Where To Eat in Cinque Terre (According To The Locals)

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Here you find the complete guide to the best restaurants in Cinque Terre: discover exactly where to eat like a local. And what to eat!

Restaurants in Cinque Terre can be a bit of a tourist trap.

There are so many to choose from, and because Cinque Terre has now become so crowded, especially in the summer, it can be challenging for outsiders to pick the best places to eat.

But here I come to the rescue.

I am going to share with you the best restaurants in Cinque Terre. And not the top-rated by tourists, but the top places locals recommend to their best friends.

Because all you need to know is where Italians love to go to eat the best food from Cinque Terre.

Where To Eat in Cinque Terre: The Best Restaurant, According to the Locals

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Best restaurants in Riomaggiore

Rio Bistrot: For the perfect seafood dinner with a harbor view. Make sure you book a table here, or you won’t get a spot (this is true for most restaurants in Cinque Terre unless you are prepared to wait for a long time). The menu changes every few days to make the most of the local ingredients available. You need to try the homemade pasta with mussels (called muscoli here).

Via San Giacomo 10, 19017 Riomaggiore, Italy; +39 0187 920616

Local tip: “What can I say? If you want to eat well in Cinque Terre, you must try this place.” Simone

A Pie’ de Ma’: With a very romantic address (Lovers’ walk) overlooking the sea, this restaurant has a small selection of local dishes but the quality of the ingredients is spot on. The location is enchanting, especially at sunset.

Via dell’Amore 55, 19017 Riomaggiore, Italy; +39 0187 921037

Local tip: “If the restaurant is full, try to find a spot at the bar. The wine is delicious, the charcuterie board is a good size, and the focaccia is simply amazing.” Deborah

Best restaurants in Manarola

Trattoria Dal Billy: My favorite restaurant in Cinque Terre, especially for the incredible view. If you are short on time, this is the place to go. It takes a bit of a climb, but it’s so worth it. You will need to book if you go in the evening. You can either go at 7:30 pm or 9:00 pm, they only do 2 table seatings at this time (I know…odd), but the fish is delicious and fresh, and the pasta is incredible.

Via Aldo Rollandi 122, 19017 Manarola, Italy; +39 0187 920628

Local tip: ” If you can just have one thing, try the handmade taglierini pasta served with shrimp, peppers, fresh tomatoes, and pine nuts.” Alessia

Nessun Dorma: It’s more a cafe’ than a full-on restaurant. They only serve cold food like bruschetta and focaccia, and salads. But they have the best views in all of Cinque Terre. We went just before sunset, in the early evening, which was incredible! One of the best memories we have of Cinque Terre.

Localita Punta Bonfiglio, 19017 Manarola, Italy; +39 340 888 4133

Local tip: “Great spritz and delicious wine. The best aperitivo spot in Cinque Terre” Matteo

Best restaurants in Corniglia

Osteria A Cantina De Mananan: A tiny old trattoria (only 20 seats!) with delicious seafood, but also more earthy dishes, like pansotti with walnut sauce and Ligurian-style rabbit, served with olives.

Via Fieschi 117, 19018 Corniglia, Italy; +39 0187 821166

Local tip: “Make sure to book and bring cash (last time we went, it was cash only). You don’t want to climb the 377 steps and not find a spot here!” Valentina

Best restaurants in Vernazza

Ristorante Belforte: Located inside an 11th-century fortress on top of Vernazza’s harbor overlooking the Mediterranean sea, it’s one of the best restaurants in Vernazza. The food here is incredible. Try the spaghetti with mussels and anchovies from Cinque Terre.

Viale Alessandro Guidoni 42, 19018 Vernazza, Italy; +39 0187 812222

Local tip: “Book well in advance and if you want an incredible sea view, ask to be seated sul mare (the floor with the spectacular sea view).” Flavio

Best restaurants in Monterosso Al Mare

Ristorante Miky: Monterosso is the biggest town in Cinque Terre, which is why it’s also full of tourists. And finding an authentic restaurant is not an easy task. If you go to Da Miky, you won’t be disappointed. Here you will always find fresh fish of the day, homemade pasta, and delicious desserts. It’s not cheap, but the food quality makes up for it.

