Portofino, Italy. What to see and where to eat?

Portofino

Portofino is a small town, which is located in the province of Genoa. This is one of the most beautiful ports of the Mediterranean. It is part of the Italian Riviera. This city is quite small, its population is only 439 people (as of 2014). The patron saint of this city is Saint George.

Resort “corner of glamour” Portofino – a real piece of paradise, situated on one of the most expensive parts of the Italian coast near Genoa. For the masses of the Russian population this town was made famous by the song of Janna Friske. Those who earn more than decent, have already appreciated the charms of the resort of their own experience.

View of Portofino from the port

View of Portofino from the port, photo: Italy in Russian

The paradisiacal beauty of these places was noted by the Romans, giving them the poetic name of “the Cove of Dolphins. Up to the nineteenth century Portofino was a nice classic Italian fishing village. Fortunately the coastal landscape was favorable to it – even in the strongest winds it was safe to moor here. Completely different times began here in the late 19th century – at first the cape was adapted for their needs by European aristocracy, and at the beginning of the 20th century – by the stars of the flourishing American “Dream Factory”. Of course, the artisanal charm of the fishing artel was destroyed, but the era of the Portofino, of which almost everyone now knows, came.

Villa near Portofino

Villa near Portofino, photo: Italy in Russian

Ernest Hemingway, Sigmund Freud, Guy de Maupassant – who in the whole glorious history of the resort could not be seen here? And today’s stars are not behind – Madonna celebrates her birthday here every year, and all the iconic Hollywood movie actors have their own villas here. That’s why a favorite joke among the local population is the expression “every window in our city is worth a million dollars. And that’s at best.

The history of Portofino goes back to the 8th century AD. According to writings, this city was founded by the Romans and was originally called the “Port of Dolphins” because of the large number of dolphins swimming nearby. Portofino was first mentioned in 986 in a letter by Adelgeida of Burgundy. Now it is a typical resort town, the main income of which comes from tourists.

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A yacht in Portofino port.

Yacht in Portofino port, photo: Italy in Russian

Portofino is a favorite city not only for tourists, but for all Italians. It is in this city where many famous Italian movie moments were filmed. And it is here where famous politicians, cultural figures and show businessmen, and many others come together every year. This is justified by the fact that Portofino, despite its small area, is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, it is here are the most beautiful growing plants. Also the city is a holder of a blue flag for its clean sea water in which there are still swimming packs of dolphins and other various fish.

Local man fishing near Portofino with his grandson.

Local resident fishing near Portofino with his grandson Photo: Italy in Russian

But do not think that Portofino is only a haven for moneybags and super-popular personalities in show business from all over the world. It is, among other things, a very interesting town in terms of its attractions, which are exceptionally old and keep the spirit of the past. A striking example in this sense is the miniature central square of Portofino called the Piazzetta. In the center of the resort town all traffic is completely prohibited, and the fact that all the sights are viewed from the Piazzetta is simply magnificent – complements the idyllic picture. The olive groves and the gentle sea are enough for the human eye to enjoy.

View of Portofino from the port

View of Portofino from the port, photo: Italy in Russian

Portofino is located in the National Park, which is considered one of the most protected zones of the northern coast of the western Mediterranean Sea area. It has been protected since 1935 and hosts a rich variety of shrubs and flowers and a large variety of invertebrates, birds and other animals, as well as important monuments of ancient architecture. If you are close to nature, the parks and alleys are a must.

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The promontory under which Portofino is located, which is more than 600 meters high, is a very attractive area. Regardless of where you are coming from, you will not be left indifferent to this wonderful view of the cliffs, under which there are snow-white beaches.

Lighthouse at Punta Portofino

Lighthouse at Punta Portofino, photo: Italy in Russian

Portofino is also famous for its excellent climate, because it is very mild, sunny and warm, especially in spring and winter. The low precipitation all year round makes it pleasant to spend time here at any time. So you can say it’s a true paradise.

Where to eat in Portofino: 10 romantic coastal restaurants

Portofino Piazza

Here is a guide to the best restaurants in Portofino. We have selected establishments for all tastes and wallets. The location is important: they are all on the seafront, near the main bay or a stone’s throw from it.

But pastry shops, coffee shops and bakeries for breakfast should be sought in the center of Portofino.

Many tourists complain about extra service charges in Portofino restaurants. But here it is not a way to add something to the bill without your knowledge, but a trivial tradition. About 4-7 € per guest will cost for boarding/serving, and sometimes a 15% tip is added to the bill.

That said, the prices in the restaurants are pretty straightforward: in economy restaurants, pasta will cost €15-25, in the most expensive ones, €25-40. A difference of two times is quite typical for seaside resorts and restaurants of different levels.

Da i Gemelli al Molo

Marina in Portofino

Among the restaurants in Portofino this one is worth special mention. The restaurant is located at the end of the bay, in the same place as the marina. Most of the tables have a view of the emerald water. The guests are pleased with the extensive menu and large wine list.

The restaurant offers delicious lobster, octopus, mussels, shrimp, Milanese chop, local Sauvignon… We especially recommend spaghetti with clams and tiramisu.

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The owners are twin brothers. The restaurant used to be their mother’s property, before that their grandmother’s, but in general it has been in the family since 1850. The brothers still create the cozy atmosphere of a family establishment with friendly service.

It is the most popular restaurant in Portofino, so book a table in advance.

