Cinque Terre & Portovenere; suggestions please
We'll be in Cinque Terre at the end of Sept, beginning of Oct. Aside from the often mentioned Gambero Rosso, where else do you suggest we eat? We're actually staying in the town of Levanto and hope to visit Portovenere, too. Please give us some ideas for lunch and dinner!
I know what you mean about their pesto being superior, and I found, after a lot of anguish, that their basil is different to what we grow in Australia (and probably the States). I understand that they use in that region basilica di pra (spelling?). Here we use common old basil and it's just not as sweet. Also super olive oil and parmesan sure helps as well.
We're back! We tried to eat at the Osteria in Corneglia, but they never answered their phone and we didn't want to risk climbing all the way up there and then not getting in. We peeked inside when we did finally climb the steps to Corniglia, and it looked like a cute place.
The first night we went to Gambero Rosso -- disappointment. I'm not sure what all the fuss is about actually. Sorry, but I didn't write down what we ordered, but I remember that some of it was very good and some was just average. I also remember that EVERYONE was speaking english. The place seems to be strictly geared to tourists. The service was poor, with the waiter totally forgetting my husband's main course. He asked if we wanted desert and my husband had to say "I'm waiting for my fish"! They also overcharged the people sitting next to us. It was a pleasant evening sitting outside by the water though.
Next night we got smart and stayed in Levanto. Enjoyed a terrific meal at Tumelin. Fabulous seafood risotto for a primi. Hubby had Zuppo di scampi and I had the fritto mista. All were great and the crowd was a mixture of locals and tourists. It's the kind of place where they bring out a huge platter of all the fresh fish they have for the night. It all looked great. Bill, including a bottle of local white wine was E79.
We munched on pizza and foccacia in Portovenere and bought a jar of yummy pesto sauce from a little shop. As a matter of fact, we had some of it last night for dinner mixed with penne and some shrimp. Why is it so much better than my pesto??
Next night we went to L'oasi, also in Levanto. We had a pasta primi (forget exactly what it was) and then shared a grilled dorado fish and salad. Everything was fresh and delish. Sorry, can't find the receipt so forget how much it was.
Both nights we had gelato at a place next door to the Hotel Garden.
I especially wanted to mention that we lucked out and there was a Slow Food activity going on in Levanto (DeGustibus Tour)when we were there. For E20 each, we got a wine glass and a pouch to hang around our neck and spent 4 hours on a historical tour of Levanto with 14 stops for food and wine along the way. All food was local specialities (fried sardines, raviolis, bombolini, cheeses, lemon sorbetto, stuffed lettuce,etc. - finishing off with grappa and limoncino). We were the only Americans on the tour and it was a blast. If my husband hadn't seen the poster hanging on the wall at our hotel we would have missed this. So folks, keep your eyes and ears open and if something like this comes your way, just do it!
please go to Vernazza. go to the Blue marlin, ask for stefano or mossimo. tell them caitlin from los angeles sent you there, and ask for a smoothie. ohhhhh its good. they'll treat you just like family. i guarantee it. then ask them where belforte restaurant is. btw, they all speak english, and go to belforte for dinner overlooking the mediterranian. you'll never regret it.
My wife and my favorite is Osteria a Cantina de Mananan in Corniglia. It is authentic and the ambiance is wonderful. It's located in a small alley in the village. The menu changes daily and is written on a blackboard. The restaurant holds about 10-15 people so you need to make a reservation. Many people get turned away because they don't have reservations. The phone number is (011) 39-0187-821166.
Also, Miki in Monterosso al Mare is very good and you can reserve an outdoor seat looking out at the water.