Good food can be hard to find when traveling, but luckily I’ve got the best restaurants in Cinque Terre for you today. (If you’re looking for the best gelato in Cinque Terre, I’ve got that covered separately on the blog.) Cinque Terre restaurants can be tricky because of the sheer number of tourists the descend upon the village each day. If you stay overnight in Cinque Terre, you’re bound to meet some locals who will send you away from the frozen calamari and into the delicious restaurants.
Over our last three trips, I’ve been on a mission to find the best focaccia and the best pesto in Cinque Terre. (Both are Ligurian specialties and completely delicious. Who knew basil, pine nuts, and parmesan could be so tasty?) I think I’ve succeeded in scouring each of the Cinque Terre villages and finding the best food in each one, particularly with the limitations of shoulder season.
The New York Times had two articles that helped guide my initial culinary adventures in Cinque Terre: 36 Hours in Cinque Terre and Cinque Terre on a Budget.
Though not much changes quickly in Italy, I’m always up to try new places! If you have a favorite restaurant in Cinque Terre, leave it below!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for tours and products I love at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Best Restaurants in Manarola, Italy
Trattoria dal Billy
Via A. Rollandi, 122, 19017 Manarola SP, Italy
While not a perfect rule of thumb, we have found the farther away from the harbor, the better the food. This was confirmed by Manarola winemaker, Alessandro, too.
Since it was fairly late (for us) when we arrived at La Torretta after a long day of travel, 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. Free prosecco is always good prosecco!
We knew this restaurant was going to be good when we tried the bread.
For our primi course, we ordered two fresh pasta dishes – the tagliolini al scarpara and the tagliolini al pesto. Both pastas 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 fresh seafood options.
We had two pasta courses, a meat dish, and 2 liters of water and our bill was approximately 40 euro. Service was attentive but not intrusive. Billy’s really hit the spot after a long day of travel.
We ended up going back on our last night after our wine tour. Alessandro, with his discerning palate and his brutal honesty, recommended it as one of the best restaurants in Cinque Terre. It was just as good as the first night.
On another trip, we made another late evening trip to dal Billy after arriving in a rainstorm. I don’t know about you but I’m a creature of habit. It was still delicious.
EAT & DRINK AT HOME: Dal Billy has a delicious crema balsamic vinegar. We’ve purchased it from the local Co-Op and brought it home as a delicious travel souvenir. It goes great with my easy Italian focaccia recipe.
NOTE: If you are coming to Cinque Terre on a day trip, there are a couple of restaurants that are closer to the Manarola train station. However, I think dal Billy is worth the hike. If you need more travel tips or need help deciding whether to spend the night in Cinque Terre, please check out my Cinque Terre Travel Guide or some of my other posts on the area!
Best Restaurants in Riomaggiore, Italy
Fugassa & Focaccia
62 Via Colombo, 19017 Riomaggiore SP, Italy
I actually only found this quick service restaurant by its address, which is #62 Via Colombo, (also known as Focaccia e Faina according to the receipt). I love their focaccia with olive. 3 euro is a little on the high side for a small focaccia, but it is absolutely delicious. This focaccia is light and airy with a rich 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 they were only open for lunch when we were there. Plan accordingly.
This is always one of my first stops upon arriving in Cinque Terre. It makes a great midday snack, pairs nicely with wine, and can be quite filling if I don’t feel up to going out to dinner.
NEXT PICK: Alessandro, our tour guide, also recommended Rio Bistrot in the Riomaggiore harbor as great restaurant to try. We couldn’t get in this trip, but maybe next time we’re in Italy, I suppose!
Viale Alessandro Guidoni, 19018 Vernazza SP, Italy
Let’s call this dinner with a view. If you are celebrating a special occasion or anniversary in Cinque Terre, make a reservation at Belforte. You won’t regret it. It’s the most romantic restaurant in Cinque Terre.
