Do you know which is one of the most famous food in Liguria? Pesto alla genovese is popular worldwide, but here you’ll find what “pesto” really means and how pesto alla genovese should be… full-flavoured. First of all, when you hear pesto you don’t have to think about just of the green variety, it can refer to almost any mix of herbs that are pounded together and put over a pasta. For exemple, in Sicily, pesto rosso is made of tomatoes and almonds.
What to eat in Liguria
Because Liguria is a coastal region in the north-west of Italy which lies on the Ligurian Sea, seafood and fish are found in most recipes: from the ciuppin Sestri Levante – a stew of rock fish with white wine and vegetables to cappon magro – made from cooked vegetables, eggs, many kinds of fish, oysters and lobster in broth seasoned with garlic and anchovies. Tuna, anchovies, sardines and cod are eaten fresh or preserved in Liguria. Another typical seafood dish is capponada, a traditional Ligurian salad made with a special type of savoury biscuit called ‘Galletta del Marinaio’, translated to English as ‘Sailors Biscuit’.
If you’re not a big seafood fan, you can try cima ripiena, another appetizing specialty made from veal breast stuffed with a savory herb scented filling, vegetables, pistachios and cheese held together with eggs. Sounds very tasty, doesn’t it?
Trenette and linguine
If you don’t know the differences between trenette and linguine, you should come to Liguria. Both varieties of pasta come from this region and look like the slightly flattened spaghetti, but trenette are thinner than linguine which allows you to mop up more sauce. It can be served with pesto or potatoes and green beans.
One of Liguria’s most famous cheeses is prescinseua which looks like ricotta, but is softer in texture, similar to thick yoghurt. It is used to prepare pansoti, pasqualine pies and almost all typical Ligurian pies. Don’t miss farinata, a special dish made with a mixture of olive oil, chickpea flour, water, and salt , flattened into a thin layer on cooked on a hot griddle pan.
We can say that Liguria has one of the best cuisine in Italy thanks to a splendid climate which comes from the Mediterranean sea breezes, the mineral-rich soils and the mountains. So, prepare your taste buds for some of the best restaurants in Liguria where you can taste many of the region’s famous delicacies and drink traditional wines.
Liguria’s best places where you can drink and dine with your family
I Tre Merli Ristorante
Pesto is on the menu of most restaurants here, but at I Tre Merli Ristorante it is absolutely delicious. Located right close to the old harbour of Genoa, this is an elegant restaurant with nice views over the harbor. 150 seats, plus 80 more on the terrace, where you can taste the flavors and aromas of the ancient ligurian cuisine, a quick snack made with typical specialties from the wood oven with the classic flour or the magnificent focaccia with cheese. In the Summer evenings, enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset on the terrace on the quay. This place is a little gem and it has something appetizing for all tastes.
Ristorante San Giorgio
With more than 957 reviews on TripAdvisor, Ristorante San Giorgio is one of the most recommended restaurants in Genoa. Great food, great wine choice and great value! Start your dining experience with the steamed octopus with artichokes and garbanzo bean soup. Also, pasta with truffles is incredibly light and flavorsome. With such a warm vibe and excellent high quality food, you cannot resist coming back every time you return to Liguria.
Indarsena Oyster Bar
Are you fond of oysters? Immerse yourself in the world of oysters and taste the most delicious recipes at Indarsena Oyster Bar, here they offer a variety of fresh seafood from shrimps, whelks, oysters, lobster to bulots, Southamerican prawns, Bigorneaux (little black sea snails), clams, sea urchins and all kind of seafood platters. We suggest you to try the Alaska King Crab which is served cold, but with hot butter above. And as the wine works great with seafood, you can opt for a very good 100% Vermentino local wine for only 22 euro. The owner is very friendly and happy to show you what the restaurant can offer. Indarsena is always an excellent choice!
Dau Cila Restaurant
For genuine products, extra virgin olive oil and awesome atmosphere, Dau Cila Restaurant must be included in your traveler list during your trip to Riomaggiore. This restaurant proposes typical seafood and meat dishes from Mediterranean cuisine through excellent ingredients, so that you will discover the unique flavor and aromas of this narrow land, kissed by the sun and caressed by the sea.
