontese proposals, from Persi Pien flavor with crunchy amaretti, cocoa, and peaches, to Martin Sec pear ice cream. From the opposite end of the Gallery, perhaps the latest addition among the Subalpina venues, is Dispensa, a delightful contemporary wine shop, in striking Bondi blue tones, with a very wide selection of both wines and spirits, Italian and international. Some magazines, more rooms, a space also for events and tastings, careful and competent service, which advises on the right bottle and encourages you to come back. In Verbania, owned by the same company, there's a nice cocktail bar.

Baratti & Milano - Galleria Subalpina/ p.zza Castello, 27 – Torino -

Arcadia - Galleria Subalpina, 16 -

Sfashion Cafè – via C. Battisti 13 -Torino -

+ di un Gelato - Galleria Subalpina, 32 - Torino -

Dispensa - Galleria Subalpina/ p.zza Castello, 9 – Torino -

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