We had a 9:00pm reservation on the Belforte terrace, but when we arrived, it was pretty dark so we opted for the cozy dining room instead. The small, stone dining room was quite romantic. We enjoyed the house red wine, which was good but not as enjoyable as the house red at Gianni Franzi.
Since it was so late, we both opted for pasta courses. Tom went for the squid ink pasta, which he proclaimed as the best pasta dish he’s ever eaten. I went for the regional specialty of trofie con pesto, which was very cheesy and absolutely delicious. It had a stronger parmesan flavor, but it was still tasty! Don’t let the picture fool you – it wasn’t oily. 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 for two ran us 49 euro, including wine, bread, and two pasta dishes. I think Belforte is absolutely worth a visit and definitely a special occasion meal. I highly suggest coming at sunset to enjoy the view.
Via San Giovanni Battista, 41,47,49, 19018 Vernazza SP, Italy
I don’t have any pictures, but we had a great meal at Gianni Franzi in Vernazza harbor. Between the scenery and the house wine, I was floating by the end of the evening. I would argue that Gianni Franzi has the best view of all five towns. I love Vernazza harbor.
I’m looking forward to going back for a leisurely meal of prosciutto and pesto. Prices are very reasonable, especially given the location. We sat outside in early April and loved it. The service is the most friendly in Cinque Terre and our waiter was great at making honest recommendations based on the season and what would be best.
Note: Don’t head for the hiking trails after wine! It’s not as good of an idea as it seems. Go when you’re 100% sober.
Piazza Guglielmo Marconi, 8, 19018 Vernazza SP, Italy
We popped in here for some focaccia con olive before hiking up the hillside to enjoy the later afternoon view over Vernazza harbor. A large piece was 2.50 euro and they offered to warm it up for me. (Warm focaccia is even better focaccia!) It was more dense than the focaccia Riomaggiore and Monterosso, but it was very soft and very fresh. I would definitely recommend stopping by Batti Batti for a mid afternoon snack while visiting Vernazza.
SMALL VICTORY: The cashier didn’t criticize my Italian or speak to me in English. I love when I can put my Italian skills to use! It’s the only way they are going to get better!
Best Restaurants in Monterosso al Mare, Italy
NEXT TRIP: Ristorante Miky (Via Fegina, 104, 19016 Monterosso al Mare SP, Italy) is always completely booked when we are in Cinque Terre. Wonderland Bakery is delicious and deserves more investigation. I’m really looking forward to going back to Cinque Terre and trying more restaurants in Monterosso al Mare and Corniglia.
Massimo della Focaccia
Via Fegina, 50, 19016 Monterosso al Mare SP, Italy
Ahat said, there is one focaccia stand, however, that always stands out to us: Il Massimo della Focaccia. It’s 1.50 euro and it’s the best 1.50 euro you’re going to spend in Cinque Terre.
I go with the plain focaccia from Massimo. Just olive oil and salt. That’s all. The portions are HUGE. The focaccia is light and airy – just how focaccia should be. The texture is slightly crispy and perfectly cooked. It’s a real treat if you get there when they pull it fresh from the over.
Massimo is so good and so cheap that we bought a couple to keep in our hotel room for easy snacks. They stayed more fresh than any other focaccia. Tom proceeded to enjoy them for the next few days (and even took them to Florence with us).
Il Massimo is right under the train station and across from the only sandy beach in all of Cinque Terre. If you’re looking for cheap, tasty eats, Massimo is the best in the area!
Best Restaurants Beyond Cinque Terre
Writing this post reminds me that there are still so many restaurants to explore in the five villages, not to mention the restaurants in Portofino, Santa Margherita, or anywhere else. I highly recommend picking up this guide to the Italian Riviera to plan your next trip.
If you want advice from a local, I love the Italian Fix’s concise Guide to Eating in Cinque Terre. If you want to see what we’ve saved from other people’s recommendations, check our my Trip Advisor list for Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera. You can find me under Journey of Doing.
Can’t get to Cinque Terre but still missing the food? Try this easy Ligurian focaccia recipe until we can travel again!
More Cinque Terre Travel Tips: