Good food can be hard to find, but luckily I’ve got the best restaurants in Cinque Terre for you today. (If you’re looking for the best gelato, I’ve got that covered as well.) For the past two years, I’ve been on a mission to find the best focaccia and the best pesto. I think I’ve succeeded.
Best Restaurants in Cinque Terre – Manarola
Trattoria dal Billy – Since it was fairly late (for us) when we arrived at La Torretta, we decided to walk over to dal Billy. We arrived at 9:30pm on a Saturday night and had a short wait for a table in the lower dining room. They gave us a complimentary glass of prosecco while we waited, too.
I knew it was going to be good when I tried the bread. Side note: Dal Billy also had my favorite basalmic vinegar from this trip. It was so creamy, I bet it would be delicious on gelato! For our primi course, we ordered two fresh pasta dishes – the tagliolini al scarpara and the tagliolini al pesto. Both tasted extremely fresh. The pasta was perfectly cooked. The portions were fairly large (by Italian standards). I had the veal scallopini with wine sauce for my second course, and it was good but not great. Go for the pasta or the seafood.
We had two pasta courses, a meat dish, and 2 liters of water and it was approximately 40 euro. Service was attentive but not intrusive. It really hit the spot after a long day of travel. We ended up going back on our last night after our tour guide recommended it as one of the best restaurants in Cinque Terre. It was just as good as the first night.
Best Restaurants in Cinque Terre – Riomaggiore
#62 Via Colombo (also known as Focaccia e Faina according to the reciept) – I had the focaccia con olive. 3 euro is a little on the high side for focaccia, but it was delicious. It was light and airy with a great flavor. It wasn’t oily, it wasn’t dry. Perfection. That’s the word for it. If I had to find a negative, it was a little smaller than the other focaccia I tried, but it was worth it. I was game to just eat this for dinner one night, but it looks like they were only open for lunch when we were there. Plan accordingly.
Our tour guide also recommended Rio Bistrot in Riomaggiore, but we couldn’t get in this trip. Next time!
Belforte – We had a 9:00 reservation on the terrace, but when we arrived, it was pretty dark so we opted for a cozy dining room instead. It was quite romantic and we enjoyed the house red wine, which was good but not as enjoyable as the house red at Gianni Franzi (definitely worth a visit!).
Since it was so late, we both opted for pasta courses. My husband went for the squid ink pasta, which he proclaimed the best pasta dish he’s ever eaten. I went for the trofie con pesto, which was very cheesy. It had a stronger parmesan flavor, but it was still tasty! Don’t let the picture fool you – it wasn’t oily at all. It was cheesy! If we had been more hungry, we would have opted for the flaming seafood risotto dish. The presentation was so impressive!
Dinner ran us 49 euro including wine, bread, and two pasta dishes. I think it’s absolutely worth a visit, but I would highly suggest coming at sunset to enjoy the view.
Batti Batti – We popped in here for some focaccia con olive before hiking up the hillside to enjoy the view over Vernazza. A large piece was 2.50 euro and they warmed it up for me. It was more dense than focaccia I enjoyed in Riomaggiore and Monterosso, but it was very soft and very fresh. I would definitely stop in for a snack in Vernazza. Also – the cashier didn’t criticize my Italian or speak to me in English. Totally a win!
Best Restaurants in Cinque Terre – Monterosso al Mare
I’m really looking forward to going back to Cinque Terre and trying more restaurants in Monterosso al Mare. Wonderland Bakery wasn’t open yet, and there were some dinner places that were completely booked while we were there. There was one stand, however, that stood out on this trip.
Il Massimo della Focaccia – It’s 1.50 euro and it’s the best 1.50 euro you’re going to spend. I went with the plain focaccia. Olive oil and salt. It was HUGE. It was light and airy – just how focaccia should be. The texture was slightly crispy and perfectly cooked. It was so good and so cheap that we bought a couple to keep in our hotel room, and my husband proceeded to enjoy them for the next few days. Il Massimo is right under the train station and across from the beach. If you’re looking for cheap, tasty eats, Massimo’s is where to go.
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