Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Liguria Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


peterpumkino
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm off to Florida on Tues and immediately on on my return I'm taking advantage of a Daily Mail Eurostar/TGV train offer of £69 anywhere in France! So I'm off to Nice for a couple of days but being an Italiaphile I'm also going over the border for a day. Based on the kind of restaurants I like (i.e. local but great - not Michelin) and the vicinity to the border (Ventimiglia, San Remo or further afield if it's worth it) can anyone recommend something neat for me?

Actually lived for a while in San Remo so I do know that there are great places nearby but it was a long time a so I would really appreciate your help. Thanks.

Edited by peterpumkino (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peter, I know your views on Michelin-rated restaurants, but the 1-star Balzi Rossi, just over the border (and I mean JUST over the border, literally 200 metres), is really very pleasant, and entirely Italian in style and spirit. I don't think you'd find it either disappointing or anything other than "real Italian", though it is not a local, downscale place.

The Friday market in Ventimiglia is well worth a visit, though the traffic into the town can be horrible; we generally look ahead at the offramp from the autostrada and if it looks crowded drive on to the next down and double back to Ventimiglia along the coastal road.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think you'd find it either disappointing or anything other than "real Italian", though it is not a local, downscale place.

Hey! Wait a moment, Craig has bestowed on me the copyright: RealItalian® - you have to pay me royalties (in Italian lire) if you use it!

Thanks for the rec. 200mt from the border and thanks Craig for Bordighera - any more anybody?

Edited by peterpumkino (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Hotel Terme in Pigna is a short drive 30-40 min up a windy road from Ventemilia. It has wonderful antipasto that goes on for ever and pasta and then something simple like roast rabbit or baby lamb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Balzi Rossi is in a pretty spot, but we found it disappointing.  For the high-end treat, I would try Baia Benamin next time, or maybe go on to San Remo and do Paolo e Barbara.

I've only been to Balzi Rossi, but have heard exactly the opposite view from those who have been to both places; and the Michelin reviews seem to confirm this:

- Baia Beniamin is in the prettier spot but the cuisine has slipped (and it has lost the one Michelin star it held)

- Balzi Rossi is not as lovely (though it does have some sea views in summer) but the food has held its quality.

I'm not holding a candle for either place, just curious that the reaction would be so different.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jonathan: I follow a number of different reviewers, and while I have not been to Baia Beniamin, it is neck and neck with Balzi Rossi with all but Michelin, who took away its star. Gambero Rosso likes it 4 points better than Balzi Rossi, and most of the other Italian guides give them the same score. I found the service at Balzi a little cold and detached (not to say rude or anti-American, etc.) and the food not quite up to its Michelin star. I still think I want to go to Paolo e Barbara and eat some raw seafood! Peter, since it's you, let me add Giappun dal 1918 for seafood simply prepared, La Conchiglia in Arma di Taggia if you decide to roam a little further east, La Via Romana in Bordighera (all Michelin-starred, but selected not for that reason, but because all 3 are concensual favorites with all of the Italian critics as well) and Bacchus for wine and snacks in San Remo.

Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd add Carletto in Bordighera. The kitchen focuses on classic Ligurian specialties, but has a light, refined touch. Very much a family restaurant, with excellent service to boot. Try the pasta with lobster and the perfect fritto misto di mare. And don't miss the wine list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't believe I am mentioning this because it probably doesn't exist anymore...

In 1979 we stayed in Manarola. There was a restaurant located right on top of the railway tunnel going through town. The actual kitchen was across the road, but the dining area ( outdoors) was on top of the tunnel. Every night the Rome express would barrel through and all conversation would have to stop.

We found the restaurant in tne Guide Michelin. At the time, it had one star.

It may be long gone, but I have my fondest food memories from that place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been to all the places mentioned, though some only once. However, I also am an admirer of Carletto where I have had lunch three or four times. It is serious and fastidious. Baja Benjamin seems like it has a lost a half a step. One or two non-Italian waiters are almost hostile; the wine list has deteriorated; and the food is less dependable. Nonetheless there is almost no more idyllic situation for lunch than outdoors in this semi-tropical surrounding right on the beach. We still go at least once every summer. For casual dining in San Remo, Da Vittoria on an L-shaped pedestrian piazza past the train station as you follow the harbor is friendly and has delicious, fresh, and down-to-earth cooking. Eat outdoors if you don't mind being harrassed rather constantly by the African lads selling fake designer handbags and carved animals. If you're lucky, you can watch them run away from the police.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...

Hello,

Thanks to you all for taking the time to post so much over the years, I have been reading for weeks planning for our upcoming (mid-May - June) trip to Italy.

We are both students so are looking for very low cost accomodation (the lowest I've found so far is about 300E/wk for 2 people in some agriturismi apartments); must save for food! Thus I could use some help from you semi-natives, if possible:

1) Most of the Umbria recommendations seem to be in the southern part; we have only (so far) found less expensive options in the north, near Umbertide, Chiusi, etc., esp. one option Agriturismo Pugano Alto @ www.agriturismopugnanoalto.it, and a few others in the vicinity.

Is NW Umbria a pretty good choice too, or is there a reason for the lower cost in general?

2) I have found a good option in Murialdo as well, this is near Calizzano and the border. Any opinions here?

