Umberto: the owner of Vintage 1998 shaving truffles for you

Atmosphere: It feels much more informal than at most of Michelin stared restaurants. Colourful walls, very friendly and upbeat staff including its owner Umberto and the dress code is also much more relaxed. The tables are elegant yet cosy and Umberto makes everyone feel like at home. I would call his approach a grandmother’s style – serving you generous portions and adding more and more tasty dishes than you would imagine ordering. But they are so good and he knows what is best on that day so trust him and forget about a light meal.

Vintage 1997

Food: Hearty, generous and superb quality of ingredients. We came still in truffle season so everything one can imagine was or could be enhanced by tremendous truffles from Alba. Impolitely staring at other diners’ plates I spotted amazingly looking Beef tartare served with white truffles, so I had to try it. The starter had not disappointed. I have never had before (yet two courses later it was repeated) such a generous hat of truffles on any dish. Even a thought back about this dish makes me salivating!

Beef tartare with white truffles

My friends from Turin are regulars at Vintage 1997 so I listened not only to Umberto’s suggestions but also to theirs. Their choice of a crispy Artichoke with egg and melting parmesan was exquisite. Again not a very light dish, but full of flavours and calling for some wine to lighten it up a bit.

Artichoke with egg and parmesan

The home-made pasta here are like from a grandmother – no eggs were spared. The Agnolotti egg pasta are one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. I got them simple with butter sauce and another generous shaving of white truffles. If one is very hungry this plate will satisfy immediately, but it can be a shock for some cholesterol-minding customers.

Agnolotti egg pasta with white truffles

From the desserts the homemade Tiramisu is perhaps the most popular but the chocolate aficionados also find plenty of sweets prepared with chocolate. Turin is famous for high-quality chocolate and the tradition spans across centuries, so you much give it a try.

Cuisine: Italian, Piedmontese.

Visit: November 2012

Price: High (but for the quality it is a good value for money).

Drinks: The wine list is spectacular with high- as well as low-priced Italian wines, but also some French treasures. What I appreciated was that Umberto selected to me a lesser known wine for a very reasonable price which tasted marvellous! What more to wish for a serious and even a less serious but price-conscious wine drinker. A bottle of a red Merlot from La Morra Langhe DOC 2006 made without any chemical fertilisers and from low-yielding vines by Fontanazza-Pissotta was surprisingly fresh and deep for a Merlot. Not a very Italian grape, but this wine proved that Merlot can thrive in Northern Italy.

Contact: Tel: +(39) 0115136722; email: info@vintage1997.com

Opening hours: Lunch: 12:30-14:30; Dinner: 20:00-23:00; closed for lunch on Saturday and on Sunday.

Address: Piazza Solferino 16h, 10121 Torino, Italy.