Restaurants in Cinque Terre: The Definitive List

by Bianca Gignac

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Restaurants in the Cinque Terre can shock you.

Some are excruciatingly mediocre. And some can be so outstanding — you buy a mortar and pestle immediately upon returning home, because you’ve become a die-hard pesto person.

The majority of the Cinque Terre villages have just one main street. The streets are lined with places to eat (Manarola is lined with boats, and the shop doors are just sprinkled between the boats). You can eat your way up one side of the street, and then down the other. It’s all there. Perfectly compact. Adorable. Delicious.

You don’t need a massive list of places for your trip, you just need the best.

The thing about traveling is that you’re often on the move. Just when you get your bearings and find the places you like – you’re gone. That’s why it’s not uncommon for travelers to eat at the same place for two nights, even if they are just staying for three. Why? Because it was good the first time, and you don’t want to waste your time “finding” the good stuff. I think there’s a better way. I hope you use this list.

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For a decade, I’ve eating my way through the Cinque Terre.

I want to save you 10 hours of research on Trip Advisor right now. The problem with looking on Trip Advisor for the Cinque Terre is that all five villages (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso) have separate reviews. You have to comb through them all. Don’t bother.

If you want to consult Trip Advisor anyways, I’ve made a list of the top 10 restaurants in all the villages combined. The villages are so close, like minutes away from each other on the train, that you should feel free to village-hop for good eats. You’ll see the list further down the page.

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Restaurants in the Cinque Terre: Bianca’s Top 3

  1. Ristorante Belforte. Built inside a historic fortress overlooking the ocean. The food and the view is heaven. In the village of Vernazza. +39 0187 812222
  2. Trattoria dal Billy. Great fresh seafood. High on a cliff. Amazing view of the terraced hills. In the village of Manarola. +39 0187 920628
  3. Ripa del Sole. Refined bites, nice plating; where the locals go. In the village of Riomaggiore. +39 0187 920143

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Restaurants in the Cinque Terre: The Crowdsourced List

Top 10 from Trip Advisor — all the villages combined into one concise list

1) Cappun Magru in casa di Marin (Manarola) *update: Cappun Magru shut down in 2015
2) Ristorante Da Eraldo (Monterosso)
3) Trattoria dal Billy (Manarola)
4) RistoranteBelforte (Vernazza)
5) Ristorante Il Porticciolo (Manarola)
6) Ristorante Miky (Monterosso)
7) L’Osteria (Monterosso)
8) Pizzeria La Cambusa (Manarola)
9) Osteria A Cantina de Mananan (Corniglia)
10) Pizzeria Ristorante L’Arrembaggio (Monterosso)

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Eating on a budget

The villages are not only stacked with restaurants; there are some amazingly tasty and inexpensive meals waiting behind the curved doorways. These miniature spots hold the Italian version of street food.

When you’re there, you must try:

  • focaccia — a Ligurian specialty
  • fritto misto — fried fish served in paper cones
  • torta di verdure — my go-to, on the run snack which is sold by weight from the tiny bakeries
  • farinata — it’s made with chickpea flour and is gluten free. I love me some farinata.

The lowdown on focaccia: You can go wild and choose focaccia with onions, focaccia with tomatoes, focaccia with zucchini,  focaccia with olives, focaccia di Recco (you have strict instructions to eat this while you’re there; it’s warm, thin unleavened bread perfectly cocooning mild, soft, warm cheese. I search out the ones cooked in a wood oven).

Of course, you’ll have your pick of take-away pasta places (try the walnut pesto), pizzerie, gelaterie and bars for coffee or cocktails.

Italian street food offers great value.

For example, hit the focacceria and for under 5 euro you can get two huge slices of warm, just made, delicious, perfectly salted, just the right amount of olive oil, just the right amount of golden crispy side bits, focaccia. Grab some local figs and gelato for dessert, and you have a beach picnic for under $10.

I hope these tips help you find the best restaurants in Cinque Terre and help you figure out where to eat. And what to eat!

Right now, I’d love to ask you, what’s your most memorable meal while traveling in Italy? Where? What did you have? People come here for inspiration and education, so don’t be shy: share your experiences. Who knows — your comment could be the next persons most memorable meal. Grazie!

xx

Bianca

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

cheryl spollino

When are you planning your next trip to Italy
Sincerely,
Cheryl

Reply

Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Hi Cheryl,
Next year’s tours are going to be launched in the fall. Sign up for updates at the top of the page and you’ll be the first to get the scoop on them 🙂
We hope you can join us!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix

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Lindsay Newland

My wife and i are going to monterosso for her 60th we will have 10 more friends and family with us. We will be early Sept 2015. Your blog’s are helping me very much .
Thank you very much.
Beers and Cheers
Lindsay

Reply

Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Happy birthday to your wife, Lindsay! We can’t think of a better way to celebrate, and we’re so glad we’ve been able to help out 🙂
Kiiri @ Italian Fix

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Cassie

I went to Northern Italy in early October and had to visit Cinque Terre. We stayed in Corniglia, which is very charming, but our favorite meal in Italy was in Imprunetta (outside Florence), a local haunt called Trattoria Di’ Gazzilloro. We ordered the pate, handmade boar papardelle and the Tuscan beef filet. Oh my lord, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten, not just in Italy. I must recommend in Corniglia, not a restaurant but a bar/coffee shop called La Scuda. It’s got a great low-key vibe, plays great music, and was conveniently located right across from out AirBnB. Trust me, you deserve a drink for climbing the 365+ steps to get to town.