  • Address: Molo Umberto I, 5.
  • Open 11:00 am to 23:00 pm.
  • Average bill: 100 € per person with alcohol.

Ristorante Cracco Portofino

Pasta with Shrimp

A luxurious restaurant near the boat cab stop, south of the main bay. From the panoramic glass terrace you can see the whole of Portofino. It is atmospheric both by day surrounded by pine trees and in the evening when the town is illuminated with lights (you can see them best from here).

The owner, Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco, decided to open a restaurant with a new concept for vegetarians. There’s nothing meat, but traditional seafood dishes, spaghetti and desserts.

We suggest trying the 6-course tasting menu. And the owner’s favorites include lobster with lavender oil, fish cutlets, shrimp Santa Margherita Ligure, risotto with red mullet and watercress salad.

On your way out, check out the souvenir booth: desserts, teas, and sweets are packed in them. By the way, the restaurant’s food is delivered by electric cars, and only organic and local products tested personally by the owner are used.

  • Address: Molo Umberto I, 9.
  • Open 12:30-00:00.
  • Average bill: 100 € per person with alcohol.

Ristorante Puny

Restaurant Pani, Portofino

An atmospheric restaurant in a very beautiful building right on the main square is Puny and adored not only by tourists but also by locals. At this restaurant it is very important to book a table in advance.

The menu (main courses, appetizers and desserts) and the wine list are quite typical. At the same time, there is a homely atmosphere, as it is a family restaurant.

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TripAdvisor tourists recommend the shrimp with lemon, pasta with octopus, marinated anchovies, pasta with pesto, and risotto with curry. Desserts include the standard jellato, tiramisu and parfait.

  • Address: Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta, 5.
  • Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Thursdays off.
  • Average bill: 60 € per person with alcohol.

Trattoria Tripoli

Trattoria Portofino

A small corner restaurant worthy of your attention. Here we suggest to try octopus salad, shrimp and squid kebab, seafood pasta, calamari and grilled fish.

The wine list includes inexpensive but very good Genoese wine, and for dessert, a delicious apple pie based on the owner’s grandmother’s recipe. The check at this restaurant is lower than other places, but the service and cuisine are top notch.

According to reviews on TripAdvisor we can judge that many tourists return here again and again during their vacation.

  • Address: Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta, 49.
  • Opening hours: 12:00-14:30, 19:30-22:30 (Wed weekend).
  • Average bill: 50 € per person with alcohol.

Ö Magazín

Grilled mussels

The menu is very small, so are the portions, and the prices are above average. And all because of the convenient location at the water’s edge in the port, with a terrific atmosphere late at night. For the same reason, you need to reserve a table in advance.

At Ö Magazín we suggest trying the mussels, spaghetti carbonara, seafood salad, tuna salad and sea bass.

  • Address: Calata Marconi, 34.
  • Open 12:00-15:00, 19:00-22:30, Wednesday off.
  • Average bill: 70 € per person with alcohol.

Ristorante Taverna Del Marinaio.

Seafood in Portofino

Medium priced restaurant with a standard menu of Italian and Mediterranean dishes. You can sit outside or at the wooden bar inside. Speaking of the bar: not far from Portofino, the restaurant owner has his own vineyards.

Spaghetti vongole, anchovies, grilled shrimp kebabs and oven-baked fish are all worth trying here. There is homemade lemonade and good coffee. Among the desserts, visitors stand out crème brûlée.

  • Address: Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta, 36.
  • Open 12:00-14:30, 19:00-22:15 (Sunday off).
  • Average bill: 50 € per person with alcohol.
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Ristorante Lo Stella

Restaurant Romance Italy

Compared to some other places, the range of dishes here is quite wide, the staff is unobtrusive, and the atmosphere is conducive to a long siesta.

According to TripAdvisor reviews, the seafood and pasta at Ristorante Lo Stella are worth ordering. Users recommend the mussels marinara, seafood pasta, minestrone and caprese, grilled Norwegian langoustines, and for desserts, brownies and tiramisu.

  • Address: Molo Umberto I, 3.
  • Open 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Wed to Fri).
  • Average bill: 40 € per person with alcohol.

Strainer

Carbonara

This restaurant has an interesting location-not on the main square by the bay but to the south, a 10-minute walk away. It’s quieter here than in the main square and the tables are right by the pier.

Here we suggest ordering fish of the day, pasta in special sauce, risotto, pizza with anchovies or pasta with truffles.

  • Address: Molo Umberto I, 19.
  • Open 12 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Average bill: 50 € per person with alcohol.

Delfino

Minestrone

“Delfino” is an excellent restaurant with inexpensive Mediterranean and Italian dishes. The panoramic corner view of the bay is a highlight of this place.

Here you should choose the minestrone soup, octopus salad, spaghetti with seafood, ravioli or risotto. The portions are large and the prices are medium.

  • Address: Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta, 40.
  • Open 12:00 to 23:30.
  • Average bill: 50 € per person with alcohol.

Portofino Bistrot

Portofino Bistro

Couchs by the water are pleasant to sit on at any time of the day. They bring a variety of snacks to go with any alcoholic beverage. Try here shrimps with garlic, pasta with curry sauce, bruschetta as an appetizer.

By the way, this is practically the only place in Portofino where you can eat not alone after midnight. True, you can’t call it a high-class restaurant, more like a bistro with a kitchen. But the view of the sea and the main streets is amazing.

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