Updated: Jun 14
Unexpectedly, some of the most exciting vegan Italian food can be found in Turin (Torino). Here is my latest guide to help you feast as a vegan in the beautiful captial city of the Piemonte region.
Before we launch into where to eat, drink and be a merry vegan - let me provide some context as to why Turin is such a special and unexpected place to find impressive vegan options.
There's no doubt about it, northern Italian food isn't as vegan friendly as the southern regions. In the north, butter, dairy and meat are used more frequently in cooking. The food is generally richer. Historically, in southern Italy, poorer communities simply couldn't afford the luxury of meat and dairy in every meal. Furthermore, the southern environment and climate is conducive to growing vegetables, rather than pasture grazing land for animals in the north.
The average restaurant in Turin may not offer vegan options. It will be traditionally northern. But, never fear, there is a wealth of dedicated vegan spots for you to visit.
So, as you see, discovering a northern Italian city that offers a range of vegan options really is like hitting the jackpot, especially for the vegan traveller. What is it about this group of Torinese cooks, chefs and business owners that have embraced veganism? Spending time in Turin, there is something progressive about this city. Forward thinking. Perhaps this is partly the reason. Perhaps. But for now, let's dive into the wonderful options for you to feast as a vegan in Turin.
CLASSIC NOTHERN CUISINE
Mezzaluna 100% VEGAN
Piazza Emanuele Filiberto, 8/D
This fully vegan restaurant has been open since 1994 by a wonderful vegan husband and wife team Daniela (chef) and Claudio. Rather impressive don't you think?
Visit this restaurant to get a taste of regional classics that you probably won't find anywhere else, including 'bagna cauda', a popular Piemonte dip-fondue traditionally made with anchovies. You can enjoy a more stylish a la carte dinner or a casual lunch. For lunch we chose a chickpea fritter, creamy lasagna and bagna cauda on roasted capsicum. For dinner, we were treated to an antipasto of veganised local meat and cheeses and a primi of hazelnut cream tagliatelle and artichoke mousse. The menu changes seasonally, so be sure to check out Daniela's latest creations.
Open for lunch and dinner (closed Sunday and Monday).
FINE DINING + NOTHERN CUISINE
L'Orto gia Salsamentario 100% VEGAN
Via Monferrato, 14A
Warm and inviting - my favourite way to enjoy a finer dining experience. This restaurant has something for everyone, even the raw foodies. Beautiful dishes and friendly staff - lead by the loveliest owner/chef of all Eduardo Ferrante.
Enjoy a succulent seitan steak marinated in local wine and a starter of Piemonte tomini cheese - made from raw cauliflower and cashews.
Open lunch (weekend only) and dinner (closed Monday).
Soul Kitchen 100% VEGAN
Via Santa Giulia, 2
Speaking of something special, here is one fine dining restaurant I have yet to personally visit - but have heard and seen great things. Perusing Instagram, Soul Kitchen has a penchant for the dramatic, the theatrical. And I want in. Think creative vegetable dishes like an asparagus, truffle and matcha tea 'cappuccino'
Open for lunch and dinner (closed Monday).
CAFES & CASUAL DINING
L'Orto Bistro 100% VEGAN
Via S. Dalmazzo, 14/A
An inviting place to grab a pastry, coffee or fresh juice for breakfast or a filling lunch from the buffet. This is chef Eduardo Ferrante's second restaurant - but offering a more casual experience, perfect for city workers or hungry travellers. Come here for comfort food - filling, healthy, flavourful. Fill up your plate with dishes like savoury slices, vegetable dishes, chickpea slice or lasagne.
Open for breakfast and lunch (closed Sunday).
Ratatouille 100% VEGAN
Corso Tortona, 2G
If you are a sweet tooth and pastry lover - you will find a little piece of paradiso at Ratatouille. Part bakery, part cafe - with everything in between. Imagine all the pastries, biscotti and sweets you never thought you could eat in Italy and then prepare to have all your wildest foodie dreams come true. Feast on cornetti (croissants), crostata (sweet pies) bombolini (doughnuts), cream filled pastries, biscotti of all shapes and forms, chocolates, gelati....and that's just the sweet food. You can also grab a flavourful lunch from the deli - from Italian classics through to international style.
You can also grab specialised vegan groceries.
Open for brunch and lunch (closed Monday).
