Trattoria della Posta

After the long airplane ride from Phoenix to Philadelphia, to Rome Italy, and then up to Turin (“Torino”) Italy, it was very nice to find a small neighborhood restaurant (“Trattoria”) within walking distance of the hotel. Before leaving the states, I had used Google Earth to find nearby places and then Google’s search engine to see if there were any reviews or comments by other patrons. The Trattoria della Posta received several reviews, all positive, so it was on my “try this for sure” list.

I arrived in time for the Sunday after-church meal but ahead of the crowd. My table was at the front corner across from the bar but with a good view of the room. The blue door to the kitchen was open and although I never glimpsed anyone back there, from the occasional clatter of dishes, it was clearly in use. Another dining area, behind the plant, was occupied by several regulars who kept the bar busy.

I ordered a bottle of “Frizzante” (fizzy) water and whatever wine they had that was local. I’ve since forgotten the name but it turned out to be a pleasant red, very drinkable and not overpowering.

Traditional Italian meals may seem confusing at first with the “Antipasto”, then “Insalate” followed by the “Primo” and the “Secondo”, “Dolce” but, in actuality, it’s very much like an American meal. Here’s the translation:

  1. First, you might order something to nibble on. You can call that an appetizer but since the Italians often have this dish before the pasta, this warm-up dish typically contains anything but pasta. Hence, this is the antipasto dish. If you are expecting to make a night of it, order an antipasta so you have something to eat while considering the menu. If you aren’t that hungry, skip it.
  2. Next, at an American restaurant, you’d have a salad. And sometimes that salad will contain pasta. Well, in Italy, this course usually contains pasta, but you can get “Primo” dishes that don’t. If you are hugely hungry, you can get both, hence the “Insalate” (salad) and the “Primo” (usually pasta) dishes. And remember that, at this point, you’re still getting warmed up. If you don’t want that big a meal, you could just have a salad for dinner, an “Insalate”, or you could just have the “Primo” for dinner, the pasta dish. Nothing wrong with a small meal.
  3. Then, if you’re the “meat and potatoes” type, the “Secondo” is your course. This is the, well, the “meat and potatoes” course. If you’ve ordered everything up to this point, you have a much larger stomach than I do. Indeed, I’m good for a “Primo” and a “Secondo”, but that will usually fill me up.
  4. Optionally, you might add a “Contorno” or two, a side dish of salad or cooked vegetables.
  5. But if there’s still a corner of space left, then it’s time for desserts. There can two two, cheese and fruits first, that’s the “Formaggio e frutta”, and then a “Dolce”, a sweet. The latter be the very traditional and delicious “tira misu”. And if you want, you can get a “cafe” with that. When Italians ask for “cafe”, they expect what American’s call an espresso. (You could ask for a “cafe american” but, hey, when in Rome, …) And for your “cafe”, you can ask for a double, and for decaf if you wish.

On the other hand, sometimes people just come in to stand at the bar, have a glass of wine and some good conversation.

And when you find a nice neighborhood place, don’t be surprised to find members of the multi-generation family coming in and all the work coming to a halt for the duration of the visit. Just lean back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Oh, did I forget to mention the after-dinner “digestivo”? This one reminded me of the raisin wine we used to steal from a neighbor’s illegal supply when I was a kid. I enjoyed this glass after my large meal in Italy as well as the memories it provoked of so many years ago.

On the menu, some of these will be speleed slightly different: Primi, Secondi, Contorni and Digestivi but just think of “pasta salad first”, “main course second ‘contorted’ with a side”, a sweet (Dolce) and then something for the digestion.

During my week long visit to “Torino”, I would have another meal at this same place and it would be every bit as enjoyable as the first.

For my second meal I had the local red wine again, homemade agnolotti with butter and then the Finanziera (interior parts of beef cooked with vegetables – and yes, that was *very* different!). I skipped the dessert and coffee and went directly to my favorite, a small glass of limoncello.

Oh, and as in the UK, all the public places in Italy are now “Vietato Fumare”, No Smoking.

Very nice!

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