Here, you’ll enjoy an excellent selection of Italian wines, especially focused on the wines produced in the Cinque Terre area. Schiacchetrà is a well known and fine dessert wine, as it is produced with the best selection of ripe grapes of wood grapes, albarola grapes and vermentino grapes, grown on the terracing at Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. For a delicious experience, you can order an octopus salad, grilled fish, cuttlefish with squid ink spaghetti, escabeche, and tiramisu – mixed feelings accompanied by a friendly atmosphere. If you are nearby, do not miss a visit to this restaurant. In high seasons, we recommend you call to make a reservation.
A Pie’ de Ma’
Many travelers say that this restaurant is their absolute favorite place to eat during their trip. When you look at the pictures, you’ll realize that A Pie’ de Ma’ is on the top level and offers unforgettable views over the sea, fresh local ingredients and serene atmosphere. Located on the Riomaggiore end of the Via Dell’Amore, here you can watch the sunset behind the cliffs while maybe sipping a cold beer. Apart from the spectacular setting, you can taste classic antipasti recipes such as bruschetta al pomodoro, bresaola, anchovies, caprese, smoked fish carpaccio. Wifi is free, so use it as long as you can to populate your Instagram feed with gorgeous pictures. Make sure to come here if you’re in Cinque Terre, you’ll not be disappointed.
If you are looking for that gorgeous restaurant which is spotted in every single picture on social media with a spectacular view over Manarola and unique combinations of flavors, we are proud to say that we found it! Nessun Dorma is a dream location and the perfect place to have a drink with your loved ones. They don’t have pasta or pizza – their policy is to make your meal different, so you can order the Italian bruschetta, meat and cheese platters and more salads. Try to come early to get a cool spot and enjoy the sunset. If you are on your honeymoon, it’s a must to surprise your wife/husband with a special dinner here. Also, you can book your table online.
Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre
What about a slice of Sicilian cuisine right in Vernazza? Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre is lovely restaurant located in the upper part of Vernazza, where the dynamic Sicilian twins Massimo and Gianluca offer a fun and friendly service along with a wide assortment of authentic Sicilian pastry. If you’re hungry for something sweet, you can try their croissant with a special cream, panzerotti with ricotta, chocolate tarts or millefeuille with chantilly cream. Also, don’t miss cannoli with ricotta cheese or chocolate. Visit this restaurant in order to experience traditional food, friendly service and one of the best homemade desserts in the entire region.
Trattoria Dal Billy
If you’re in Manarola, end your day of travelling at Trattoria Dal Billy! A stone staircase surrounded by lush gardens and lemon trees will lead you to the three layers of this restaurant: two conference rooms and a large open space where you can admire the sea, the village and the hill with gardens. For connoisseurs who don’t want to miss anything in terms of seafood, they can start with stuffed mussels – mussels are enriched by an aromatic stuffing and slowly cooked in a slightly hot tomato sauce. Billy’s noodles is another appetizing dish, part of the restaurant’s tradition: freshly cut pasta with shellfish and peppers, an unusual yet interesting combination, a unique culinary experience. You should make reservations before because this location is very popular.
Meet the fantastic cooking of the Michelin-starred chef Andrea Sarri! He leads the exclusive Ristorante Sarri located on the amazing coast of Imperia in the northern region of Liguria. The menu changes regularly depending on availability and the seasons, but is always balanced, with a variety of flavors and emotions. In the Summer, you can take your lunch right on the sand and enjoy the perfect weather while tasting a special red mullet with purple asparagus, mayonnaise, gin and lemon, one of our favorite dishes. Despite holding a Michelin star, the menu has affordable prices for all tastes: for example, the roasted veal with fois gras, onion, chicory and capper sauce costs around 28 Euros. If you are looking for a restaurant which proposes exceptional and particular dishes, Ristorante Sarri is the perfect place.
As expected, Ligurian cuisine has its own specific dishes with delicate flavors crossed by the scent of the sea and wild herbs over the mountains. From foccacia di recco, cappon magro and trenette al pesto to farinata and pansoti in salsa di noci, the food specialties of Liguria will enchant you everyday. Combine the magical moments while visiting the main attractions of this marvelous region with the freshness of every traditional dish.
Come to Liguria and let yourself be pampered!