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A avenue meals tour of Genoa | Genoa holidays



Genoa-born chef Ivano Ricchebono seems like a Hollywood actor enjoying a chef in a film. His restaurant The Prepare dinner is in a 14th-century palazzo within the outdated city, and as I step into the eating room I cease and stare – all the place is roofed with frescoes. It’s wildly romantic. “Individuals get engaged right here on a regular basis,” Ivano says with a smile. Awarded his first Michelin star in 2010, he has cooked for Stanley Tucci, and has a global status for excellence. However at the moment he’s my tour information – to not the blossoming tremendous eating scene however to the reasonably priced (and equally scrumptious) fare loved by locals every single day.

As soon as a compulsory cease on the Nineteenth-century Grand Tour, and referred to as “La Superba”, Genoa centre is filled with spectacular structure that tells of this under-rated port metropolis’s previous as a wealthy and highly effective republic. Squeezed between the ocean and the Ligurian Alps, it’s simply an hour and a half by quick practice from Milan, and about the identical right down to the Cinque Terre. Amongst Italians town is famend for its culinary riches – nearly everybody agrees that the pesto and focaccia listed here are one of the best within the nation (there’s even a foccacia pageant in Might). Our plan is to stroll by way of a number of neighbourhoods and style as lots of Genoa’s gastronomic delights as attainable.

Chef Ivano Ricchebono, proper, and the proprietor of the Rela stall in Mercato Orientale Genova. {Photograph}: Laura Coffey

Ivano doesn’t communicate a lot English and my Italian is horrible so I carry alongside Maria, a buddy’s daughter, to translate. Our first cease, within the medieval coronary heart of city, is at a tiny hole-in-the-wall cafe, Cremeria Buonafede. That is one of the best place for pànera, a candy, gentle, coffee-flavoured semifreddo invented within the metropolis within the Nineteenth century. Ivano orders a caffè con pànera, an espresso topped with a ridiculous quantity of the stuff, dusted with a alternative of cinnamon or cocoa powder. I simply have a scoop of pànera. It feels fairly decadent for 10am, however then the good older Italian couple on the bar subsequent to us are breakfasting on maritozzi, brioche buns full of an unreasonable quantity of cream.

We stroll off (a few of) the energy as we proceed by way of the tangle of streets and nearly impossibly tiny alleys known as vicoli. Streets have poetic names akin to Piazza dell’Amor Perfetto (excellent love). By way of Giuseppe Garibaldi is lined with palazzos constructed by the Genoese aristocracy throughout the Renaissance. “The noble households have been all combating with one another to take advantage of stunning palaces,” says Ivano (they’re open to the general public on sure days, referred to as “Rolli days”; the subsequent are 17-19 Might; the newly reopened Palazzo Rosso is now a museum, open Tues-Solar, €9).

Genoa is a metropolis of characterful vibrant alleys. {Photograph}: Luca Rei/Alamy

We head west in the direction of the port. Genoa consistently reminds you it’s a spot the place actual individuals stay, not a picture-postcard museum of the previous. At Piazza San Giorgio, on the boundary between the outdated city and the seafront, we cease at Friggitoria San Giorgio, which sells shiny yellow cones of fried fish to remove. The fish comes contemporary off the boats at 7am every single day, and it’s no peculiar choice: there are anchovies fried in chickpea flour; calamari and octopus; to be eaten on a bench overlooking the ocean. They haven’t began frying after we arrive, so I take Ivano’s phrase for the standard of the meals, and we maintain strolling.

Frescoes at The Prepare dinner, Ivano Ricchebono’s restaurant.

Additional alongside the road, below the arches, is the retro shopfront of Gran Ristoro, an awesome place to select up a panino. An infinite choice of hyperlocal substances sit within the window alongside meals from different Italian areas. Ivano factors out his go-to: cima alla genovese, slow-cooked breast of veal full of greens and eggs and reduce into slices; aged pecorino cheese; and salsa verde, made with parsley, garlic and olives. As we stroll on, we cross Pescheria da Simone, the stall the place Ivano sources all of the fish for his eating places. “It’s one of the best,” he says.

However maybe greater than something, Genoa is thought in Italy for pesto. There’s one thing particular in regards to the basil vegetation that develop within the hills of Liguria: they’ve smaller leaves and a extra delicate flavour. I ask Ivano the place we must always go to attempt some. “I make one of the best pesto!” he asserts with nice ardour, however he additionally recommends Osteria da Pippo, within the village of Fontanegli, half an hour away within the hills to the north. Tubs of readymade contemporary pesto could be purchased from delis, and from the lined market, see under. Historically, it’s served with small twisted pasta known as trofie.

We proceed on to the centre of Genoa, previous the strikingly monochrome San Lorenzo Cathedral, and as much as central Piazza de Ferrari, then alongside the primary buying avenue, By way of XX Settembre, in the direction of the historic meals market, Mercato Orientale Genova (referred to as MOG). As we stroll I maintain stopping to admire town’s grandeur. Proof of its rich banking heritage is in every single place – the buildings are ornate, the fountains spectacular, the streets colonnaded, and below my ft there are orange mosaics, depicting waves, flowers and unusual sea creatures in intricate repeating patterns.

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Genoa affords a number of the greatest pesto in Italy because of the standard of the basil grown in Liguria. {Photograph}: Lizzy Komen/Getty Photographs

We flip left into the MOG and all of the sudden there’s color – and folks – in every single place. “Right here you could find something you need: meat, fish, greens, each single spice you may consider,” Ivano says, guiding me in the direction of Rela, one of many oldest vegetable stalls. We admire sculptural artichokes; darkish inexperienced zucchini, every with a fragile orange flower; and spices that might rival a Moroccan souk. A bizarre black vegetable that appears a bit like a manky carrot catches my consideration: it’s scorzonera, or salsify. Ivano tells me it’s one of many substances in cappon magro, a standard Christmas Eve salad of seafood and greens.


At tables within the light-filled central atrium, individuals are tucking into avenue meals. Ivano steers me to Laboratorio Gastronomico, which does sandwiches, pizza and quite a lot of fried issues. My favourites are latte dolce (thick egg custard reduce into squares and deep-fried) and stuffed zucchini flowers, however the fried ravioli really feel like an indulgence too far. Different specialities are torta pasqualina, a flaky pastry pie stuffed with egg, spinach and ricotta, and farinata, the chickpea pancake well-known in Genoa and made in large, flat pans.

Panificio Mario sells bread in 4 varieties with flavours together with onion, cheese and sage. {Photograph}: Laura Coffey

Subsequent, Ivano suggests sampling some native wines from La Vineria, a wine store throughout the atrium. I’m taken with a contemporary, gentle glowing Ligurian vermentino, far nicer than prosecco.

No meals tour of Genoa can be full with out attempting some focaccia. Historically, after they’re not scoffing pànera, Genovesi eat focaccia for breakfast, dipping it into their morning cappuccino. At Panificio Mario, close to Brignole station, the bread is available in 4 varieties: normale (salt), onion, cheese and sage. It’s hauled out in large skinny slabs, scorching from the oven. Ivano chooses onion and I’ve the easy salt one, which tastes surprisingly delicate, although, unsurprisingly given the day we’ve had, I can’t end my huge piece.


Enchanted Islands: Travels by way of Fable & Magic, Love & Loss by Laura Coffey will likely be printed on 2 Might by Summersdale. To order a replica for £14.95 go to

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