92 Via R. Birolli, Manarola, Italy
0187 920 103
Il Porticciolo Manarola Reviews
Great, affordable fare for tourists and locals alike Mar 22, 2008
We decided to try the Trattoria Il Porticciolo from a referral out of one of our guidebooks, mainly because it advertised 6-euro pasta dishes, and we were pretty strapped for cash.
While their dishes averaged more towards 8 or 9 euro than 6, this little trattoria stole my heart. It is hands-down my favorite eatery in the Cinque Terre.
Il Porticciolo is pretty much in direct competition with the larger, more expensive, ocean-front restaurant Marina Piccola, so they're cheaper. The first night we went there, the service was ok, we had a bottle of local white wine. My friend had a frutti di mare, seafood pasta. The shrimp still had their shells and heads, and the little squid still had their beaks. If you're not used to seeing seafood prepared like this, it could be a little disconcerting... but I loved it. The more the fish looks how it did when it was caught, the less it's been handled, so theoretically it's fresher. It certainly looked and tasted fresh and delicious, beaks and all.
I had the pappardelle pescespada (wide, flat pasta with swordfish) in a mildly spicy, lightly creamy tomato sauce. I'm not kidding when I say this was probably the best (or at least top 3) pasta dishes I've had in Italy. It was absolutely delicious.
We were staying in Manarola, so the following night we decided, rather than search for a new restaurant in another of the 5 towns, to return to Il Porticciolo because we had enjoyed it so much.
They remembered us. This time we got slightly better service, and bread with oil and spices as a complimentary appetizer, something we didn't get the first time around. A few nights later, one of our last in the area, we decided to eat there one last time... why not?
This time, they DEFINITELY remembered us. Not only did we get bread and oil, we also got sardines, and a complimentary limoncello (or some kind of digestivo) after dinner. I guess most tourists don't come in 3 times within the space of a week, but you just don't see hospitality like that very often, and it didn't go unnoticed.
If you're in Manarola, go to Il Porticciolo. Forget that, actually. If you're in the Cinque Terre at all, go to Il Porticciolo. It's just a hole in the wall, but it delivers more than its loftier, pricier, picturesque-ier competitors ever could. Two thumbs up.
PS. By the way, did I tell you I had the same dish all 3 times? And I'm a crazy foodie, the kind of person who's morally against that! The pappardelle was that good. I'd have it again right now.
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