Our first evening, we head down the hill from HotelVilla Steno to an old favorite, Ristorante al Carugio. We start with two anchovy appetizers, anchovies with lemon and stuffed anchovies, then followed with pressed octopus, a great way new (to us) way to serve octopus, and trofie pesto, a simple regional favorite with pasta and fresh pesto. Our server remembers us from last year and proudly shows us pictures of his five-month-old daughter and tells us all about her exploits.
Ristorante al Carugio is in the passageway
Anchovy in lemon and pressed octopus
We have two dinners at another old favorite, La Cantina Di Miky, near the train station in Monterosso's new town. I have the same special both times, octopus with capers on mashed potatoes, while Laura has tagliatelle with anchovies, capers, and olives one night and seafood stew the other. For a starter, we share fried anchovies.
Fried Anchovy starter
We know the Cantine fills up fast and make sure to stop in early in the day and make a reservation. And, our server at La Cantina Di Miky also remembers us from last year.
One stop we make every year is Ristorante Il Moretto, with a great location in the old town. We share an octopus salad, then their speciality, Risotto Fruitti Mare. Incredible.
Risotto Fruitti Mare
Our best dinner (although it was really close) is at L'Ancora della Tortuga, near the ferry pier in Monterosso. We have the most incredible seafood appetizer of assorted dishes with fish, shrimp, calamari, anchovies, octopus, and probably several others we can't remember. One evening we each have the appetizer and that is enough. Our last evening, we share the appetizer and then a main course of fried octopus and fish served in brown paper.
Follow the sign for great food
We have to mention one other place where we have a great lunch. After hiking from Monterosso to Vernazza, we start up the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia, and after a hundred meters or so up, pass the entrance to a bar/restaurant. It looks interesting, so we hike, catch the train back to Vernazza and walk back up the path to La Torre.
Sign and entrance to La Torre
For lunch we share a bruschetta with tomatoes and anchovies and a plate of octopus, along with a half liter of local white wine. Simple and incredibly good. And, the views can't be beat!
Lunch at La Torre - bruschetta and octopus
View of Vernazza (and Monterosso in the distance) from our table at La Torre
A quick note about street food. For lunch in Riomaggiore one afternoon, we share a cone of fried octopus and calamari, followed by gelatto (lemon cream and pistachio). What a treat!
Pick your cone
The gelatto goes fast
We finish with a glass or prosecco at La Conchiglia, above the ferry stop in Riomaggiore.
Relaxing after the hike and lunch with a glass of prosecco
Between the hiking, swimming, and eating, our days are full.