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Le strade di Torino


Mar Rosso

Mar Rosso

I once got lost in San Salvario while trying to find my way to a wine bar for aperitivo; I stumbled upon Mar Rosso, stayed for dinner, and the food was so good I never ended up making it to that evening drink.

Alecia


Mar Rosso

Via Silvio Pellico 13/E |  Torino
+39 347 143 9202

Tapas are €4 each; main courses are €11.50


mar rosso torino

A reflection of heritage

“We were the first in Turin to bring African culture here,” says Luca Vivaldo of the Eritrean restaurant his parents opened in the city’s San Salvario district 20 years ago – his father is Piedmontese, and his mother is Eritrean. In 2013, he and his brother Neil opened Mar Rosso down the road from that first venue. “We’re two brothers, half Italian and half Eritrean, but we weren’t wanting a place that’s exclusively African, because we are not 100 percent African – we’re Italian, but second generation,” Luca says, explaining that they wanted to offer traditional Eritrean dishes in a way that would suit their Italian clientele, all in a homey, welcoming space. “We’re carrying forward this concept of ‘Afropolitan’, which brings together ‘Afro’ and ‘cosmopolitan’ or ‘metropolitan’.”

Made from scratch

Using spices from Eritrea, Neil prepares everything from scratch, cooking the dishes he learnt to make at home from his mother. The menu usually features zighni, a beef stew flavoured with berbere – a spice mix that combines garlic, ginger, fenugreek, chilli and korarima (a species from the ginger family) – and injera, a tangy crepe that’s traditionally made with a fermented batter using flour made from teff, a gluten-free grain; Neil has adapted the recipe to use a batter made from rice flour and white polenta in order to make the crepe a bit lighter. “In Turin, we’re the only ones offering this type of cuisine,” Neil says, “I’m really proud when people come here to eat our dishes.” 

Three spaces in one

“The idea is to give the possibility of a choice,” Luca says of the three different rooms inside the restaurant. “The first space that we created was the ‘Afro Room’, where you enter barefoot and eat only with your hands – there are no forks or knives.” They also have another room with low tables and seats, and a third with taller tables and chairs. Whether you’re keen to try their tapas dishes or a main course, the menu is the same across all three spaces.“The idea is to give the possibility of a choice,” Luca says of the three different rooms inside the restaurant. “The first space that we created was the ‘Afro Room’, where you enter barefoot and eat only with your hands – there are no forks or knives.” They also have another room with low tables and seats, and a third with taller tables and chairs. Whether you’re keen to try their tapas dishes or a main course, the menu is the same across all three spaces.


All images © 2017 Alecia Wood

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