Walking through Albissola Marina you can breathe Art on every corner, from the Lungomare degli Artisti to the galleries of sculptors and painters that you find in every street. This small but charmy place is located on a characteristic narrow street not far from the sea and from the roman road Via Aurelia. On the walls, paintings and sculptures by local artists, such as Giacomo, husband of Tiziana, the chef of the Artrattoria who designed the tables dedicating them to great painters. An all-female management both in the dining room and in the kitchen welcomes customers with a smile and seduces them with Tiziana’s delicious and original dishes. The menu changes every month because it is linked to seasonal products and local fresh fish. In autumn, we starts with tataki tuna with beetroot and honey cream, or pumpkin and almond pulp or seared squid with seasonal vegetables (to taste). In the first courses, enjoy the exquisite fish carbonara, the specialty of Tiziana, or the orange-flavored salmon ravioli with salted ricotta. We continue with cod meatballs with zucchini or the redfish soup. Meat dishes such as deer roast beef and rabbit roll with hazelnuts and taragna polenta are two classic staples. Excellent choice also in homemade desserts. The wine list is curated with interesting proposals from the area and beyond.
Externally the restaurant looks like a typical small town diner, but upon entering the very large room, you will be welcomed by the owner with warmth and kindness and will find unusual and special dishes on the menu: breaded snails with hazelnuts on a leek mousse, egg cocotte with white truffle, spinach and cauliflower flan with fondue, hen salad with grana cheese dressing with a 50-month maturing (from 8 to 15 €). In the first courses, the appetizing oxtail ravioli, the delicious tortellini pasta with porcini mushrooms, the veroniche (typical piedmontese ravioli del plin topped with fondue) are mouthwatering, and the cappelletti with a double shrimp, (all for € 10). The latter are all to be tasted, starting from the crispy pork belly with prunes and the pheasant breast with chestnuts and mushrooms (from 10 to 15 €). The menu also offers excellent sea food, shrimp and octopus, very tasty especially when are cooked at low temperature. In season there are always mushrooms and truffles, coming in original combinations and preparations. To finish the homemade desserts like the double chocolate cake with sweet potatoes and pears, the soft meringue with cream and the classic tiramisu served in large glasses (all for € 6). Coffee is made with the mocha. The kitchen opens onto the dining room to give you a peek at the setting where the husband’s owner, chef Marco Moraglio works with professionalism and competence. The nearby motorway exit also favors a stop for those passing through.
We are in Val Pennavaire, an oasis of greenery and tranquility, which leads to a cuisine based on Zero KM food, where vegetables are grown in the family garden and herbs are collected in the nearby countryside. The menu is strictly seasonal and served with an oil extracted with hard work from the steep terraces that separate the restaurant from the hamlet of Colletta, which is deservedly included among the most beautiful villages in Italy. The chef bears the name of a flower, Rosa, and is nice and skilled. After inserting vegetarian and vegan dishes in traditional inland cuisine, she has now launched herself with originality in the cooking with flowers. Rosa knows the right processing times, the correct quantity of iungredients to use and the appropriate combinations. You can choose à la carte dishes or the tasting menu, which often varies according to the season and the availability of the products. It also often organizes interesting themed evenings, with refined and light dishes. Here are some suggestions: the violet Asparagus with vegan violets mayonnaise; potato gnocchi paired with a nasturtium pesto; zucchini stuffed with calendula and geranium. Her husband Marino, who takes care of the cellar, works with the best selections of Ligurian production and also has 8 elegant rooms and a welcoming garden.
