There’s nothing better than a sunny day on the Italian Riviera – except perhaps, the perfect evening meal to round it all off! If you’re heading to the stunning strip of Mediterranean coastline this summer, sit back and relax as we’ve done some of the hard work for you. Here are 10 of the Riviera’s best restaurants, just waiting for you to visit and sample their delights.
Stylish Le Bocche serves up homemade pasta and elegant, fresh seafood dishes, but the food is only half the charm: go for the views on offer while you eat. The restaurant is perched in the rocks below the 12th Century church of San Pietro, overlooking the azure Mediterranean waters that your dinner came from.
Calata Doria 102, 19025, Porto Venere
Cheap and cheerful dining in Italy frequently unearths some culinary gems. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior of this pizza house; its rustic pizzas and farinata (a local speciality pancake made with chickpea flour) keep the locals flocking through the doors, making this one of the most vibrant and best value meals in the region.
Via Magenta 12, 19121, La Spezia
Take the boat from Portofino to visit the picturesque Abbey of San Fruttuoso in the bay of Camogli, and grab some lunch at Da Giorgio – a hole in the stone facade of the island serving up an ever-changing menu of freshly caught fish. Dine while you watch the surf lap the base of the abbey.
2 Via Delle Grazie, Novara
Never has the name of a restaurant been more appealing. Translated as The Kitchen of Grandma Nina, this garden restaurant is set in a 19th Century building between the villages of San Rocco and Camogli. It might be an uphill walk to the restaurant, but it’s worth the exertion for the tranquil setting and traditional Ligurian fare, with plenty of meat options as well as fish.
Viale Franco Molfino, 126 Ruta, 16032, Camogli
A friendly terrace restaurant overlooking the yacht filled harbour in chic Portofino, Puny is a popular choice with the town’s many visitors thanks to its quality fare and welcoming host. The menu features fresh seafood ingredients, but expect a twist on the classic Italian dishes. Its reputation precedes it so be sure to book.
P. Martiri Dell’Olivetta 4-5, 16034, Portofino
More wine bar than restaurant, Bacicio serves up authentic antipasti dishes backed with fresh seafood alongside a wide selection of local wines to wash it down. The rustic decor – all up-cycled boat paraphernalia – adds to the traditional Italian vibes.
Via Giovanni Capellini 17, 19025, Portovenere
This tiny eatery found down an alley in old Monterosso al Mare won’t wow visitors with its buffet style dining and its plastic cutlery, but look past the no-frills finish and you’ll find exquisite home cooked Italian food – think walnut sauce, trofie with homemade pesto and stuffed mussels. Certainly a hidden gem and one to shout about.
Via San Martino 3, 19016, Monterosso al Mare
Manarola, one of the handful of fishing villages that makes up the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cinque Terra, sits between lush rolling fields of vineyards and the craggy cliff face – simply a cluster of colourful house facades stacked atop one another. One of the best views of this picturesque village is from the terrace of Nessun Dorma, while enjoying local wines, and plates of cured meats and cheese.
Localita Punta Bonfiglio, 19017, Manarola
A popular hangout with Riviera locals, this sophisticated restaurant serves up high quality seafood in a stylish setting overlooking yachts bobbing in the harbour. Being perched just above the fish market means you can rest assured you’re eating the day’s catch; the whole baked, salt crusted fish is especially recommended.
Via Botaro 2, 16038, Santa Margherita
Lerici tends to attract more Italian holiday makers than the more glamorous spots up the coast in Cinque Terre, which draws in the international crowds. No-frills traditional home cooked Italian fare is what you’ll find at this olive oil mill-turned restaurant (the old wood grinder is still on show in the dining room).
Via Cavour 21, 19032, Lerici