The five famous villages that are known as the Cinque Terre in Italy’s Liguria region now rely more on tourism than fishing, but the connection to the sea’s bounty remains strong with fresh fish and shellfish being the stars of menus from Monterosso to Riomaggiore. These are our suggestions for the best seafood restaurants in the Cinque Terre.
The views here over the terraced hillside are just the beginning of how wonderful a meal at Ristorante Miky is. This is one of the best restaurants in the five towns, with sophisticated and theatrical service, fine china and an excellent wine list. Some of the pasta and seafood dishes are wrapped in a paper thin layer of pizza dough that steams the flavors and is very fun to break open. Try the multi-course tasting menu to really experience the delicious flavors of this place. Reservations are a must and ask for an outside table with a view.
Located right in the postcard perfect piazza Marconi in Vernazza, you get it all here. In the middle of the cation there are killer views and stupendously fresh seafood. Don’t miss the tegame di Vernazza, which is layers of tomatoes, anchovies, herbs and potatoes. Other classic Ligurian fare on theme here are stuffed anchovies, mussels and a fish ravioli.
There are only twenty tables at this old fashioned restaurant in the hilltop town of Corniglia, which is almost 400 steps above the sea-level train station. Make sure you have booked a table if you are not staying in the village. Rustic seafood pastas and tomato and rich mussels marinara are good choices here. Also note that this restaurant only accepts cash.
It is a mighty trek up to Trattoria dal Billy from the Manarola train station, but you will be rewarded for your effort with views of the sea and town below once you arrive at your table. You can start your meal here with a 12 piece appetizer that samples the bounty of the region, with a taste of hot and cold anchovies, octopus, squid and prawns. The signature dish here is taglierini alla Billy, which is a fresh pasta with peppers, pine nuts, tomatoes and shrimp.
If you are on a budget or don’t have the time for the long and leisurely pace of an Italian restaurant meal, you have the option in Riomaggiore for takeout. Il Pescato Cucinato is a street food spot that serves cones of freshly fried shrimp, calamari, octopus and anchovies. The portions are generous and great value for your euro. There are a few benches to sit on and enjoy the view.