Although located in the municipality of Finale Ligure, Osteria La Briga is surrounded by the greenery of the Manie plateau, in a rural landscape where in summer you can enjoy the coolness, away from the beaches and the noises of the coast. Outside the tavern, under the trees, among the household artifacts made of wrought iron and straw, the wooden tables and the benches, illuminated by small lights, make the environment extremely pleasant and relaxing. The menu offers simple and genuine typical dishes, with excellent quality ingredients, mainly oriented on meat, but also on vegetables dishes. In the mixed appetizer we find the classic veal with tuna sauce, vegetable pies, Russian salad, etc. (14 euros). The homemade pastas, such as gnocchi with pesto, ravioli with sauce flavourings or with rabbit ragout are all mouthwatering (prices from 9 to 12 euros). Among the first courses delicious soups and Ligurian minestrone are also served (8 euros). Various types of grilled meat accompanied by roasted vegetables (rabbit, chanterelle, lamb, etc.) prevail from 17 to 21 euros. Excellent homemade desserts. Good choice of local wines, and a wide choice of craft beers. Ideal stop also for snacks and aperitifs, and for quick lunches. You can taste seasonal truffles and mushrooms as well. Young and competent staff, both in the kitchen and in the dining room, make your break comfortable with their sympathy and kindness.
Historic spot in the center of the city, where you can taste two types of “farinata”, a very special unleavened pancake of chickpea flour: the one made of wheat flour or the white flour one, as it is called in this area. Cooked in a tin-plated copper pan called “testo”, in a wood-fired oven, you can eat it only in Savona and in a few other places in Albissola, a few kilometers away, hard to find anywhere else on the Riviera di Ponente and Levante area. The white flour farinata is rigorously tasted with the cheese (fresh goat cheese) and the local black olives. Chickpea farinata is also served with many ingredients in addition to olives, with gorgonzola, rosemary, gianchetti (whitebait fish), spring onions. In this historical location you can taste first courses like legume or fish soups (4 or 8€), borage ravioli (8€) and gnocchi with pesto (7€), among the latter the typical stuffed anchovies (8€), seafood salads (9€), and sea bream “frisceu”, a local fish & chips dish (7€). Not only fish but also dishes from the Ligurian hinterland such as stuffed vegetables, herb pies, artichokes, “prescinseua” (variety of curd cheese with a consistency half way between yogurt and ricotta cheese) of Genoese tradition (8€), and meat dishes. To finish, house desserts, such as chocolate pudding (grandmother’s recipe) and baked pears (all for 4€). Low prices and a relaxed atmosphere like a real trattoria, make it a very popular place for locals and tourists who want to taste the well cooked and genuine local specialties.
Located on the docks of Savona’s harbour, this sober restaurant has a cosy and pleasant atmosphere, with characteristic brick walls; the owner reserves a warm and professional welcome to all his guests, and during the summer some tables are added outdoor, in Rebagliati square. The name “Gattafura” is inspired by a traditional Genoese savoury pie containing chards, fresh cheese, and mint. The cuisine is traditional, typical of this territory, with several fish dishes. An example are the starters, such as king prawns with bacon, octopus with potatoes, stock fish in the brandacujun version, and trawl line tartare. Among the first courses, we strongly recommend squid ink ravioli with mussel filling, and the gnocchetti (smaller gnocchi) with monkfish. Other flavourful options are the seafood fried mix, and the mussels, clam, and shellfish mix; but also, whichever fish is available on the day, served with a side of vegetables form the garden. The a la carte menu changes weekly, in line with the inspiration of the chef, and with the availability of fresh ingredients. It is also possible to enjoy meaty options, of a fine quality, and well prepared. The desserts are always homemade. The wines mostly represent the local area, but some offers are included from other Italian regions, such as the Piedmontese Timorasso. The value for money is fair: average price of 40 Euros per person.
In the inlands of Finale Ligure, and only 6 kms from the busy beaches of the Ligurian Riviera, the restaurant “Al Tre” recently opened its doors. It is located right at the centre of the small village of Calice Ligure, where we recommend that you also pay a visit to an important museum of modern art established in the fascinating “Consul House”. This restaurant is a venture of two resourceful young women, Sonia e Mohana, who decided to change their lives and bet everything on this business, also involving their partners. The kitchen is the kingdom of Sonia, who proposes traditional recipes but with some creative twists, while Mohana is in charge of the front of house, always ready to welcome their guests with a smile. The location has been tastefully re-designed, and some vintage objects have been preserved and displayed, giving the place a pleasant retro’ atmosphere. The frescoed dining hall is also used as an art gallery. The menu features meat and fish dishes, such as the donkey stracotto (a stew) and stuffed squids, homemade pasta with surf and turf ragu sauce, squid ink lasagnas, and chestnut tagliatelle with wild boar sauce. The desserts are sophisticated, and complement well a pleasant lunch or dinner, in a welcoming atmosphere. Excellent value for money, with the tasting menu set at 25 € with meat, 30 € with fish.
