Four months ago today I was just starting my adventure in Italy. I have to say with that the cold weather this week has me dreaming of the warm sunny weather in Cinque Terre which in turn has me thinking of all the delicious food I had while there! While we didn’t have a bad meal there, my favorite meal was easily the lunch I had at Ristorante Belforte. Ristorante Belforte is located in Vernazza, Italy (one of the 5 towns that make up Cinque Terre) on a cliff overlooking the sea. As you can imagine the view alone is a reason enough to head there, but in my opinion the food is even better than the view!
Our first attempt at going to Belforte was for dinner. Not so surprisingly, since this is the most recommended restaurant in Cinque Terre, we weren’t able to get a table when we showed up at 7:30pm. We were, however, able to make a reservation for the next day at lunch. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and in this case I was proved correct. While I’m sure the sunset would have been gorgeous, after the sun went down our view would have disappeared. I definitely recommend going for lunch or getting an early seating for dinner so you can enjoy the view for most of the meal. Also be sure to stop by early in your visit to make a reservation or call ahead to book one.
Now that we’ve covered the view, it’s time to talk food. Cinque Terre is known for it’s great seafood so it’s definitely a must try while dining at Belforte. We started off our meal with an appetizer of 5 hot and cold fish dishes. The mix of dishes varies from day to day, but in our case we got 5 amazing dishes: salted cod mousse, lemon cured anchovies on tomatoes (shown above), grilled octopus, tuna with red onions on tomatoes, and salt cured anchovies with caperberries. My favorites were definitely the cod mousse and lemon anchovies, but I would order any one of the five again in a heart beat! The only catch to ordering this appetizer is that you need at least 2 people at your table to order it. It comes out family style and so if you have a group of 4 you might want to consider having two people order this and the other two try out another appetizer.
When I read reviews for Belforte, there was one dish mentioned more than any other, the squid ink pasta with shrimp. I knew that anything that highly reviewed had to be pretty amazing so I knew I had to try it. It was hands down the best pasta dish I’ve ever had. The pasta and shrimp were both cooked perfectly and the sauce was delicious. Since my aunt and I both ordered the same thing, we paired our meal with a half bottle of the house white which was a local wine and paired great with all our seafood.
Unfortunately, we were running a bit short on time by the time we finished our pasta and so we didn’t have time to try dessert. On my next trip, however, I am either going to have to visit Belforte more than once or go for a big meal because I’m dying to try some of the other items on their menu! The only watch out with eating at Belforte for my fellow American travelers is plan on spending about two hours enjoying your meal. We left about an hour and fifteen minutes to enjoy our lunch before catching our train and cut it pretty close!
Ratings: Atmosphere: A+ ♦ Service: A ♦ Food: A +♦ Drinks: A