Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eating Well in the Golf of Poets

Unfortunately, there is some truth to the idea that when visiting seaside resort towns, expect to spend a lot and eat mediocre. I have spent years traveling throughout Italy’s coast only to have been disappointed more times than not by the “sub-par food served with a view”. So, this is my attempt at uncovering the "thumbs up" places to eat in the Gulf of Poets:

Bonta Nascosta

Via Cavour 55, Lerici

Tel: 0187 965500

Closed on Tuesdays

This tiny and cute trattoria tucked away on a small alleyway of Lerici serves consistently good food plus excellent pizza and farinata (a local specialty somewhat like a chickpea pancake).

Il Frantoio

Via Cavour, 21, Lerici

Tel: 0187 964174

Closed on Mondays

For a full dining experience, this converted olive mill practically across the alleyway from Bonta probably serves the best food in the village. Try their never-ending “antipasto al mare” and the branzino filled ravioli.

i Doria at Doria Park Hotel

Via Doria 2, Lerici
Tel: 0187 967 124

Closed on Mondays in the low season only

I find most hotel restaurants to be just passable, but the Doria Park has a great chef who specializes in creative seafood dishes. In addition, service is a big notch above most dining establishments in the area.

Golfo dei Poeti

Via Calata Mazzini 19, Lerici

Tel: 0187 967 414

Closed on Thursdays

If you have to be on the water, than this is your best bet (note, most places in the piazza or along the waterfront are just as I described in the first paragraph). Food is good (not out of this world) and they serve a decent pizza. Good place with children as the have a varied menu and lots of space.


Via Mantegazza 6, San Terenzo
Tel: 0187/972733

Closed on Mondays

Located on the seafront road in San Terenzo, this is a nice restaurant offering tables inside and out. They serve an excellent gilled fish platter and there fritto misto is pretty darn good too.


Spiaggia della Marinella, San Terenzo
Tel: 366 500 9919

Open everyday and evening from April to October

While not exactly a restaurant, you don’t want to miss an aperitivo in this “tree-house” like bar overlooking a tiny cove of San Terenzo. Great views, nice music, total relaxed mood and good cocktails make this a great way to spend the early evening.

Bar Torino

Via Mantegazza 11, San Terenzo
Tel: 0187 972 467

Also, located along the “lungomare” of San Terenzo, they serve a limited but decent menu of pastas and salads. You can dine right on the rocks overlooking the entire Golf of Poets. They also happen to serve the best coffee around.

La Caletta

Via Fiascherino 100, Tellaro

Tel: 0187 964 000

Closed on Tuesdays

A charming trattoria located in Tellaro, you will enjoy a menu of typical ligurian dishes (pesto, pasta with fruits of the sea) but also big, delicious salads and a decent wine list.

Locanda Miranda

Via Fiascherino 92, Tellaro

Tel: 0187 964 012

Closed on Mondays

For years this was the “grand-dame” of restaurants in Lerici (Tellaro to be exact) with a Michelin one-star rating. It still is one of the better places to eat, just know it is a seafood only restaurant with a fixed menu, without exception.

Il Pescarino

Via Borea 52, Montemarcello (near Zanego, a 12 minute drive from Lerici)

Tel: 0187 601 388

Open for dinner only Wednesday- Sunday

This charming “locanda” hiding in the hills of the Montemarcello National Park gets my vote for the best restaurant in the Riviera Levante (ok, ties with Locanda delle Tamerici which just misses being in the Gulf of Poets). They serve a divine “surf and turf” menu and some of the best, unknown wines in Italy. Be adventurous here. I was once served a pudding of “seppia” (cuttlefish) and I could have swore I was eating dessert. To die for!

La Brace

Località Zanego (a 10 minute drive from Lerici)

Tel: 0187 966952

If you have a craving for carne (meat) then look no farther. It’s all (great) beef and a little pork at this homey restaurant located in Zanego in the hills above Lerici. We have always eaten well here, but also be prepared to pay the price.

Montemarcello Focaccia Bar

I don’t know what else to call it. We’ve been going there for years and I am sure it has a name but everyone refers to it as “La Focacceria di Montemarcello”. It’s not hard to find as it’s located on the only road you can drive through the village. They serve 3-4 different, fresh, steaming and delicious focaccia sandwiches with dining in their yard. Literally, this is a home where they put a bar on the side of it. Best idea is to hike your way there (views could not be more amazing) and reward yourself with one of these “melt in your mouth” sandwiches.


Unknown said...

great reference! lovely pics...yummmm

sgabraki23 said...

Wow that is really surprising to me, I didn't think that sub-par food existed in Italian restaurants! In all of my food experiences in Italy, I have always opted for the small tucked away, "hole in the wall" types of restaurants, or those suggested via word of mouth. Usually these are the restaurants that present delicious italian cuisine. Secondo me, Italy is one of the most affordable eating cultures around Europe! It doesn't even have to be molto costoso to be a real Italian dining experiences. Great blog though and the branzino filled ravioli is intriguing!!

italytutto said...

Thanks for the fantastic list! We had lunch in November at Il Frantoio after I read a previous recommendation by you and had the branzino filled ravioli. It was absolutely heavenly!

Mike+Martha / said...

Thanks, we wouldn't have tried some of these without your trusty referral. Secondo noi, worth a try in Montemarcello: Osteria Marcellino Via delle Mura, 7. Tel 018765364 Closed Monday. Lunch Sat & Sun only. (toward the village from your foccaceria).

Unknown said...

Luckily I stumbled upon your blog and list of restaurants in Lerici. We will be staying for nine days in Fiasherino beginning of June. As I love good food not to mention good wine and trust this will help in finding excatly that. Thank you.Addi from Iceland.

Odd said...

Thank you, Megan, for a great list. We will go to San Terenzo for a week in primo June and will use this as our guide to dining in the area

Daniel Ford said...

Thank you for these reviews. I wonder if you can identify a restaurant / bistro on the shoreline south of the castle of Lerici? (That is, on the other side from the village. There's supposed to be a tunnel beneath the castle.) I found the website and telephone a few weeks ago but can no longer locate it.

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MartinaGomez said...

I was there last summer and it was absolutely amazing. Loved the architecture, the city is very special and beautiful. I recommend to visit the lovely restaurants on the beach, the food is excellent.
Restauranten in Ligurië