Via Fegina 104, 60015 Monterosso al Mare, Italy; +39 0187 817608

Local tip: “Try the showstopper starter – Le prelibatezze di Miki- and the seafood risotto. Spectacular.” Liana

L’Ancora della Tortuga: Set on a beautiful cliff, this restaurant offers a beautiful view and a great atmosphere. Here you can taste typical traditional Ligurian food. You can try the tasting menu for 35 euros or their a la carte menu, filled with fish and meat specialties prepared with excellent quality ingredients from the local area.

Salita Dei Cappuccini 4, 19016 Monterosso al Mare, Italy; +39 0187 800065

Local tip: “If the weather is good, try to get a table outside with the stunning views” Elisabetta

Watch out for opening times

One thing to watch out for: restaurants aren’t open every day. They each close one day of the week to rest. But they close on random days: one will be closed on Mondays, another on Tuesdays, etc.

Check online and make sure the restaurant you want to try is open when you’re there.

Best cheap eats in Cinque Terre

One thing I absolutely love about Italy is how easy it is to stick to a budget, especially when it comes to food. It’s a fantastic place to indulge in delicious Italian cuisine without breaking the bank!

Yes, you can find expensive tourist traps everywhere. But you can also enjoy local delicacies for just a few euros.

And cheap eat in Italy doesn’t mean cheap food: eating on a budget often goes hand in hand with quality ingredients.

Where to eat focaccia in Cinque Terre

Il Fornaio di Monterosso: By far the best focaccia in Cinque Terre with so many choices! They also have some tables outside with a sea view, or you can grab takeaway focaccia and eat it on the beach (which is what we did pretty much every day).

Via Fegina 112, 19016 Monterosso al Mare, Italy; +39 0187 817420

Where to eat farinata in Cinque Terre

Pizzeria & Focacceria La Cambusa: hands down, one of the best farinata in Cinque Terre. If you feel adventurous, try their pesto farinata. It’s excellent! But avoid pizza here. It’s not as good, and that’s why you’ll find mixed reviews online.

Via Renato Birolli 114, 19017 Manarola, Italy; +39 0187 921029

Where to eat fritto misto in Cinque Terre

Il Pescato Cucinato: Once you start walking around Cinque Terre, you’ll see people with paper cones filled with fried seafood and a few long skewers. This is known as fritto misto, made with whole local shrimp, calamari, baby squid, and anchovies. Just add a little squeeze of lemon on top, and it’s ready to go!

Via Colombo 199, 19017 Riomaggiore, Italy; +39 339 262 4815

Restaurants in Cinque Terre: Fritto Misto in a cone

Best packed lunch for your hikes

Lunch Box: perfect for delicious takeaway paninis and sandwiches for your hiking adventures, and fresh-squeezed juices.

Via Roma 34, 19018, Vernazza, Italy; +39 338 908 2841

Where to eat gelato in Cinque Terre

Gelateria Vernazza: The gelato here is incredibly creamy, and the flavors are unique and seasonal and use some regional ingredients from Cinque Terre. And if it’s seriously hot, you should try their granita al limone, which is incredibly refreshing in the heat of the summer.

Via Roma 13, 19018, Vernazza, Italy;+39 0187 182 0499

What to eat in Cinque Terre

Every time I travel to a new place, I spend hours researching the local food and what I should try.

There’s nothing worse than coming home from a place to then discovering you missed one of the local delicacies.

Restaurants in Cinque Terre: front view of Enoteca Du Sciuntu shop

What food is Cinque Terre known for?

Fresh seafood

Seafood is the one thing that can’t be missing from your list of things to eat in Cinque Terre.

After all, Cinque Terre is made of 5 fishing villages, and up until a few decades ago, most of the people here worked as fishermen.

One of the specialties here is pesce azzurro (oily fish), but you should also try the local delicious mussels, octopus, sea breams, and seafood pasta.

The amazing thing is that the fish is so fresh here, you can taste it at its best.

Anchovies

Called acciughe in Italy, they are fresh fish too. But they deserve their special little spot in Cinque Terre because they are among the most delicious local food.