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Kate

Great blog, so helpful! Cassie i just saw your comment, and hope you don’t mind me asking (or Bianca if you read this!) – did you combine Florence and Cinque Terre in one trip? Myself and my boyfriend are looking to go to Florence and then on to Cinque Terre over 8 nights in April this year, but are struggling to work out the best routes/which to do first! this is the first holiday we’ve booked where we are piecing it altogether ourselves, so we’re newbies at this! Any advice would be gratefully appreciated!

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Bianca Gignac

Kate,
I think you would find this post tremendously helpful, as I tell you exactly how to combine the Cinque Terre with Tuscany: http://www.italianfix.com/what-to-do-tuscany/
Best,
Bianca

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Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Thank you so much for taking the time to recommend these two places, Cassie! I’m going to check out La Scuda ASAP (I don’t get to Corniglia nearly as much as I should), and my husband and I are driving to Florence next weekend – I’m going to put Gazzilloro on the list!
We love hearing about our readers’ faves. Keep ’em coming!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix

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ronda

am planning a trip to italy, would love to do the tuscan region..food and wine and the local fare are what we are interested in this time, have seen the sites would like to eat and relax maybe a vineyard or 2.. what would you suggest for a home base town?? we would like one big enough to eat great food at a different place every day.. thanks

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Bianca Gignac

Ronda,
Tuscany has so many options!
Here’s my best advise:
http://www.italianfix.com/what-to-do-tuscany/
http://www.italianfix.com/tuscany-town/
Buon viaggio!
Bianca

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anne

I am potentially taking a solo trip (a first for me!) to Italy this April, flying to Milan initially, but would like to spend the majority of the time in Cinque Terre (entire trip will be only one week, sadly). I am wondering if you recommend Cinque Terre for a lone traveler and during this time of year? Thanks for any tips/suggestions 🙂

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Bianca Gignac

Anne,
Congrats on your solo trip! We have many solo women join our Cinque Terre tours. The Cinque Terre is very safe and relaxing for a female traveler. Go without hesitation!
Bianca

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R. Tsang

Hello, our family 4 will be traveling to Italy for 12 days After 3 days in Rome, we would like to spend some time in Cinque Terre, Tuscany, and Venice, and possibly Maremma as well. However, we’d like to take it slowly – any suggestions on how to pare this list down?? Any camping suggestions in Cinque Terre and Tuscany would be great as well.

Thanks

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Bianca Gignac

There is a camp ground in Levanto — just next door to the Cinque Terre. If you’re going to Maremma — you’ll need a car for that portion.Your trip could look like this: Rome, train Florence, train to Venice, train back to Florence (you need to backtrack) and then train to Cinque Terre. After, you could rent a car in La Spezia, and finish your Maremma portion and then head back to Rome and return your car. That is A LOT of traveling with kids. I might save Venice for another time, and have more time in the other places. Not that I don’t love Venice — but I prefer less road time and more down time. 🙂 I hope this helps!
Bianca

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Julia

Hi Bianca! Long time reader, first time commenter 🙂
You have previously recommended La Laterna in Riomaggiore for dinner, but it hasn’t made the cut this time around – any reason why?

Reply

Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Hi Julia,
La Lanterna has actually closed up shop unfortunately. We’re loving a little place called Il Grottino on the main drag as a replacement for it though.
Buon appetito!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix

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Emily

Hi Bianca! I am loving all the tips for Florence and Cinque Terre! I will be there the first week of June and will be staying in Monterosso and am lucky enough to be there during the l’infiorata. I am having a hard time finding any information on the l’infiorata in Cinque Terre and was wondering if you might know of the best city to be in to see the flower displays. Any insight would be helpful. Thanks!
Emily

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Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Hi Emily,
The only village that does the Infiorata is Monterosso, and this year it’s being held on June 7th to celebrate Corpus Christi. Sounds like you’ll just make it, how excellent!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix

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Helena Seol

Hi! I am planning a trip to the Italian Riviera (Cinque Terre) with my husband, 2 year old son, and a good friend, this coming August. We are flying in and out from Milan. We have around 4-5 days to spend in the Riviera, including Cinque Terre. I was initially thinking of using Sestri Levante as base, then doing a day trip to Cinque Terre, then maybe a day trip to surrounding areas of Sestri (i.e. Portofino, San Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, etc…).. But reading your posts, am inclined to stay in one of the Cinque Terre villages instead, and use it as base. We love to eat, drink, and we love taking in picturesque, breathtaking views so I’m sure we would love Cinque Terre! My only concern is since it’s summer, it might be crowded, plus we have a toddler with us. What are your thoughts on this?

Thank you!

