Six Foods to Try in Cinque Terre

One of the upsides to the natural isolation of the Cinque Terre region is that the majority of their foods are locally grown or produced. You won’t find any chain stores or fast food in this area – instead there’s a bountiful amount of small local shops and restaurants that all sell fantastic fresh foods!

If you’ve never been to Cinque Terre, put it on your list. It is truly unlike anywhere else in terms of terrain, scenery, local culture and of course the food! The towns are limited in their growth because of the surrounding mountains, so they stay small and quaint although the region is gaining popularity fast. This also limits the accomodation options, so if you’re planning a visit, make sure to book in advance and do it as soon as you can!

Here are six foods to try in Cinque Terre you can’t miss out on.

Fresh Focaccia

Ohh, the focaccia! The freshly made focaccias here may not seem like much to the eye but they are so fresh, crispy and a little bit salty! We tried multiple flavours including olive, pesto and even potato. It’s the traditional Italian way to eat them at room temperature and the bread is so fresh it doesn’t need to be warmed anyway. There are many little focaccia bakeries dotted along the main streets so you won’t have any trouble finding one! Our favourite place was one tucked away in the main street of Riomaggiore.

Potato focaccia in Manarola

Focaccia shop in Riomaggore main street

Seafood Cones

Not only do these look cool but they are filled with fresh and tasty seafood bites. If you’re not too big on seafood, the seafood cone is a relatively cheap way to try some of the local catch without committing to a full-on meal you may not like. You can choose to have a mix of seafood including anchovies, fish and calamari or stick to the basic fish and chips. Definitely to be eaten by the seaside.

Seafood cone in Riomaggiore

Pesto Pasta

If you’re like me, you love pesto, but only in moderation. Our pesto back home seems to be so potent in flavour you almost need to wipe in on your sandwich as if it were vegemite! On the other hand, in Cinque Terre the local pesto is creamy, a bit cheesy and just the right strength. It’s easy to find a restaurant that has some type of fresh pesto pasta. Don’t let the colour turn you off!

Pesto Pasta in Riomaggiore

Veciu Muin restaurant Riomaggiore


Local grown lemons are everywhere in Cinque Terre, with lemon products galore from soaps to alcohol. Bottles of limoncino are easy to find and come in different sizes and flavours. Different regions of Italy have slightly different methods of making their lemon liqueur including the type of alcohol they use. The one I bought was infused with lemon rind, which helps to bring out the flavour.

Grappa limoncino

riomaggiore shops selling limoncino

Local White Wine

You’ve seen the hills lined with vineyards above every one of the five towns, now its time to try some local white wine! Find a little wine store in the main street of town to pick out a bottle. We bought ours around dinnertime and the shop assistant knew what to do – she gave us a couple of plastic cups and even offered to undo the cork top. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the sunset with a local drink. The one below was sweet, smooth and fruity!

Cinque Terre white wine

Julian and the vineyards on our hike


When in Italy, right?! Apart from a swim, there’s no better way to cool down on a hot day then enjoying some gelato. We tried some of the more unique flavours like pear and rockmelon. Don’t worry if the colours don’t seem as bright as some ice cream you may have seen – it just shows how authentic these flavours are.

Gelato in Riomaggiore

Haven’t been to Cinque Terre before? Check out an Overview of Cinque Terre for more on each of the individual towns. If you have been, what did you love most? Have you tried any of the above foods?

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20 Comments. Leave new

  • Charles LaCroix
    May 8, 2019 2:34 am

    What about sgabeo in Vernazza? Fried bread makes my mouth water. Had it 7 years ago and going back this September. Can’t wait!

  • Hello Emily, I’m born in Riomaggiore and i come back every year to meet my family & friends. Thanks for yours photos and to bring me back to home.
    For your Nex time in “Rio” you have to try the focaccia alle cipolle (my favourite), i muscoli ripieni e la Farinata.
    A presto ?

  • Did not go to Cinque Terre, so I definitely will have to go back and stay there. Thank you for the article and the pics!!!

  • Seafood cones from Il Bocconcino (Monterosso) are a must ?

  • I’m going to Cinque Terre in September (will be my first time in Europe)! I’m sooo excited for the sea food and squeezed when yo mentioned the seafood cone hahaha were you able to bring some limoncello back home with you?

    • Emily Connett
      August 3, 2017 4:23 pm

      Haha! The food in Cinque Terre is definitely squeal-worthy! I brought a bottle of limoncello home without any problems! Just gotta make sure you pack it in your suitcase well so it doesn’t break ?

  • Nancy Carabba
    July 30, 2017 4:18 am

    Would love the recipe for the focaccia. We had it every day there, and can’t forget it!

  • Love this post ESP cuz we will be in cinque terre next week! We’ve made reservations for lunch in Vernazza but want to find that seafood cone as a “snack”. Where were you when you found it? And is it common and easy to find in other towns?

    • Emily Connett
      July 15, 2017 8:16 pm

      Hey Jo, that’s so exciting that you’ll be in Cinque Terre so soon! We stayed in Riomaggiore, which was where the fish & chip cones were from – a little seafood place on the main street. Although I am sure that there will be other places you can get them too! They were pretty popular 🙂 Hope you have an amazing time! 🙂

  • Fruit de mare and limon anchovies in Cinque Terre are the best in Italy.

  • That Cinque Terre pesto is out of this world. I don’t know if this restaurant is still in the same management at Riomaggiore, but at Enoteca dau Cila the pesto was to die for. Fresh and almost sweet. And the chef/owner was a terrific, friendly guy.

    • Its so good! I’ve been trying to recreate it at home ever since! I’ll just have to go back to try Enoteca dau Cila 🙂

  • Stunning pics!

  • Margaret West
    October 16, 2015 4:31 am

    Yep, I would like to try all those. Maybe skip the anchovies.

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