Efrem 100% VEGAN
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 206/B
A little newer on the block, this bakery offers delectable, drool-worthy pastries, like pistachio cream filled cornetti, cream filled delights, desserts, coffees and savoury snacks, like burgers and pizza.
Open for breakfast and lunch (closed Monday).
Il Gelato Amico 100% VEGAN
Via Principi d’Acaja, 47
If you are looking for a gelato fix that goes beyond the standard lemon and chocolate flavours then you must visit this gelateria. Friendliness and enthusiasm oozes from owner Marco, who has created quality gelati that is vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free. You'll find a fun range of creamy rice milk based gelati like gianduja (Piemonte hazelnut chocolate) or pistachio and you can even add a big dollop of plant-based cream if you fancy. There's also fruit flavours, ice creams on a stick, cakes, fresh juices and frappes. If this wasn't enough - Il Gelato Amico also has a range of chocolate treats.
Open 7 days from 11.30am.
Mondello Gelati VEGAN OPTIONS
Right next door to Mezzaluna Restaurant, this is a handy spot to grab a fruit based gelato after your meal. We first visited Mondello back in 2017 when there weren't many vegan options around and seeing the vegan leaf symbol was a happy sight!
Open 7 days from 12.30pm.
Flower Burger 100% VEGAN
Via Antonio Bertola, 29C
If you'd like a little change from Italian cuisine (and yes, this might be unlikely) pop on over to Flower Burger for a fun meal. Their psychedelic burger buns are colourful and healthy, containing superfoods such as activated charcoal, beetroot powder and turmeric. My favourite is the 'Flower Burger' with a seitan and bean patty, cheddar and the ultimate mayo which they’ve aptly titled ‘Magik sauce’.
Open 7 days for lunch and dinner.
Smile Tree VEGAN OPTIONS
Piazza della Consolata, 9C
A funky bar with playful vegan aperitivo options and creative cocktails. Enjoy your cocktail hour with small bites like pastries, pasta, bruschetta, and perhaps a basket of popcorn for fun.
Open from 7pm (closed Monday).
Gorilla Bar VEGAN OPTIONS
Via Bernardino Galliari, 20/F
For a neighbourhood local vibe - head to Gorilla Bar. Stylish drinks and tapas is the deal here, with clearly labelled vegan options on the menu. Go for chunky chips, dips and falafel balls. If you’re up for something heartier, there is a burger option too.
Open daily from 6pm
Porta Palazzo Mercato
Piazza della Repubblica
If you’re staying at least a few days in Turin (and why wouldn’t you?) then grabbing a few supplies might be worthwhile - especially when markets like Porta Palazzo exist. One of the largest open air markets around, you’ll find great produce at fantastic prices. Stock up on veggies, olives, capers, beans and lentils. You won’t want to go home.
Open daily (except Sunday).
Via Santa Teresa, 3
For more specialised grocery items, Natura Si will have you covered. You’ll also find these stores scattered throughout Italy. Find a plethora of plant-based milks, creams, cheese, meat alternatives and cooking ingredients. Stock up on breakfast supplies with packets of vegan croissants, plain or jam filled. There’s also fresh bread and organic fruit and veg and toiletry items too.
Open daily (except Sunday).
Hazelnuts (nocciole) are a beloved ingredient of the Piemonte area, as is the combination of hazelnuts and chocolate (called 'Gianduia' or 'Giandjua'). The local specialty chocolate Gianduiotto includes a range of vegan flavours, such as dark (fondente), orange and chilli. You can find these chocolates in various stores in Turin or you can visit the two Gianduiotto stores in the city centre.
The gorgeous Pastiglie Leone sweets were created in Turin in 1857 and many of their products are vegan friendly - just look for the vegan label. Not only are they delicious but the packaging is stunning, perfect for souvenirs or keepsakes.
FARINATA - A REGIONAL SPECIALTY
One of the most iconic local foods you must try is Farinata - because it just so happens to be accidentally vegan (and gluten free). It’s cooked similarly to a pizza, in a hot oven but made only with chickpea flour, water, oil and seasonings and is like a flat bread/pancake. Many pizzerie and focaccerie serve farinata. Always check you're getting the classic farinata rather than with any fancy non-vegan additions.
It's worth noting that there are also other eateries I haven't listed where you will find tasty vegan options in Turin. But I'm sure this list will keep you busy, your tummy full and your taste buds very very inspired.
Enjoy your stay in Torino!