We stumbled upon this hidden gem by accident.
You see, we’d gone to the Cinque Terre for our anniversary, which is in February, and I’d done my darndest to find us some good restaurants, but everything the internet kept turning up was closed or not answering their emails. With a wildly busy schedule, eventually I gave up, readying myself for a reality of potentially sub-par food in these villages by the sea.
Luckily, when we arrived in Riomaggiore and made our way up the main street, we passed this adorable little restaurant and something about it called to us. And oh were we glad that it did! Because it turns out, we’d just found the best food in Riomaggiore.
La Cantina del Macellaio
Owned by an Italian and a former New Yorker, this little place is a charmer. Walls are warm and feature old stone alongside new tile. Tables are rustic wood and chairs are painted heather gray and the lighting points upward, showering the room in a pleasantly diffused warmth.
In short, the place is charming.
And the food and wine are even better.
First courses included a soft, quality beef tartare and a pumpkin cream with rich, well-spiced sausages that burst in our mouths like juicy berries. The pasta course menu was equally delightful, with rustic classics like pasta e fagioli (pasta and bean soup – a particular favorite of mine) and hand-made tortellini en brodo. Hearty main courses included perfectly prepared ribs and boar stew. And the dessert menu wrapped the meal up in typical Italian fashion with dishes like tiramisu.
Every single dish was the best version of itself, and by the end of our meal, we were already asking to reserve a table for the following night. Honestly, I would have booked more meals if they hadn’t (sadly) been closed most of the week because it’s off-season.
I paired my four-course indulgence with local Cinque Terre wines – white the first night, red the second, both absolutely perfect pairings with the exceptional food.
Address: Via Colombo 103
Phone: +39 0187 920788
Hours: 12:00 – 15:00, 19:00 – 23:00 every day except Wednesday in the summer; Friday and Saturday for dinner only in winter/off season.
Dog friendly? Yes.
What to do in the Cinque Terre
Unfortunately, the famous cliffside path has had portions closed since 2012. There are some portions of the hike that are still accessible, but the through-route is no longer possible (unless you are going to climb over locked, barred doors, which I don’t recommend). This means your best bet for seeing the towns is traveling between them by train or planning for the more intense hiking trails that lead up into the hills and between the towns.