During a stay in Genoa we can not renounce to know the city thanks to the excellent and typical gastronomy that reveals a lot of the territory and its people.

The Genoese have been able to invent (and today they know how to carry on with great skill) a simple and local cuisine based on tasty, genuine and certainly irresistible dishes.

So we can, indeed, we must absolutely take advantage of the opportunity and, after a visit to the main attractions of the city and a walk along the picturesque alleys of the old town, let us be surprised by a symphony of authentic flavors in the best restaurants of the area.

Il Genovese

best places to eat in Genoa

A few steps from the heart of Genoa, the central Via XX Settembre, we stop at the “Genovese”, to take the opportunity to enjoy, in a modern and well-lit dining room, genuine and natural foods that are the pride of traditional Ligurian cuisine.

Here, between tradition and quality ingredients, the “king of the table” is pesto. A pesto prepared exclusively with Basilico Genovese dop, Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Parmigiano Reggiano dop, Pecorino Fiore Sardo dop, Pinoli, Aglio di Vessalico (Liguria), Sea Salt of Trapani (Sicily).

And think: the owner, Roberto Panizza aka The king of Pesto, is one of the ambassadors of pesto in the world as well as animator of the World Pesto Championship!

So we can not give up, observing the rich menu, to taste those dishes enriched with pesto: Gnocchi di patate fatti in casa al Pesto, Trofie di Castagne al Pesto, Minestrone alla genovese con Scucuzzun e Pesto…

Roberto Panizza aka The king of Pesto

Ostaia de Banchi

Ostaia de Banchi Genoa restaurant

Very close the lively area of ​​Porto Antico, let’s stop at the Ligurian / Genoese tavern Ostaia de Banchi. 

Here, in a characteristic and cozy location with an open kitchen, we can taste traditional dishes (renewed every month and a half following the seasonality of local products) and rediscover the ancient, almost forgotten recipes of Liguria such as Torta Saià and Battolli (chestnut noodles from Uscio, Genoa).

Do not miss the Genoese variant of Tiramisù, invented by the owners, which consists of the biscuit of the Lagaccio instead of the ladyfingers, a milk cream taken from a Ligurian cake, the prescinseua (Genoese curd) mantecata (as it used to be once) with honey and sugar and, finally, a sprinkling of cocoa.

eat in Genoa: variant of Tiramisù

Il Cadraio

eat in Genoa: Il Cadraio restaurant

In a side street of Via Garibaldi, where there are the most beautiful buildings of the city or the Palazzi dei Rolli, a stop at the Il Cadraio restaurant is a must to taste the dishes of the Ligurian cuisine.

In the cozy restaurant, a former medieval stables with exposed brick and decorated tiles, we can savor traditional Ligurian dishes surrounded by a family atmosphere.

Absolutely to try Cappon Magro (an ancient traditional Ligurian dish based on fish and vegetables resting on a base of biscuit), prepared in the winter season, Minestrone served in the terracotta pot and the fanciful farinata with various fillings to satisfy every palate (for example, sausage and crescenza, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms …)

eat in Genoa: farinata with sausage and crescenza

Trattoria Rosmarino

Trattoria Rosmarino, restaurant in Genoa

In the historic center of Genoa, next to Palazzo Ducale, we can find a wide selection of traditional Genoese and Ligurian dishes revisited at Trattoria Rosmarino. 

In a relaxed and enchanting location, we let ourselves be surprised by dishes homemade with local products: just to name a few, baccalà brandacujun (a typical Ligurian recipe based on simple and genuine ingredients: potatoes, cod, pine nuts, parsley and extra-virgin olive oil), rosemary lasagna and fish dishes bought every morning at the fish market in the square Cavour.

We can not finish the meal without tasting the delicious desserts including millefoglie, chocolate cramble and bianco mangiare alle mandorle.

Eat in Genoa, where?

La Buca di San Matteo

La Buca di San Matteo, restaurant in Genoa

In the historical heart of Genoa, we can stop to taste Ligurian dishes and creative recipes between soft lights and stone arches: just enter the Buca di San Matteo.

In a location of great charm with wooden beams and a suggestive atmosphere, the restaurant offers a cuisine based on excellence and on the constant search for quality using only selected raw materials.

Looking at the rich menu we are spoiled for choice: appetizers, starters, main courses and desserts that meet the expectations and tastes of all palates to discover Ligurian cuisine.

appetizers in Genoa

Sà Pesta

eat in Genoa: Sà Pesta

In the heart of Genoa we find Sa ‘Pesta, a trattoria of the past, a historic restaurant where you go back in time to savor the traditional Genoese cuisine thanks to a menu composed exclusively of ancient Genoese recipes.

In a local dating back to the nineteenth century and which has retained its traditional appearance, we can let ourselves be delighted by the thin, golden and fragrant farinata or taste the typical Genoese vegetable pies prepared according to the most ancient tradition. Sa’ Pesta is a typical Sciamadda (a place where they make farinata also take away) and surprises for the huge and traditional wood-burning oven at the entrance where you can see live the preparation of  farinata.

Swiss chard cake, onion cake, rice cake, meatloaf, stuffed with vegetables, stuffed anchovies are the specialties of the Sa ‘Pesta trattoria.

Farinata at Sà Pesta in Genoa

I Canovacci

best places to eat in Genoa: I Canovacci

In the most ancient and typical center of Genoa we can have lunch in a characteristic restaurant with a warm and friendly atmosphere: I Canovacci.

Here we can learn about the Genoese cuisine thanks to a menu rich in tradition, as if we were guests of the “grandmothers of the past”. We can always find: a sandwich; a savory cake; a soup; a pasta; a lasagna; a meat; a fish; vegetables; a cheese; three sweets.

This “scheme” is repeated for six days a week from Monday to Saturday but never the same. Every day these dishes have a different content that changes in relation to what is find on the market bench. The only common thread is the seasonality and quality of the products (without forgetting bread and focaccia that are kneaded every day).

We can find the Ligurian / Genoese tradition one day in trofie al pesto, on Friday in stockfish, on Thursday in tripe… And how could we give up a small selection of homemade dry pastries (baci di dama, canestrelli, cantucci)?

Eat in Genoa: I Canovacci

Trattoria da Osvaldo

Trattoria da Osvaldo in Genoa

In the heart of the ancient fishing village of Boccadasse, a few steps from the marina, we can not miss the opportunity to taste the Ligurian seafood specialties of Trattoria da Osvaldo, a restaurant with a family atmosphere with paintings inspired by the sea.

Here, on the square from which you can breathe the scent of the sea, the dominant theme are the fish dishes: Cappon Magro, stoccafisso brandacuiun, fish ravioli, fritters of codfish, just to name a few.

To taste also the pansotti with walnut and pine nut sauce, a real delicacy.

A fish recipe in Genoa Trattoria da Osvaldo

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