The amount of salt in the sea makes them so tasty in this region.

If you wake up early enough in the summer, you can still see the fishermen returning with boxes full of them.

Locals then pick the juicy ones and preserve them with salt for 40-60 days. They are then washed and served with extra virgin olive oil, oregano, and garlic.

You should also try one of the top street food here: fried anchovies.

Acciughe are so special here that they have their own festival in Monterosso, usually around mid-September.

Restaurants in Cinque Terre: fisherman hands with acciughe

Pesto

Oh, pesto! So delicious.

Liguria’s most iconic dish seems so simple to make, yet, the pesto you eat in Cinque Terre has a much deeper aroma and flavor than anywhere else in the world.

Basil leaves that grow on these coastal hills, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, pecorino cheese, garlic, sea salt, and Ligurian olive oil are the original ingredients that must be hand-crushed using a mortar and pestle.

Here you can eat pesto in many ways: on focaccia, on bruschetta, with fish.

But my favorite way is to eat it with fresh local pasta, trofie (short, thin, and twisted), or trenette (long, flat, and narrow, similar to linguine).

Trofie with pesto: image from A Small Kitchen In Genoa

If you fancy learning how to cook Italian food from the Italian riviera, check out Enrica’s cooking classes in Genoa. You will have an incredible time learning all the tricks about Italian food from her.

Focaccia

Focaccia Genovese is typical of Liguria, and it’s perfect for a quick, cheap lunch.

You are not going to believe how heavenly something so simple can taste like. There are so many flavors to choose from, you can try a different one every day. My favorites are focaccia with olives, onions, anchovies, and fresh tomatoes.

And while you are in Cinque Terre, you must try focaccia di Recco: a thin cheese-stuffed unleavened focaccia from the Ligurian town of Recco, not too far from Cinque Terre.

With a good slice coming at less than 5 euros per piece, focaccia is the perfect lunch if you are on a budget.

Restaurants in Cinque terre: Focaccia

Farinata

Naturally gluten-free, farinata is a very popular street food in Liguria

Farinata is an unleavened type of focaccia made with chickpea flour, water, and olive oil.

Crispy on top and soft and chewy underneath, it needs to be baked in a wood-fired pizza oven (although this homemade version I made a while ago was delicious) and served with black pepper on top.

Torta Monterossina

This cake is so simple yet special, like the cakes that grandma used to make. The pie has 4 layers: apricot jam, sponge cake, custard cream, and chocolate pudding, all inside a flaky shortcrust pastry.

There is only one place where you can eat this: Pasticceria Laura. Here they have been serving the original, authentic Torta Monterossina since 1966.

Pansotti

Pansotti are a typical Italian Riviera ravioli-style pasta that locals eat at home on Sunday lunch.

They are filled with ricotta and greens (like spinach and chard, although originally, Ligurians made them with wild greens they found foraging in the beautiful countryside).

The best (and more traditional) way to eat them is with a creamy walnut sauce made with walnuts, bread, garlic, parmesan, olive oil, milk, and some marjoram leaves.

Pansotti Liguri
Pansotti: image from A Small Kitchen In Genoa

There you have it!

Let me know what’s the best meal you had in Cinque Terre, and share your experience with me in the comments below.

And if you need more advice, don’t be shy and ask!

And for more information about the best time to go and how to get there, check out my complete guide to Cinque Terre here.

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4 Comments

  1. Hi, I would like to ask if our train back to Florence departs Manarola at 7:25 pm on 15 April 2023, would we be able to see the sunset in Manarola? It was so beautiful as I watched on YouTube. Too bad we cannot try Trattoria Dal Billy that you recommend above because of the time constraint. We would try Nessun Dorma instead. Thank you for all the very helpful tips!

    1. Hi Brandon,
      Sunset is going to be at around 8 pm on the 15th of April. You might just start catching the sun going down and some beautiful colors! Stick around as much as you can, but don’t miss your train! You might be able to admire it from the train though since it’s a coastal ride for a bit!
      Have a great time!

  2. The main thing is don’t take the train, do make the mountain hikes from town to town. They are hard, one had one thousand stair steps! But worth it.