3) Is 300E/wk as low as it's going to get, or might more work (i.e., phoning places w/o websites) find some much lower cost options? We aren't picky on space, or sharing bathrooms, etc., although at the current minimum we've found whole apartments that seem quite spacious, with kitchen facilities, etc., and I have seen no inkling of anything lower!

And on the other hand, might we pay more (or might we find somewhere at a low cost), and stay closer to some of the particular regions you've all recommended in Piemonte, Liguria, Umbria? I have had not much luck looking thus far, but perhaps searching just on the web isn't the way to go.

Thanks for any help; might be a bit outside of your range of preference/experience, but if anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I stayed in a lovely little Umbrian town called Bevagna 2 years ago in the Hotel Palazzo Brunamonti, a recently remodeled stone house in the center of the town. Our double room was spacious, with a lovely modern bathroom with all amenities.

Breakfast was an excellent buffet, much better than your typical roll and coffee, and the people were very gracious. Cost was 70-86 Euros/night for 2 people, everythign included. The town has several wonderful restaurants, an excellent bakery, and is well situated for exploring Assisi, Spoleto, Perugia, Lago Trasimeno,Cortona, Umbertide,etc.

Phone number is 011 39 0742 361932; FAX 0742 361948

Address Corso G. Matteotti, 79 BevagnaHotel Palazzo Brunamonti

Buon viaggio!

Roz :cool:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can think of no reason that upper Umbria would be less expensive than the southern part. And I would think that your 300 euro per week accomodation is about as good as you should expect to find.

FWIW, I certainly second Bevagna as a wonderful place to station. I've spent a week or so spring and fall for several years in or around Bevagna. Its not a hilltown, but was protected by a little river. The town is walkable (and parkable), has good dining options and is very convenient to a dozen good places to visit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bevagna and Montefalco are both lovely places to stay. Wonderful wine.

If you are looking for a medieval hilltop, romantic setting, try this: http://www.vacanzeinumbria.it/ (sorry, I don't know how to post a direct link).

There are apartements for rent in the town of Montone, called the "Chiostro San Francesco". Fair warning: everyone falls in love with the town. And for a tiny, tiny town, the 4 restaurants are all fabulous. Montone is north of Perugia, between Umbertide and Citta di Castello.

Enjoy!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, thanks hathor. Beautiful and < 300E/week to boot. Looks even better than Pugano Alto, although I like the looks of their kitchens...

For anyone looking in the future, here are some other low cost optoins:

www.residencealbarosa.com in NE Umbria, ~300E/week.

Agriturismo Collina S. Michele near Asti is 200E/week.

www.agriturismosalella.it, near Salerno (~Naples) 25E/pp/night.

There are lots of good low end options at www.agriturismo.com, www.agriturismo.it, and www.primitaly.it.

I'll let you all know if I get what I pay for, heh.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Well, yes, but youth hostels tend to be pretty poor value, unless you're a solo traveller.

* They cost at least 15E - 20E/pp anyway.

* They don't usually have parking, and many are in cities, where parking must be paid for.

* The staff tend to be rude, and the hostels dirty (a generalization, but a generally true one).

* Some of them have curfews or require you to leave early and return late.

* For your money you get only a bed in a dorm, sometimes use of a communal fridge, a poorly equipped kitchen, and showers, sometimes with hot water.

* Sometimes you can't stay for more than 4 or so days.

* Many won't accept reservations and get completely full anywhere near high season, which means hostel-related time-wasting silently eats up expensive vacation time.

So, an extra 2 or 3E per person for a whole apartment (or heck, even just a private room!) with a real kitchen, your own fridge, and a bed, plus your own hours, in a beautiful rural setting with carpark, view, swimming pool, etc. is money well spent.

Even those hostels with private double rooms are usually at least 38E/room/night, and usually closer to 45E.

I also have a sneaking suspicions 300E/week is just the tip of the low-cost rental iceberg. I'm sure if I spoke any Italian and was able to phone those agriturismo that don't have websites or email addresses, 200E/week might be closer to the norm. And these mostly appear (by pictures, admittedly) nice places, easily the equivalent of many 2 and 3* hotels.

So, for any other budget travellers, I recommend: skip the hostels! Heck, even skip the train and rent/lease a car from Peugeot or Renault if there're at least two of you, and you'll save a bundle. Counter-intuitive, but seemingly true, unless you only want to see big cities, where parking costs of 20E/day will easily unhand you.

Edit: I should mention, there are many beautiful hostels, in beautiful settings, with justly deserved good reputations. Plus, if you want to meet other travellers, a hostel is the place to do it. But generally, I don't find hostels the best value option.

Edited by dillybravo (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Mark. At Ristorante Rosa in Camogli you will have about the most arresting, all-encompassing view of any restaurant you have been to. The restaurant is on top of a cliff facing out to sea, but with views of the coast to the north and the picturesque port with small boats and brightly-covered residences. The cuisine is classic Ligurian seafood that is simple, fresh and tasty.

I like Martinatica in Pietrasanta. It's in a charming wooded area beyond the town going east. When we were there a woman cooked and her daughter served. It's quaint and slightly run-down, but delicious based on our one meal.

This side of the coast isn't my strong point. Are you going to be close to the French border?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark-

I was in sestri levante a couple of weeks ago. Polpo Mario is a pretty good restaurant in the center of town. If you make it down to the Cinque Terre, La Cantina di Mananon offers really fresh fish in a really small - yet picturesque - hole in the wall on the main street.

Enjoy.

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...