Italian Riviera Best Restaurant: the ultimate guide

italian-riviera-restaurant
Travelling with friends motorway service areas are certainly the worst way to start your trip.
 
That’s why when I prepare the plan for my next trip I do my best to arrive at the destination at lunch time or dinner time.
 
I gather all information about the best local food, local wine and the best restaurant where i can find it.
 
I have to hustle pretty much to get all information I need most of the time: even on tripAdvisor is plenty of restaurants with very inconsistent reviews.
 
This problem is even worst in Italy: there are many good restaurants and lack of trusted information online.
 
So I decided make a selection of the best restaurant on the West Italian Riviera for an informal lunch or dinner.
 
Before I started I chose specific requirements for not getting out of the tracks. In this particular list the restaurants have to:
  • Propose a typical Italian food (not pizzeria);
  • Propose homemade dishes;
  • Propose local wines;
  • Have an informal approach;
  • Have an affordable price
  • Do not request the reservation
In this guide, you will find all the best restaurants and trattorias for a nice, enjoyable lunch or dinner.
 
Are you ready? Here we go!

Cafè Monet is in a very quiet corner of Bordighera train station square.
On a sunny day you can eat outside in the little dehor. Even if it is cold, the interior room is very welcoming, tastefully furnished and well lit by sunlight,

A young and smiling staff will welcome you as a friend.

The menu has a few dishes, very inviting and enough to satisfy all tastes: a tasty first, a light carpaccio, a tartare or an octopus.

The menu has a few dishes. But all are inviting, and enough to meet all tastes: a tasty pasta, a light carpaccio, a tartare or a fresh octopus.

All desserts are homemade. I tried the chocolate cake and it was really good!

The menu varies frequently and you will never be disappointed.

Pepe Rosa is a small restaurant with a few seats in the center of Bordighera. A few steps from Corso Italia the restaurant door is often closed, but do not be shy: once inside the friendly staff will make you fell like at home.
Lucia, the owner, is also the restaurant chef and she gets out of the kitchen quite rarely.
But if you knock on the kitchen’s door to say hello, you will come back with a smile.

Among all the restaurants in this list, Pepe Rosa is the only one to offer the daily menu: 2 courses of choice between appetizers, pasta and meat or fish. The dessert is included.

The choice is always between four menus with different dishes but at the same price of 22 €.

You will find fresh, simple, inviting and carefully prepared dishes: raw tuna, mussels, gnocchetti, grilled squids…

Here the wine is selected according to what you choose from the menu.
You can choose both local wines and wines from other regions.

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Il Giardino is perhaps the most demanding of the list, not for the bill, but for the number of dishes that will taste and for the time you will spend at the table.
 
This restaurant at the entrance to the historic center of Vallebona is a great classic, my father remembers exactly the same since the ’60s.
 
The management is familiar and often the owner welcomes you with a smile.
 
At “Il Giardino” there is no menu: you sit down, you chose the wine and girls start to serve innumerable “small” home-made portions.
 
You will start with many local antipasti, then ravioli and tagliatelle to finish with the second of the meat. You can also have desserts if you ask!
 
Personally when I go to “Il Giardino” and I can’t to spend so much time inside, this is my choice:
  • a Barbagiua’ (local antipasto)
  • Ravioli with butter and sage
  • Boar as a second.
As a wine I recommend an excellent Rossese di Dolceacqua!

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Trattoria dei Pani is a Tuscan trattoria, created by the family who has been managing the most prestigious Marco Polo Restaurant for sixty years.

The idea is to propose simple, traditional, home-made dishes, less than 10 € each.

If you go from Ventimiglia it’s hard not to notice it!
In fact, you will find it right next to the public market with their traditional red and white tablecloths.

The menu is varied and all the dishes are very inviting. If it is your first time at the trattoria I recommend at least two of these dishes:
Brandacujun (a typical Ligurian appetizer)
Tagliatelle with rabbit meat
Tuna
Chocolate soft cremino.

Restaurant’s wine list is a proper selection suitable for the cuisine of the trattoria.

People from Ventimiglia used to choose Geppy’s Bistrot in the lunch break, to find a tasty meal at an affordable price.

The ambiance is fresh and modern.

Among the restaurants in this list maybe the Geppy’s is the one with fewer dishes but carefully selected to satisfy both meat and fish lovers.

Octopus, Seafood spaghetti or a light fish with vegetables are the options I choose most.

My friend Roberto says instead that “Ravioli di carne ed erbette a nostro modo” are unbeatable…

Maybe he’s right!

And here we are at the last, unexpected, trattoria that I recommend for an informal meal!

Okay, his real name is not “Il Benzinaio” (“The gas station” in English) in fact.

The truth is that being right next to a Gas Station on the road to Coldirodi, they call it that way.

His real name is “L’orizzonte”, but, believe me, if you mention “Il Benzinaio”, local people will understand you.

Service is essential. Paper tablecloths.

Upon your arrival, looking around you will see many locals eating with satisfaction.

Those who choose Il Benzinaio want to eat mainly:

Ravioli
Rostelle (Meat Skewer)
Ravioli, seasoned with tomato sauce or with butter and sage, melt into the mouth. You will not stop eating them.

Rostelle is a traditional dish imported from Abruzzo region.

At Il Benzinaio the serve, it upside down in traditional ceramic mugs. The meat is great perfectly cooked. Even in this case, one pulls the other.

I personally prefer beer rather than wine here, but it’s a matter of taste.

My guide to the best inns on the Riviera ends here for the moment, but I’m always looking for other pearls to discover.

May I  ask you a favor. This post required hours of my time to be written. Make me a happy and click on the button below and share this post on Facebook!

If you know other restaurants that you liked it and you think I should add them on this guide, leave a comment below right now to let me know.
I will be happy to try them and include them on the list!

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