The monastery of Millesimo is a magical place, a small jewel of the XIII century medieval architecture surrounded by a beautiful park where you can stay in charming rooms. Inside the restaurant’s rooms are beautifully frescoed, well furnished and the fireplaces with the grand piano, make the location very welcoming. Pino and Donatella are the owners and managers of the Relais since 2014 and have succeeded, after a terrible fire in 2017, to reopen and continue the business. Ideal place for events and ceremonies, but also for moments of relaxation to be enjoyed in the beautiful rooms, where in the morning you are pampered by breakfast in your room. Cooking is assigned to the chef Matteo Pantoliano who offers a genuine and authentic cuisine, with local products. The tasting menu at 48 euro includes seven courses or à la carte you can choose among the appetizers, the fassone meat tartare, the boletus mushroom dumplings or the flavored octopus (from 8 to 12 euro), among the first courses the Gragnano paccheri with delicate burrata and seared prawns, awarded in 2017, and taleggio ravioli with pears and fresh herbs (from 10 to 12 euro), among the second courses we mention braised beef with Barolo and sea bass on lemon cream (from 12 to 18 euro). Delicious homemade desserts. Pino will recommend you the best wines thanks to a well-stocked wine cellar and Donatella guarantees the dining room’s service, always with a smile.
You can still find traditional Ligurian food in the renowned and famous Alassio, a true authentic trattoria, with the menu written in dialect by hand on a notebook like the ones used in schools many years ago: an informal atmosphere, black and white photos from the 70’s on the walls of children or “matetti” in dialect posing in their school uniform or for group pictures. Upon entering you’ll see a big blackboard with the daily dishes. Dishes follow Ligurian tradition, flavorful big portions. It’s a piity one has to choose as all dishes are worth trying. The owners are always happy and nice, sometimes they pretend to be grouchy but they’re just joking around and they’ll catch you off guard. For starters try their mixed appetizer with fried anchovies, seafood salad, cabbage wraps and Recco focaccia. Among their first courses we recommend their ravioli, pansotti, tagliatelle with bottarga and shrimp and the “gasse”: farfalle shaped fresh pasta, with pesto and potatoes. Among second dishes you’ll find mixed fried seafood, rabbit, octopus, stewed squid and the codfish. Their selection of desserts includes classics such as the bunet, tiramisù and ice creams. Their delicious apple fritters are served to everyone at the end of the meal. Small cellar with Vermentino and Pigato at reasonable prices. Excellent value for your money, a meal will set you back about € 25. Reservations are recommended.
It is always enjoyable to venture into the hinterland of Albenga, full of small historic villages, and pleasant places to visit. Ortovero is one of these, surrounded by vineyards and orchards, surrounded by greenery, in every season it is always interesting to follow this road that leads to Piedmont and make a stop in this restaurant to enjoy a simple and genuine cuisine. The real cuisine of the territory interpreted by Adriana, the cook, and proposed by Claudio, the manager, who host the guests with kindness and competence and tell their menu, made of local and seasonal products, The dining room is large and well furnished, the atmosphere warm. We start with delicious fryings of artichokes, bread, sausage skewers, ravioli with herbs, omelette, served in a small basket. But the appetizers have yet to arrive: meat tartare, shepherd’s cheese with honey and hazelnuts, panissa salad. Two first courses. The fantastic ravioli with herbs and noodles with borage made by Adriana. Among the second courses you may choose between the rabbit, the stewed boar, the excellent boiled beef breast or the snails. Homemade desserts, such as apple crumble with cinnamon ice cream, very tasty. The tasting menu is offered at 30 euro, including the wines of the Ortovero cooperative, namely Pigato, Rossese and Vermentino. Reservations are recommended.