If seafood is your weakness, then Vernazza will bring you to your knees.
As seafood lovers go, I would consider myself to be a part time lover. There are a number of dishes that I am sweet on, but only one or two of them have my heart. Tamara on the other hand is a seafood connoisseur. She is far more adventurous than I could ever be. While she looks forward to eating things like octopus ink pasta, I just find it hard to look at.
The goal for us this time around is to have one or more seafood dishes everyday when we visit Vernazza this summer. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent restaurants that will create that perfect meal to make us both very happy. The chefs in Vernazza take pride in the dishes they create and it shows in the presentation and quality of each plate.
Frutti di Mare (fruit of the sea) is a marvelous platter of shrimp, calamari, octopus and more.
When this dish showed up at our table the only proper response to be given was “Mamma Mia, bellissima!” The only concern we had with this plate was, “How are we going to finish it all?” Props to us, none of it went to waste!
As mentioned earlier, when it comes to our favorite seafood meals, Tamara and I do not share the same culinary sensibilities. If you were to ask her what sea inspired meal she craves, it would certainly be one of the many seafood pasta dishes there are to choose from.
Da Piva Trattoria is a small side street restaurant we passed every day on the long walk up to our room.
It was hard not to stop and stare at the wonderful bowls of seafood which were being served to their patrons. So as not to be rude, we sat down and ordered our own meals. It was a large bowl for 2 of mixed seafood and rice in a seasoned broth which caught our attention and ultimately reeled us in. This was the perfect way to end the evening.
Now when it comes to really good seafood dishes, “Fried Anchovies” tops the list for me.
Hold on, before you go turning your nose up at the idea of my favorite meal in Vernazza, know this. It is delicious. These little melt in your mouth morsels are a favorite with locals and travellers alike. This traveller can vouch for that!
When it comes to perfect seafood meals, my second dinner option hit the spot! This dish was garnished with leafy greens and a lemon wedge. Now, the way I see it, I consider this to be a health wise dinner. Not buying my sales pitch yet?
Sure sure, you could say that the beer I ordered counteracted any Omega 3 benefits of the anchovies. I will concede the point that there may be some bad fat issues when eating fried fish as well. Nevertheless, this meal made me very, very happy and we all know happy people live longer… Boom!
What goes good with lightly battered tiny fish you ask? Well… Moretti beer of course!
Up next, a fish dish enjoyed by Tamara. This beauty was served under a blanket of potatoes, tomatoes and olives.
Judging by the smile on her face, this meal was the catch of the day. (Hmmm… I think that line was even too cheesy for me!) It’s important to note that getting a serving of potatoes is unusual and a great way to switch things up.
Pasta is a delicious food to be enjoy often but, truth be told, some days potatoes are the only path to satisfaction.
Change your mind about the anchovies yet? Don’t be too quick to throw them back to the sea!
If you’re still thinking “Hell No” about trying them for yourself, may I suggest a great way to introduce your taste buds to this Vernazzan delight? Fried seafood in a cone, it’s fantastic! The portion size you get isn’t huge but it’s the perfect size for sharing.
Batti Batti Friggitoria is a tiny main street shop that sells these paper cones full of anchovies and fries. If you would rather have calamari with your fries, they have that as well. Don’t wait too long to get your cone full when you visit Vernazza. The lineups grow quickly and the supply of fresh fried seafood is not endless.
A meal shared between strangers is a meal enjoyed by newly made friends.
Our meal at the Belforte ristorante was shared with a patient gull we named Clevus. Why Clevus? Because the name made my 8 year old niece laugh! A laughing child is a happy child, and a happy child while travelling is molto molto bene!
It would be wrong not to give a salute to the fisherman of Vernazza.
If not for their hard work bringing in their fresh catch everyday, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the fantastic seafood dishes created by the talented chefs of this Cinque Terre town. Along the breakwater wall we were able to watch the interactions between the fishermen as they readied their boats. They look like a tight knit group by the way they chatted with one another. We had no idea what the conversations were about, but their body language suggested things were good that day.
All that’s left to say now is Mille Grazie Vernazza. We look forward to experiencing you again.
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