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Liguria is the place to realize your fantasy of eating your way across Italy. It's on a smaller scale--which promises to go lightly on your waistline--and presents great variety of cuisine. (For more on regional dishes, see page 21, Cuisine of the Italian Riviera.) You'll find that dishes vary between the inland hamlets and the villages along the coast, but that in general the Ligurian diet is very healthful and based on fresh fish and vegetables with very little meat.
As everywhere, there are fantastic restaurants in every city of Liguria, and plenty of mediocre ones. The restaurants listed below are standouts where you will get a true taste of the cooking. They are coded for price as follows:
[euro] = excellent value
[euro][euro] = moderately expensive
[euro][euro][euro] = splurge
Passeggiata Baracca, 25, 17021 Alassio
[telephone] 0182.642.557, fax 0182.640.277
Whitewashed walls and exposed-stone ceilings lend character at this waterfront restaurant specializing in seafood. Service on the terrace in summer.
Via Cavour, 11, 17021 Alassio
[telephone] 0182.640.314, fax 0182.640.314
Make reservations for a special night out at this celebrated, central restaurant specializing in Ligurian and Provencal cuisine.
Viale Italia, 35, 17031 Albenga
[telephone] 0182.534.58, fax 0182.534.58
Don't be distracted by the location within the Minisport recreation park. This restaurant serving seafood specialties is a favorite in the town.
Antica Osteria dei Leoni
Via Lengueglia, 49, 17031 Albenga
Closed second and third weeks January, mid-end October, Mondays
A restaurant serving fish and seafood in an atmospheric corner of Albenga's lovely Centro Storico.
Via Torlaro, 17031 Albenga, fax 0182.518.53
Very popular little restaurant serving traditional, informal dishes like farinata and tortas, with a wood-burning oven for pizza.
Via Repetto, 86, 17012 Albissola Marina
[telephone] 019.481.663, fax 019.486.866, email@example.com,
Chef Ignazio Benenati serves seafood dishes in the dining room of this 17th-century building in the historical heart of the seaside resort. Rooms available.
Ristorante Da Mario
Corso Bigliati, 70, 17012 Albissola Marina
A beautiful, sunny terrace is available for outdoor dining overlooking the sea. For three generations serving Ligurian seafood specialties.
Locanda delle Tamerici
Via Litoranea, 106, loc. Fiumaretta di Ameglia 19031
[telephone] 0187.642.62, fax 0187.646.27, firstname.lastname@example.org
Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, December 24-January 15
The rustic dining room is a contrast to the elegant, modern meals prepared by this Michelin-starred kitchen. Seasonal, local ingredients inform the changing menu.
Le Grotte della Locanda
Via Roma, 1, 18030 Apricale
A stone-vaulted grotto is the setting for a wine bar with an extensive list and menu of simple dishes.
La Capanna da Baci
[telephone] 0184.208.139, fax 0184.209.977
Closed Tuesdays, Monday dinner
Atmospheric setting with stone walls and a terrace with panoramic valley view. House-made pastas and roasted meat dishes.
Strada San Pietro, 1, 18035 Apricale
[telephone] 0184.208.186, fax 0184.208.247
Closed last week June-first week July, Tuesday dinner, Wednesdays
except July-September, email@example.com,
A standout for Ligurian dishes with a mountain inflection. Rustic dining room and terrace with magnificent view.
Via XXV Aprile, 37, 17028 Bergeggi
[telephone] 019.859.750, fax 019.859.750, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Closed January, February, Mondays, weekday lunch
Chef/owner Claudio Pasquarelli presides in this celebrated kitchen, turning out impeccable seafood dishes. Lovely view from the terrace. Inquire about meals served aboard the hotel/restaurant's 22-m/66-foot sailing cutter.
Magiarge Vini e Cucina
Piazza Giacomo Viale, 18012 Bordighera
[telephone] 0184.262.946, fax 0184.262.946, email@example.com,
Dinner only July-August, closed Monday, Tuesday lunch
Tucked-away rustic restaurant is a locals' choice for simple but perfectly prepared meals.
Via Roseto, 8, 18012 Bordighera
[telephone] 0184.261.651, fax 0184.261.651
Closed November, Tuesdays
Winter visitors get to sample the cuisine of neighboring Piedmont while fish and Ligurian specialties are on the menu during summer.
La Via Romana
Via Romana, 57, 18012 Bordighera
[telephone] 0184.266.681, fax 0184.267.549
This elegant, Liberty-style (Art Deco) dining room in the Grand Hotel Londre has earned a Michelin star for its fine-quality seafood and meats.
Via Alla …