Reply

Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Hi Helena,
It really depends on what you’re looking for. Sestri Levante is much more of a city than the villages in the Cinque Terre, so yes, though there will most certainly be fewer tourists there, it also won’t have the deliciously quaint and charming vibe that the five towns have. I live in the Cinque Terre (with a toddler!), so I may be biased, but I would recommend staying here. You can still do all the day trips you mentioned, but you’ll get to enjoy those breathtaking views into the evening too, without having to worry about catching the train back to your Sestri hotel. Pro tip: Manarola is calmer and less crowded than Riomaggiore, Vernazza and Monterosso, doesn’t have Corniglia’s 365 steps, and (bonus!) has a fabulous playground perched over the sea above town. I’d look into staying there.
Kiiri @ Italian Fix

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Mike S

Ciao, Bianca! Coming for 8 days in June. Enjoying you blog and great suggestions.

In addition to CT, Portovenere/Palmaria, Portofino, Genova… wanted a day-trip to either Pisa or Lucca. Which would you choose?

We have an early flight out of Malpensa on the next leg of our trip and are going to stay the night near airport. Is there anything to do in that neighborhood, any interesting place to eat?

Grazie tanto.

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Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Hi Mike,
I would choose Lucca over Pisa. Pisa has the tower and the square surrounding it, but Lucca in its entirety is just so charming and you get a lot of bang for your buck going there. You can rent bikes and ride around the city walls and you’ll be able to see the entire town in a single day.
Near Malpensa, try Ristorante Pizzeria Samarcanda or La Quercia.
Buon viaggio!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix

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Tracy

I will be in Corniglia for the weekend of 6/20/15. All your tips have been wonderful for planning!!! Hope to see you there!

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Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Thank you, Tracy, so glad we could help! Have a wonderful trip 🙂

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Bernard

Hi there..

1st time reader and loving the info as i was in Cinque Terre for a night 6 years ago while inter-railing.

I am going back next year with my wife for our 1st anniversary and was wondering where would you recommend for a great view and romantic enough for our anniversary dinner please.

Thanks in Advance

Reply

Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Hi Bernard,
Welcome back, and happy 1st anniversary!
Check out our post on the best restaurants in the Cinque Terre here: http://www.italianfix.com/restaurants-in-cinque-terre/
Have a great trip!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix

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Robin

Hi Bianca! We will be docking at La Spezia in October on the Allure at 8am and departing at 8pm (probably need to be back on boat by 7 the latest)We are excited about visiting Cinque Terre and would love to make the most of our time there (2 couples in our 50’s). Do you have any suggestions on the best way to maximize our time and enjoy everything it has to offer? Specifically 1. Which village should we start in? What order should we visit from there? Where’s best to stop for lunch? With our timeframe, which villages would we be able to comfortably see? Where to end and how to travel back? THANK YOU SO MUCH! (By the wAy, I just love your writing style!)

Reply

Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Hi Robin,
We have just the post for you! It’s all about making the most of one day in the Cinque Terre: http://www.italianfix.com/one-day-cinque-terre/
Enjoy!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix

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Lauri

Hello Bianca,
We will be renting a house in the village of Montemago the week of September 1, 2015. We are planning a day trip to Cinque Terre. Would you be so kind to tell me which towns would be the best to visit. Our group would feels like they would like to see three of the five.
Thanks so much!

Reply

Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Hi Lauri,
These two posts should answer all of your questions:
http://www.italianfix.com/one-day-cinque-terre/
http://www.italianfix.com/what-to-do-cinque-terre/
Have fun!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix

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Danae

Hi Bianca,

I’m curious which restaurant you would rank as having the #1 view (in terms of ocean, colorful buildings, and sunset view). I will only be in Cinque Terre for two nights and don’t want to miss out on the perfect dinner spot!

Thank you!
Kendall

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Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Hi Kendall,
Try Belforte in Vernazza for amazing views and mouthwatering food. For something more casual – think lunchtime salads and sandwiches – you can’t beat the view from La Conchiglia in Riomaggiore. It’s located right at the spot where everyone takes those famous marina pictures with all the colourful buildings stacked one on top of the other.
Buon appetito!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix

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Keri

Hi – I loved reading your blog post on where to eat in cinque Terre and am very much looking forward to trying some focaccia when I visit in a couple of weeks. I was wondering if you could advise where the bet place to eat with a view would be – I am travelling with a group of vegetarians, vegans, gluten free and people who eat meat too! So struggling to find a place that would aslo fit us in (there are 14 of us) for lunch. If you have any suggestions that would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much for your time, Keri

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Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Hi Keri,
Try Belforte in Vernazza — they can definitely seat 14 out on their patio, and the sea view from there is amazing, but you will definitely have to make advance reservations for this to be a possibility. Let them know also that you have vegans and people who don’t eat gluten in your group so that they can make arrangements.
Buon appetito!
Kiiri

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Josh

We are going to be in Cinque Terre next week and I’d like to find a place for a romantic dinner with a view and don’t want to break the bank. Any tips? Thanks for the great post above.

Reply

Kiiri @ Italian Fix

Check out our top picks above, Josh, and buon appetito!
Kiiri

Reply

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