Cinque Terre Food Guide

When we started planning this Tour of Italy, I knew that no trip would be complete for me without a visit to the Cinque Terre. It has been on my list since before study abroad 4+ years ago. When I was over here for study abroad, we had only four weekends free to travel wherever we wanted to. Obviously I had a list a mile long, but we had to choose carefully. In the end we opted to travel places that we thought we wouldn’t come back to on holiday. Since pretty much all of us had been to Italy before and we wanted to check different countries off our lists and since Italy is like tourist destination no. 1 in Europe, the Cinque Terre didn’t make the cut. {Ironically, the places that we did choose were Prague, Amsterdam, Paris, and Interlaken. Man, us Capital T’s–T stands for thrill– were adventurous.}

There as no way I was missing Cinque Terre this time around. I couldn’t wait to see those colorful little towns nestled into the sides of cliffs. I couldn’t wait to hike the famous Sentiero Azzuro. Most importantly thought, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some of that pesto! I mean, this is where pesto was invented, so you know it must be good.

Kiwi+Peach: Cinque Terre Food GuideManarola

We stayed in Vernazza, so that is where we ate dinner most nights. I am sure there are delicious restaurants in each town, but this is where it made sense for us to eat.

The first place we hit was Taverna del Capitano. It is right there in the main square and while I was a bit worried it would cater to tourists, I was pleasantly surprised. As we sat there sipping our wine, we watched all the  neighborhood children running around playing as their parents stopped for a chat. Our waiter, an older man, was one of the most sarcastic, helpful, and hilarious waiters we had on the entire trip. He took the time to really explain what made the local delicacies special and then added that we should take our time, he had to be there until 11 anyway.  I went for the very local trofie al pesto. {Told you I couldn’t wait to try the pesto!} Trofie is a pasta made from chestnut flour that is pretty unique to that region. It’s simplistic, it’s rustic, and it’s so very, very tasty. The Kiwi ended up ordering the black seabream that came with a deliciously simplistic roasted tomato and homemade chips.

Kiwi+Peach: Cinque Terre Food Guide Kiwi+Peach: Cinque Terre Food Guide

On our last night, the Kiwi treated me to dinner at Belforte. The restaurant, which is in the old fort, is one of the nicest restaurants in town. We made a reservation a couple days before just to make sure we would have a table.  The views of the hills and the sun setting over the Mediterranean were just amazing. The staff, who speak perfect English by the way, made you feel like you were a part of their big happy family. Before the trip, I had read that it was one of the things you had to try in Liguria were the anchovies. While neither of us are huge anchovy fans, we decided that if they weren’t good here, they wouldn’t be good anywhere, so we took the plunge and ordered the mixed anchovy antipasti. Some were salted, some were fried, and some were marinated in lemon. It made a believer out of me. My favorite were the salted ones with the little banana peppers. For my main I had a delicious squid ink pasta with shrimp sauce which was better than I could ever have imagined. The Kiwi had a mixture of fried fish, prawns and a huge, spectacular-looking scampi. He says he’d go back. However, the rest of the the meal doesn’t hold a candle to dessert. Caramelized strawberries with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Enough said.

Kiwi+Peach: Cinque Terre Food GuideKiwi+Peach: Cinque Terre Food Guide

Kiwi+Peach: Cinque Terre Food GuideKiwi+Peach: Cinque Terre Food Guide

other Cinque Terre tips

Check what sections of the Sentiero Azzuro are open before you head out to hike. At the moment only the Corniglia to Vernazza and the Vernazza to Monterosso sections are open. There is an alternative route from Manarola to Corniglia though, but it’s definitely a bit harder of a hike than the Trail No. 2. If hiking isn’t your thing though, you can also access the towns by train.

From my take on the towns, I would say that Riomaggiore and Monterosso are the most touristy. If you’re looking to really feel like part of the the town, stay in one of the three middle ones.

The Kiwi thinks that Corniglia would be a great lunch stop, but we can’t vouch for that. I can however vouch for their frozen yogurt. I have no idea what the name of this place was, but if you see a sign for frozen yogurt with fresh squeezed lemon juice, honey, and nuts, go there!

Linked with Travel Tuesdays

10 thoughts on “Cinque Terre Food Guide

  1. Hi Lauren!

    I just discovered your blog through the Travel Tuesday Travel Blog linkup. I have enjoyed reading about your exciting travels. I was in Cinque Terre last year about 6 months after the flood in Italy so Vernazza was still in pretty bad shape. Glad to see it is doing better now. We stayed in Manarola and really loved it. Also loved the trofie, but the fresh seafood was by far our favorite. I am now a follower on Bloglovin’ and Facebook to keep up with all your new posts. I look forward to reading more about your adventures.

    I would love to have you check out our new travel blog and follow us as well.



    • Hi Jessica! Thanks for following along!

      It really has made a remarkable recovery. There were pictures by the train station of what it looked like after the flood, and I was amazed by how little of the damage remains.

  2. Oh mmmmmm. The food looks amazing. I just loved your post as I used to live in Napoli twice and so anything about Italy has a special place in my heart. So glad you were able to return! Thank you for linking up with Belinda and I for #TravelTuesday and I hope to see you again next week!

    • Thanks for hosting! I love reading posts by all those travel bugs.

      Oh stay tuned then, we’ll make it down to Naples eventually. We made a stop there on our way back from Pompeii just to experience the pizza. Oh my stars was it good too!

    • I have no idea! I’ve never seen it at my local, but I’m sure just about any flour would work. I really want to try to make it with almond meal since I’m up to my eyeballs in it from making almond milk!

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