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Genoa

I will be spending a day or two in Genoa and was looking for some good, authentic, Genoese/Ligurian fare in Genoa. Not much info about the city on the board. I have read good things about Antica Osteria di Vico Palla. Anyone been there or elsewhere that they recommend?

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  1. The NY Times ran an article just the other day on visiting Genoa:

    http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/...

    1. I can highly recommend Da Rina for a seafood meal in the great Ligurian fisherman tradition, with warm, professional service. It is fairly priced for the quality. You will spend 50e per person at a minimum.

      http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=...

      I think Zefferino is a kick. It could not be more classically time-warp old school Genovese elegant, in decor and service and the pesto is to die for, so is the fresh seafood, and it's best to go on an expense account (even though it's not the priciest restaurant in town by any means).

      http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cli...

      Finally, for the real deal "ostaja" (osteria), working class food (lunch only), the Ostaja at via San Vincenzo 64 is the place to go for vegetable tarts and whatever is on offer that day. Super cheap, a stone's throw from Brignole station.

      For something easy, I Tre Merli does credible Ligurian dishes and pours its own wine. Just off the Strada Nuova (via Garibaldi) at Vico dietro il Coro della Maddalena, 26

      Genova is still one of those places where you can follow your nose and end up with a great food treat. The caruggi and the sottoripa -- just about everywhere -- abound with great smelling bakeries and other fast food shops serving stuffed anchovies, farinata, and great coffee. I have been known to walk into pasta fresca shops and get a small cup of pesto and dip foccacia in it bought next door. (I'd rather eat a cup of pesto in Genova than a cup of gelato -- although Genova can hold its own on sweets of all description).

      Both David Downie and Fred Plotkin love Genova and both have great restaurant recommendations in their books, in all price ranges.

      3 Replies
      1. re: barberinibee

        Sorry for my typo:

        It's Zeffirino, on the XX Septembre at the Ponte Monumentale

        1. re: barberinibee

          Had an amazing meal, 2 years ago, at

          Enoteca Infernotto (via macaggi, 64, tel 0105703250); found it on a page about Genoa on Mario Batali's site.
          We had a beautiful platter of salumi and the most amazing pesto ever, with carefully selected wines by the very friendly owner.

          Check it out.

      2. Thanks, this is all great. Enoteca Infernotto and Zefferino sound up my alley. Anyone been to Antica Osteria di Vico Palla?

        2 Replies
        1. re: mpierce64

          I haven't, but I recently picked up Fred Plotkin's updated guide to Italy and he recommends it.

          1. re: mpierce64

            I have and it's excellent. It's one of those "back street then down another alley" type of places you'd likely skip if you didn't know better. As such it's full of locals. I'm NY-based but work for a Genoa company and we went there for my first meal on the town. Mostly seafood focused but with a variety of other dishes as well - the quality of the ingredients was excellent. It's quite busy/hectic but in a good way.

          2. I found the Times article to be completely off the mark, recommending things and places that seem to reject what is truly Genovese. You will find more accurate suggestions in David Downie's and my books. I have one more suggestion: take the train from the Brignole station down the coast to Recco. This is the food citadel of Liguria. Go to Manuelina restaurant (285 Via Roma -- a 5 minute cab or 20 minute walk from the station). Be sure to start with focaccia col formaggio, the most gorgeous thing you will ever taste. Then --i Hope you are traveling with someone or will take new Genovese friends-- ask for a bis di pasta, two half courses. You first want trofie al pesto and then pansoti con tocco de noxe. Trust me! The best wine is a pigato. If you have room to get some pesce alla ligure, a simple fish cooked with rosemary and taggia olives, you will be very happy. Ciao, Fred

            3 Replies
            1. re: Fred Plotkin

              Fred,

              Thanks, this sounds great. I will be in the area tomorrow and had one question about Manuelina. On their website apparently there is both a restaurant and a focacceria. Which one is better to go to? I had initially assumed the restaurant is best but the focacceria seems to have some of the dishes to which you referred. I am hoping to go on Wednesday, but the restaurant is closed and only the focacceria is open. Should I reschedule or just go to the focacceria?

              Thank you again.

              1. re: mpierce64

                I would be interested in the answer to this question. Mr Plotkin? Thanks.

              2. re: Fred Plotkin

                I just read the Time article and I have to agree with Fred. If you don't do anything else, be sure to try the Focaccia di Recco as Fred suggested above. It is quintessential Genovese street food that should not be missed.

              3. PS One of the best food markets in Italy is the Mercato Orientale just off the Via XX Settembre not far from Brignole Station. This is an "eastern" market because it is in the eastern part of the city. The fish and produce are phenomenal. Some of the merchants emphasize local produce and you will see peaches from Volpedo, artichokes from Albenga, cherries from Camogli and Basil from Prà, thought to be the best for pesto.

                1. Just wanted to report back and let everyone know where we ended up. In Genoa for lunch we went with a hotel rec, Sa Pesta, which was phenomenal. Completely bare-bones place that probably hasn't been renovated since the 50s with many long communal tables with marble tops. We were the only tourists there and got strange looks when we walked in. The best pesto I've ever had, farinata, fried anchovies, some kind of vegetable tort and house wine which were all great. Many others were ordering meat/veal but we had no room. About 50 euros for 2 and FYI no one really spoke English. Closed in July and August. I will def return. For dinner we went to Enoteca Infernotta. Very casual and simple with an amazing wine selection. Great assortment of salumi and prosciutto and mozzarella to begin followed once again by great lasagna al pesto (though not as good as Sa Pesta). Had a veal Milanese to end which was good but not great. Open late (by Genova standards) until around 11.

                  We also went to Recco and, with apologies to Fred Plotkin, went to Da Vittorio instead of Manuelina because we went with friends that preferred the former. What a great meal. Focaccia col formaggio could be one of the best things I've ever eaten. It was followed by a great mixed seafood plate that included lightly fried baby octopus and grilled langoustines that were full of flavor. Refreshing, homemade lemon sorbet and a fresh apricot tart for dessert were wonderful. I think it was a bit on the pricey side but well worth it. Any time I am in the area I will return.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mpierce64

                    Glad you had a great time eating on the coast!

                    In case others want to know, Sa Pesta is at via dei Giustiniani, 16, near the old harbor.

                    Da Ö Vittorio in Recco is at via Roma 160, about a 20 minute walk from the train station, but using the train station requires walking down steep steps. There is also a regular bus that leaves Brignole station in Genova and reaches Recco in 40 minutes or less, then it is a flat 10 minute walk (and the bus ride along the coast can be pretty.)

                    I haven't got Fred Plotkin's book in front of me, but he used to recommend Da Ö Vittorio in equal measure with Manuelina. Most quality restaurants in Liguria that serve fresh fish and seafood are pricey, but the extra euro are always worth it for the freshness of the ingredients.

                    I don't know anything about Enoteca Infernotta other than it has been recommended by Mario Batali, but my experience has been that t is always a disappointment to eat meat in a Ligurian restaurant, other than the locally produced cured meats. There is a lot of veal Milanese on menus because a lot of Milanese come to the area to enjoy the sea. But it's not the best eating to be had along the coast.

                    If you return to Recco and have the appetite, there is are various makers of foccacia col formaggio, and they are all worth trying, and some can be tried out of bakery storefronts. Il Moltedo's best shop is right off the via Roma, under the train tracks, and Tossini's is in the opposite direction, nearer the river. One of my personal favorites is in the town of Nervi, at La Marinella, right on the sea. They are all slightly different, in texture and tang, although all are made with the classic ingredients.