The Best Cinque Terre Restaurants
Welcome to our guide to the best Cinque Terre restaurants. The Cinque Terre is simply incredible and regardless of which villages you see, you’ll never visit another place like this in the world. The combination of mountains, sea, pastel-colored buildings, and Ligurian food that will change your life, you’re in for a treat!
It’s not all roses and butterflies at the Cinque Terre- this tourist destination has a fair share of tourist traps and mediocre restaurants. This guide includes our very favorite Cinque Terre restaurants (and favorite gelateria, placed at the end of the post), complete with rankings and menu recommendations for your next trip to the Cinque Terre.
Tips For Visiting The Cinque Terre
- Pack as light as you possibly can. It’s not an easy place to get around and the less you have the better.
- There are “five lands” or five villages that make up the Cinque Terre. Try to spend time in every village. They are all so different and have their own unique personalities.
- Don’t skip hiking between villages- the views are completely breath-taking and if you’re in moderately good shape it’s manageable. Currently, you can only hike between Monterosso (northernmost village) and Corniglia (third/middle village) due to mudslides in 2011. Complete the hike early in the morning to enjoy the sunrise and skip the crowds.
- Take a boat cruise from one end of the villages to the other. This view of all three villages is amazing.
- Try to arrive at the Cinque Terre by train if possible. Parking is very limited (but still possible!) and you won’t need a car, nor can you use one while in the Cinque Terre.
- If you want to spend a lot of time at the beach, stay at Monterosso. It’s the only village with a legit beach.
- Thinking about staying in Corniglia? This is the most secluded village- it takes 382 steps up a steep hill to access Corniglia!
- Spend at least 2 nights here, 3 or 4 (or more) if you can. It’s a huge hassle to get to the Cinque Terre and you want to enjoy it without rushing back the next day.
- Visiting the Cinque Terre with kids is not impossible but not ideal. The charming and very old villages are not stroller or wheelchair friendly. There are public parks in every village and Italians are super loving and kind to children. If you’re considering doing the hike with children make sure the weather is cool enough and consider taking a hiking backpack for small children.
- Enjoy the incredible food! Try any and all of the regional specialties: pesto, focaccia (Il Massimo Della Foccaccia and Il Frantoio in Monterosso were our favorites), anchovies (so good and so fresh- don’t knock it til you try it!), lemon in everything, and as much fresh seafood as you can get your hands on.
7. Gelateria Golosone (Monterosso)
Gelato in any Italian city deserves its own blog post, but if you’re looking for the best gelato in the Cinque Terre go to Gelateria Golosone in Monterosso. Like all great gelaterias, Golosone does gelato justice by serving fresh, homemade batches of insanely delicious gelato. At a minimum get two scoops- one with a fruit sorbetto and the other with a creamy milk-based gelato.
6. Lunch Box (Vernazza)
Whether you’re grabbing lunch for later in the day or making a mid-hike pit stop in Vernazza, Lunch Box is a great place for no-frills, delicious sandwiches in the Cinque Terre. Create your own sandwich or order house specialties like the “boring caprese” (our favorite) or the “santa marta”. Focaccia bread is a must, and if you’re feeling the need for something fresh order one of their made-to-order juices.
5. Il Pirata Delle 5 Terre (Vernazza)
Il Pirata is on our list of the best Cinque Terre restaurants because they make the best pastries in the Cinque Terre. You can come here for breakfast, lunch, or an early dinner, but we recommend visiting for breakfast. Pull up a chair on their patio and enjoy as many pastries as you can stomach. The peach and apple pastries are fantastic as are the chocolate-filled croissants.
4. Rio Bistrot (Riomaggiore)
Rio Bistrot is one of the best Cinque Terre restaurants not only for their breathtaking views but for the amazing and noteworthy food. This upscale restaurant serves Italian cuisine and seafood that’s incredibly fresh and flavorful. The menu here is known to change but we recommend any dishes that involve fresh pesto, focaccia, and anchovies. Try to make reservations ahead of time- the restaurant is small.
3. Ristorante Miky (Monterosso)
One of the more popular Cinque Terre restaurants, Ristorante Miky serves fantastic food in Monterosso al Mare. Come here for a nice lunch or dinner out if you’re in the mood for seafood. Everything on the menu is fantastic, but the showstoppers include the anchovy sampler appetizer where you can sample several varieties of fresh anchovies all prepared differently (the anchoives with lemon and anchovies with butter are our favorites!). Order any pasta dish that speaks to you and ask to have it covered and torched with a homemade bread crust.
RELATED VIDEO: Eating Anchovies & Pasta in The Cinque Terre
2. Ristorante Ciak (Monterosso)
Ristorante Ciak may seem all too good to be true, with its reasonably priced lunch and dinner entrees, pasta that melts in your mouth, and the most adorable chef (Ciak himself) slinging pots and pans in the kitchen with his sailor cap, but this is no doubt one of the best Cinque Terre restaurants. Menu highlights here are the homemade gnocchi with pesto and seafood spaghetti or “spaghetti ciak”. Don’t rush this meal- you’ll want to slowly savor every last bite and clean up the sauce on your pasta plate with copious amounts of bread.
1. Trattoria Dal Billy (Manarola)
If you can only go to one of these Cinque Terre restaurants- one with stunning views, great service, and spectacular food, eat at Trattoria Dal Billy. You’ll need a reservation and some good walking shoes to get into this Manarola restaurant. The seafood starter appetizer is an absolute must, with 12 different small plates of fresh, uniquely-prepared seafood specialties, both hot and cold. The handmade taglierini pasta is life-changing and served with shrimp, peppers, fresh tomatoes, and pine nuts. Dal Billy has views that will make you never want to leave the Cinque Terre and food that will release enough endorphins to last the entire weekend.