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Where to stay and eat Italian Riviera west of Genoa?

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Next month after a week in France we will be driving from Nice into Italy and we are looking for a place to stay on the coast for one night before heading up to Piedmont for a few days. I would like to find a very nice hotel with a beautiful view that is close to a picturesque town for walking around, and someplace for an excellent dinner (traditional not overly "precious" food). We would like to stay west of Genoa, ideally between San Remo and Savona, so we can head up to Piedmont the next day without much backtracking and make our lunch at Trattoria Marsupio at 1:30 on the way. It seemed like Camogli and towns east of that were nice, but out of our way. Thought about San Remo and staying at the Royal, but not sure how close that is for walking around the old town. I picture arriving around noon, walking around the town, checking into a hotel, walking around some more, having a delicious dinner, and taking off late the next morning. Have thought about Punta Est in Finale Ligure, but not sure how close to town and whether the town is interesting. Although we want a nice view, we will probably not be lying on the beach. At this point less concerned with cost, just want to make that one day and evening a nice one and the dinner excellent. Help!

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  1. There are really very few beaches that have good sand to lie on in that part of the Italian Riviera, between the border and Savona. Plenty of beaches, but few that are really good.

    By far our favorite restaurant between the border and Savona is Conchiglia D'oro in Varigotti. Here is one post. There are others. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/768884

    Where are you eating and staying in Piemonte?

    1. Thank you for your reply. We are not really looking for lying on the beach, just nice views and very nice to luxurious accommodations. Ideally in walking distance to an interesting or picturesque town to walk around...but not looking for museums or historical sites to visit...just some place to walk around, drink some wine, and soak up some atmosphere.

      We will be there for lunch on Monday May 26 and dinner that night, so will look into Conchiglia D'Oro for sure (if open on Monday)...depending on what town we stay in, as long as the drive is not too far.

      As to Piedmont, someone who lives there, in response to my query and after stating our preference for more traditional and less "precious" and "avant-garde" fare, suggested da Cesare in Albaretto della Torre and Ca' del Lupo and two "dueling" trattoria in Serravalle Langhe.

      I would appreciate any other suggestions as well. WE will be staying at Hotel Castello di Sinio, though we have a car.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rmgrenley

        Really don't care for either place.

        Two "dueling" trattorie in Serravalle Langhe. Didn't realize there were two. Thought there was only the one we had lunch at today. Could you tell me the names of the two. Thanks much.

        Conchiglia d'Oro is open on Monday.

        As far as other suggestions, there are long threads here on Piemonte with many good contributors e.g. Peter Rodgers, rrems and a number of others.

        1. re: rmgrenley

          We have friends in Finale Ligure and have spent a lot of time there, particularly when my husband used to work in southern Piemonte. It's a perfectly adequate beach town, and nearby Finalborgo is worth a visit, but I wouldn't recommend it as a dining destination. I can't recall a single memorable meal on those occasions when we didn't cook at home. Staying in Varigotti and dining at Conchiglia D'Oro might make more sense. You're quite right about staying on the Riviera di Ponente (west of Genoa), though, for accessibility to Piemonte.

        2. Not sure what the names of the trattoria's in Serravalle Langhe are...he did not say. What is the name of the one you ate at, and I assume, would recommend?
          Thanks.

          1. Thinking about staying in Varigotti (? Al Saraceno?) vs. staying in Finale Ligure (? Punta Est?) but having dinner at Conchiglia D'Oro based on all of your recommendations. For some reason the hotel choice is driving me nuts. Would like to be able to walk out of hotel and walk around a town, but driving a few minutes and walking around is no big deal. Any input on either of these (or other recommended hotels)? It's only one night, would like a nice bed and bathroom, a nice view, and even a balcony if possible?

            3 Replies
            1. re: rmgrenley

              Finale Ligure is about seven minutes by car from Varigotti. We've stayed at Punta Est. It is fine, a little quirky, but set high up above the water. Clean, comfortable, nice people, fine for a night. Finale Ligure, as Lisa said, is a perfectly adequate beach town, fun to walk around, if a bit touristy. Noli, which is to the east of Varigotti, is much smaller than Finale and because of the way it is walled, is a lot of fun to walk around for about 15 minutes max.

              The Hotel Albatros, in Varigotti, is a four star place. We pass it all the time, but have never been in it to see the rooms so, unfortunately, can't help you there.

              Knowing what I know, I would go to Conchiglia d"Oro. Trust me. As far as where to stay, you're on your own.

              Peter R and Jeff C. Yesterday, it was beautiful in La Morra. So incredibly clear that the snow covered Alps, as seen from our balcony, seemed right on top of the Barolo vineyards below. Temperature in the high 70s. Right now, Sunday morning, nebbia, nebbia, nebbia, and it is a bit chilly, almost like the beginning of fall; maybe, we'll go out and hunt for some truffles :)

              Good day to have a long Sunday lunch. Will be going to a place that you both know about, but haven't been to in this incarnation (have probably given it away). We're curious to see what it'll be like. We always loved the old place. No matter what, it'll have a great wine list (we think). We'll have an extra glass (or two) of Barbaresco in your honor.

              For both of you, all this will be written up after we leave in eight days. Have already had two very good meals at Veglio and La Torre (probably the best that we've ever had at Torre, among so many good ones) and yesterday, lunch at Coccinella was a gem. How could I have been so dumb in not liking it when we first went a few years ago; glad A wanted to go back... she is right 99% of the time. We're trying a few new, for us, places this coming week, so it should be fun.

              Best to you both and to B and J.

              allende

              1. re: allende

                Allende,

                i'm really going to be sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for your report (and finding out to what mystery restaurant you refer). Just looked at the on-line menu at La Coccinella (we've not been). Mmm. I guess it will have to make the list for our October trip (for which we have just booked flights and six nights at Il Castello di Villa). Your view from La Morra sounds as delicious as the food.

                And rmg, I would second Conchiglia d'Oro. At allende's recommendation, we stopped there last fall. I recall a terrific fritto misto di mare and lovely views from the terrace. My only critique was of the pasta alle vongole, They make it with a fresh pasta, which seems off type.

                Peter

                1. re: PH Rodgers

                  Fresh pasta with hard-shell seafood (or other sauces from the sea) is NOT off-type for Liguria. You will frequently find fresh pasta -- in particular thin tagliarini or ribbony fettuccine -- on menus. It is common of a certain class of restaurants in Liguria, although other restaurants will serve dry pasta with seafood.

                  Fresh pasta is not my personal favorite with seafood, since -- in the wrong hands -- it can end up gloppy, partly because hot pasta continues to cook on the plate, and the business of de-shelling clams or other seafood can be time consuming. (No accusations against Conchiglia d'Oro here, because I've never eaten there.)

                  If it is not plain from the menu, you can ask if the pasta is fresh or dried, and order your preference (don't know what is on offer at Conchiglia d'Oro). Most often in Liguria, trenette is the dried pasta of choice for seafood pasta dishes, or good old spaghetti.