We had some seriously delicious food in Cinque Terre, but we also went to a couple places that ended up being touristy and bland (with crappy service to boot). You won’t find those places on this best restaurants in Cinque Terre list, and frankly we were led there by our Lonely Planet book, which was super disappointing. Just goes to show that you have to do a lot of your own research and cross check recommendations with online reviews!
The Italian food in Cinque Terre is very centered around seafood, given its location right on the cliffs by the ocean. There are several ligurian dishes that you must try while you’re in Cinque Terre, including (but certainly not limited to) anything pesto trofie (trofie is a type of pasta I hadn’t heard of before but they’re basically short and twisty), seafood linguine, focaccia, and fritto misto.
Just a heads up that a lot of people in the restaurant biz in Cinque Terre are not super friendly. There were definitely some exceptions, but the norm was cool, abrupt, and sometimes straight up rude service. That might feel like a shock after coming from places like Rome or Florence, where people are super warm and friendly for the most part. It’s just part of this area’s culture, so try not to take it too personally (even though it’s hard to not wonder why your waiter hates you).
Part of the joy of dining in Cinque Terre is experiencing a leisurely meal while enjoying stunning cliffside views. Many of the restaurants on this list have views that are to die for, and I’ll be sure to call them out so you can book an outdoor table. And speaking of booking tables, reservations are absolutely key here for any restaurant, and you’ll want to make them at least a few days in advance (more if you’re traveling during the high season).
If you’re heading to beautiful Cinque Terre, be sure to check out all of my other Cinque Terre posts!
BEST RESTAURANTS IN CINQUE TERRE: MONTEROSSO
La Torre Aurora: La Torre Aurora was one of my favorite meals during my entire month in Italy! Everything was exquisite, from the food, to the service, to the jaw-dropping views. If you like foie, the foie gras ravioli is absolutely not to be missed—it was legit to die for. They have plenty of outdoor seating, and we had a little area down some stairs all to ourselves, with gorgeous views of Monterosso and the sea. We sipped delicious cocktails, watched the sun set, and enjoyed a beautiful dinner here. Even if you don’t come here for dinner (which I highly recommend), you should still come for drinks as their cocktails were great and there are plenty of seats with stunning views.
L’Ancora della Tortuga: Our Airbnb host was the cutest/sweetest Italian gentleman who grew up in Cinque Terre. He recommended Tortuga as his favorite restaurant in Monterosso. The interior is maritime-themed, and also sits right on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Definitely ask to be seated outside to enjoy the views, and enjoy their yummy seafood pasta and grilled fish dishes.
Ristorante Belvedere: This spot is casual and so, so delicious. We had lunch here one day and our eyes were a bit bigger than our stomachs—we ordered fritto misto and a (very large) seafood pasta platter to share and it was one of our favorite things we ate in Cinque Terre.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN CINQUE TERRE: VERNAZZA
Belforte: Belforte is probably one of Cinque Terre’s most popular restaurants. It sits inside a former castle right by the sea, and they serve delicious Ligurian dishes, seafood pasta, and local fresh fish. I tried calling literally dozens of times to make a reservation, but no one ever answered. I ended up stopping by in person one afternoon when we were in Vernazza, to make reservations for lunch the following day.
Lunch Box: If you’re looking for a quick bite for lunch at reasonable prices, Lunch Box is a good option in Vernazza. They even have vegan and gluten free options on the menu.
Il Pirata delle 5 Terre: This restaurant was a recommendation from a follower, but we didn’t have the chance to eat here ourselves. By the reviews, it looks fantastic, and a little out of the main Vernazza fray. Fresh ingredients, reasonable prices, and friendly owners make for a lovely experience that causes a lot of repeat customers. It also looks like they also have great pastries and cappuccino if you’re looking for a quick Italian breakfast.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN CINQUE TERRE: CORNIGLIA
A Cantina da Mananan: This cute little osteria in Corniglia has beautifully prepared dishes (pasta and seafood, of course!), in a quaint atmosphere. There are only eight tables in the whole place, so be sure to make a reservation ahead of time!
Bar Terza Terra di Cadario Alison: This wine bar is a super charming spot that sits underneath olive trees, overlooking the sea (of course!). It’s the perfect spot in Corniglia to enjoy a glass of wine, snacks, and a stunning sunset.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN CINQUE TERRE: MANAROLA
Trattoria dal Billy: Billy’s was another favorite dining experience of ours while in Italy. It was literally a stone’s throw away from our Airbnb, and our Airbnb host told us that Billy’s was his favorite restaurant in all of Cinque Terre. We were able to get lunch reservations a few days out, and I’m so glad we were able to experience this spot! We were seated at a beautiful corner table on the patio, with sweeping views of Manarola, its wine terraces, and the ocean. And the fresh pasta and fish dishes were absolutely fabulous. Definitely get the berry semi-freddo for dessert—I’m usually more of a chocolate girl but our waiter highly recommended this dessert and it was fan-freaking-tastic.
Nessun Dorma: This spot probably gives Belforte a run for its money in terms of popularity. And this place is all about the view. It’s located basically at Manarola’s scenic viewpoint, and the view from here is an iconic shot that’s basically used for every Cinque Terre guide book and postcard you’ve ever seen. The food is nothing to write home about, but man, those views. The line gets insanely long to get in, so I’d recommend coming early before dinner/sunset time to get a table with a view, and then take your sweet-ass time ordering wine and charcuterie.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN CINQUE TERRE: RIOMAGGIORE
Bar e Vini a Piè de Mà: We had such a fun happy hour at this spot! It’s on the opposite side of the Riomaggiore train station as the main drag and restaurants, so it’s a bit quieter, which I loved. Their views of the cliffs and ocean were so beautiful, and we got a table right on the edge looking down. We had a leisurely espresso, then wine and charcuterie, and we were seriously in heaven.
Rio Bistro: If you’re looking for fine dining and views, Rio Bistro in Riomaggiore is a good bet. They serve elevated seafood in a beautiful setting, with a focus on freshly caught fish del mare and local wines.
Are you drooling yet?? Me too. ?
Cinque Terre is best known for pasta al pesto with trofie and trenette types of pasta. Farinata pancakes made with chickpea flour is also very popular in Cinque Terre.
The best time to visit Cinque Terre is mid-May to mid-September to enjoy the seaside and have a swim.
If you really enjoy spending your time near the water and on the beach, it is recommended to spend 2 to 3 days. If you just want to visit the villages it is recommended to spend a minimum of a day. One full day is enough to see the best of Cinque Terre.
The 5 villages of Cinque Terre are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore.