Michael always finds us non-American/British/Australian restaurants to eat at.   Tonight we had dinner at Victoria Restaurant.

These restaurants are always something straight out of the 1960s.   Wood laminate panelling on the walls, the restaurant divided into four separate sections, like a house with four rooms joined together with a central hallway.   Held by the same family for generations and full of locals who live in the apartments nearby.

The prices of the food were fantastic.  Half the price – or less – of those in Australia.  And ten times better food.   Saltimbocca for me, just 12 Euro.   Tagliatelle ai fungi (tagliatelle with mushrooms) for Michael.   A contorno (side dish) of zuchinne trifoliate (zucchini sliced thinly, and cooked with olive oil and herbs) was only 4 Euro.   Bargain.   I remember when we first visited Italy, everything was exorbitantly priced.  Now it seems a bargain.   For dessert I had le lampone con gelato (fresh raspberries with vanilla gelato).  Again, 4 Euro.  Bargain.  The waitress was very good at coaching me with my italian to work out what it was that I was after from the dessert display.

But what was incredible, was how quickly our main meals were served after walking into the joint.  When the waitress put our meals in front of us, we both looked at each other and started laughing.   It would’ve only been 3 mins since we ordered.  Incredible.  At first, we thought, uh oh…this was just reheated and will taste old.  But, no.  It was hot.  And you could tell that the fresh pasta had only just been cooked – because it was homemade pasta, very yellow from the fresh eggs, and it was al dente.   So there’s no way that that pasta was reheated pasta.

The waitress was great….because she didn’t flinch with my terrible italian language skills, but helped teach me how to say things.   She was great at interpreting what I meant.   Like, when I was pointing at the fresh fruit in the dessert cabinet and she I was trying to ask how can I have the raspberries…which was come fatto?  (how done?).

The toilet at the restaurant was another “feature”.  A squat toilet.   I tell you, what goes on????   Why, why, why?   Michael says because its original, in an original Torino building.  How do really old people use it?  They can’t squat down.

I remember the first time I saw one of these.   Singapore Airport.   2005.   I was dog tired after 8 hours of flying and it being 1am in the morning and walked into a ‘cubicle’ to be confronted with a  squat toilet.   I had to do a double-take and thought WTF?   Nooooo, way.    I remember flinging open all the other cubicle doors until I found a ‘normal’ toilet.