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Aug 10, 2014 07:19 AM

Looking for a seafood restaurant recommendation east of Genoa

I will be travelling to Cinque Terre from Switzerland and will arrive close to Genova around lunchtime. I am not keen on going into the city but would love to find a simple, beachside restaurant in between Genoa and Cinque Terre that serves top seafood at a decent price. Looking for a slight 'hole in the wall' experience rather than anything fancy. Where you can wear flip flops. ;)

I had found a perfect spot but, it is unfortunately west of Genoa and out of the way.


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  1. Unfortunately, on the Ligurian (and Tuscan) coast, top seafood commands a top price. Top prices, in general, only hold in a few places e.g. Santa Margherita and Portofino, and we've never found a really great place in either. There are beachside restaurants in all the towns down to the Cinque Terre, but even "the best", IMO, leave a lot to be desired.

    My thought would be Santa Margherita where there are a number of holes in the wall, that serve simple dishes and while the ingredients are not top notch, they are good. These places are on the back streets. Stay away from the street that fronts the port.

    What was that perfect spot west of Genova?

    2 Replies
    1. re: allende

      I found Trattoria del Mare in Albenga which looks like exactly what I am looking for. Simple, delicious food in an unpretentious setting right by the sea. But just the wrong direction.

      I've decided to wait until we get to Cinque Terre. It's probably easier that way but thanks for all the suggestions. :)

      1. re: Konuku

        the food will probably be better before you get to Cinque Terre. There are some good and even outstanding restaurants coming down the coast from Genoa, in towns like Camogli, SML, and Rapallo, where seafood restaurants line the front. Nina Nonna in SanRocca di Camogli, up above the sea on Monte Portofino, serves lovely food sea and land - although it would be suitable for a special occasion (and this meal was special for us) we had a delicious lunch there last year wearing our casual walking clothes. Chiavari is a lovely town with casual Luchin (in the old city, not in the seaside area), with tasty traditional dishes including amazing wood oven cooked farinata, worth eperiencing

        In Sestri Levante, Polpo Mario and La Cantino Del Polpo have been recommended here .

        For a real local land cuisine lunch there are a couple of restaurants a few miles inland from Chiavari in Ne, La Brinca and Osteria dei Mosto. Search for the reviews here if interested. Ive only been to La Brinca - it was a long, special Sunday lunch.

        All the above currently are or have been listed in the Slowfood Guide and/or are Gambero Rosso recommended trattorias,

    2. If you read Italian, I would highly recommend downloading both the Gambero Rosso 2014 and the Slowfood Osterie 2014 mobile apps.
      The are about $10 each, and you can search on maps.
      I have found the recommendations to be extremely reliable, especially the trattorias in the Gambero Rosso guide.
      There are several "2 and 3 Gamberi" - the highest rankings for trattorias - in the Genova area:
      E Prie Rosse

      I haven't been to any of these, but you could look them up and see what you think.

      Have fun!

      12 Replies
      1. re: monab


        Trattoria del Mare in Albenga. Lovely location. Nice owners. Mediocre cooking and average ingredients. Service, so, so. You’re not missing anything.

        Don’t know how you’re coming from Switzerland. If you’re coming down A6, you’ll hit the coast right near Varigotti. In Varigotti, right on the Lungomare, is Conchiglia D’Oro, for us, by far, the best fish restaurant on the Ligurian coast. Here is one of the posts I’ve written about it.

        This is substantially closer than where you were going to go in Albenga.

        If you’re coming down A26 you’ll hit the coast about 25 minutes east of Varigotti. It’s is very much worth the trip because you won’t get anything close to it on the east side of Genova or in the Cinque Terre. Our home in Tuscany is 2 1/2 hours from Varigotti. We wouldn't spend 5 hours driving to and from Conchiglia D'Oro for lunch unless it was really excellent. Highly recommend Conchiglia D'Oro.

        Cinque Terre. Lots of places. None really excellent. A few modest trattorie that serve basic fish and seafood. Most people coming to the Cinque Terre don’t want to spend a lot of money on fish.

        As Jen suggested, if you want to forego the seafood, Luchin in Chiavari and La Brinca in Ne’ are excellent trattorie to get Ligurian dishes. BTW Jen, that was Nonna Nina.

        Hope this helps.

        1. re: allende


          I actually may be near Varigotti next week (plans still taking shape), so I am taking note.

          It's this one?

          We're also spending a couple of nights (not sure why, except r & r without beach crowds) in Montechiaro d'Acqui as well as a short stay in/near Ventimiglia fore and aft of a quick foray into Provence. All suggestions gratefully received.

          1. re: mbfant


            The link that you showed is the correct one for Conchilglia D'Oro.

            Re Montechiaro d'Acqui. As you know, Montechiaro is buried deep and to go west is next to impossible. Doesn't matter... go north. Da Bardon is only 40 minutes from there. You've spent more than forty minutes going across Rome to a restaurant :) Go.

            1. re: allende

              I have rarely spent 40 min crossing Rome for a restaurant, at least not by car (thinking mainly of the return), but I will investigate.

          2. re: allende

            thanks for correcting my mistake! The fishy stuff we had at Nonna Nina was really tasty as were the land items. If you wanted to stop someplace beautiful for a stroll above the sea and a meal without the crowds, that would be great if they are open.

            1. re: allende

              So many great suggestions here. Thanks!

            2. re: monab

              Not quite sure why this came up again

              1. re: allende

                ciao Allende

                We are in, which is to say outside, Montechiaro, just arrived, having (not my idea) taken single-track roads practically all the way from Genoa, but Himself seemed to enjoy himself. We will eat at the agriturismo this evening as wild horses couldn't get me back in the car. I have left a message for Bardon for tomorrow -- today it's closed in any case, and we will hope for the best. Saturday we'll be in Dolceacqua and have reserved at A Viassa, from the Slow Food guide. Sunday we'll be in France. Any ideas for Ventimiglia?

                1. re: mbfant

                  Ciao Maureen,

                  Unfortunately, don't have any ideas for Ventimiglia. We've never been satisfied with what's around the area particularly Baia Beniamin and Balzi Rossi. There must be some good fish trattorie there, but, unfortunately, we've never found one to recommend.

                  If you do go to Bardon, you and/or Franco might think about trying the plin, and the carne cruda.


                  1. re: allende

                    Bardon phoned me, so we have a reservation tomorrow evening. I am not big on carne cruda, but Franco is, and plin, definitely. Anything else?

                    1. re: mbfant

                      The faraona and the roasted rabbit if on the menu. The stincos and other roasts depending on which ones have been cooked that day. Any greens (cicoria etc.) they might have cooked that day with the fowl or meat.

                      Desserts are very good but nothing special as is to be expected in a trattoria, but the cheese carrello is very, very special and we almost always have cheese... and some more wine (if you need more wine with the cheese, either of the brothers will happily open up a bottle and just pour a glass or two)

                      And again... definitely the plin and the carne cruda.

                      Well, the wine list, which is by far the best that we've ever seen in a trattoria anywhere in Italy and, IMO, the second best of any place in Piemonte (no one should go to the first best wine list place for either food or service; perhaps cheese and a bottle of wine, that's it). Perhaps I'm not remembering correctly from when I met him many years ago, but Franco should have a fine time with the list.

                      Have fun.

                      1. re: allende

                        Thanks! Franco is driving. I hope he doesn't have too much fun with the wine list.