Best Food on the Italian Riviera: What to Eat

what to eat in liguria

As you wander through the colorful towns of the Italian Riviera, you will be tantalized by the region’s culinary offerings. My name is Elana, and having moved from Canada to Italy and settled into the charming town of Santa Margherita Ligure, I’ve embraced the Ligurian way of life with open arms—and an open palate. The Mediterranean diet is reputed to be one of the healthiest ones to follow. It may be healthy, but don’t worry, you will not feel for a moment that you are dieting!  After having shared some stories about italian cuisine and its way of life, here I’ll share with you the best of Ligurian cuisine, providing a guide on what to eat and where to dine for a truly exclusive and delicious experience.

Typical Ligurian Dishes

Liguria, a crescent-shaped region nestled between the mountains and the Mediterranean, offers a unique culinary tapestry woven with fresh seafood, aromatic herbs, and some of the finest olive oils. Begin your gastronomic journey with Focaccia di Recco, a cheese-filled delight  made of paper thin pastry with a crispy top that is nothing short of addictive. It’s close relative, the “plain” focaccia, is a salty, heavenly, treat. You cannot miss Pesto Genovese, while in Liguria, made with fresh basil from the hills of Genoa, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and olive oil. Pesto Genovese, is a sauce that has conquered tables worldwide but is best enjoyed here, at its source since it is completely unlike any other version you will try in other areas of Italy. The pesto is made from the tiny delicate leaves that are grown on the terraced gardens. It’s the landscape itself, the sunshine and the sea air that render the basil so delicate and aromatic. Before I moved to the Riviera, I hated basil pesto, as I found it way too strong. You simply have to try it to understand. 

For seafood lovers, the Fritto Misto—a lightly fried medley of fresh catch from the Ligurian Sea—is a must. Pair this with a glass of local Vermentino as you overlook the sparkling sea, for a meal you won’t forget. And for those in search of the ultimate comfort food, the Trofie al Pesto offers a heartwarming twist on pasta that perfectly encapsulates the flavors of the region. They are tiny hand-twisted pasta noodles. The name trofie derives from “strofinare”, describing the action of twisting the pasta with one’s fingertips. 

Where to Eat on the Italian Riviera

The Italian Riviera boasts an array of dining experiences, from rustic trattorias hidden in narrow alleyways to sophisticated restaurants overlooking the blue sea. In Santa Margherita Ligure, Capo Nord offers a platform on the sea, with panoramic views where you can savor Ligurian specialties under the stars. For a touch of history with your meal, visit Stella in Portofino, known for its seafood ravioli and an impressive list of local wines.

For an authentic experience, I recommend Trattoria Tripoli, where the locals go for the freshest catch and homemade pastas. La Taverna del Marinaio is a Portofino classic and the seafood antipasto offers you little a taste of everything. 

Discover the True Italian Riviera

Exploring the Italian Riviera is about more than just visiting; it’s about living the experience. Whether you’re contemplating a temporary stay or considering buying a home in Italy, I offer personalized services to help you navigate the real estate landscape with ease. My handpicked properties in Santa Margherita Ligure and beyond are not just places to live but gateways to experiencing the authentic Italian lifestyle.

As you indulge in the culinary delights of the region, let me guide you through the exclusive corners of the Riviera, from luxurious rentals to potential homes. My goal is to ensure that every aspect of your journey is as exquisite as the meals you’ll enjoy here. 

Ready to taste the true Italian Riviera? Let’s embark on this delicious journey together.

At Home selects the finest gems of vacation rentals on the Italian Riviera for you to feel home away from home in the luxury settings of extraordinary beauty.

Vacation rentals

Discover our properties for rent
in the Italian Riviera.