7 restaurants open all year, see below for our local favourites.
Local cafe and great pizza in Isolabona
Apricus is on the main road Via Roma, the cafe has had a smart makeover and moved up market in price and ambiance. The view from the terrace is lovely and the food is good and still reasonably priced. Linked to the popular B&B of the same name. A meeting point where people pop in for coffee or hang out using wi-fi. Café style menu with a plate of cold meat for 10 euros, varieties of pasta and salads (for under 10 euros) or steak and chips at 14 euros (all of which are very good), plus cake, coffee and other snacks in the daytime. You can sit on the comfy seats, use the free and very fast wi-fi and watch the sun go down behind the village. Early evening your glass of wine or beer comes with a stylish little plate of anti-pasta for free. Closes Monday. Open on Wednesdays, when the square and others in Apricale are closed.
Opposite Apricus is an alternative (less attractive) café terrace Munta e Cara, the hotel reception, which also offers free wi-fi on their shady terrace and is open on Mondays.
Isolabona ten minutes by car down the hill from Apricale, a great pizzeria ‘Il Vecchio Forno’. Lively, and friendly, the best in an area known for good pizza. Open late, book at weekends during the holiday season. Jugs of wine and draft beer available. Try the local specialities; Farinata, a chick pea flour pancake eaten after your pizza (our request that we might eat it as a starter was met with a firm not possible!) and cubaita, nuts in caramel stuck between two rice wafers. This tastes better than it sounds! Closes Tuesdays and Wednesdays in winter. Phone: 0184 208 187
Romantic setting, agriturismo, perfect traditional and upmarket chic.
A choice of two café/restaurants available in the square. No contest here, 'Ciassa' is our choice. Open all day; for breakfast coffee with croissants, plates of homemade pasta and slices of pies and pizza for lunch. You must book if you want to eat dinner here in the holiday season. Traditional little anti-paste dishes, a lovely range of pasta, plenty of choice for vegetarians. Pasta and savoury pies are their great strength. Various roast meats (which we find not quite so interesting) and a traditional rabbit stew with olives along with some nice desserts (again home made). Coffee and jugs or more expensive bottles of wine available. Children can play football with the local youngsters in the evening while adults enjoy a drink or dinner. Phone 0184 208588 to book your table. Closed Wednesdays
Further away, but worth the walk or drive, on the ridge between Perinaldo and Dolce aqua is a lovely agriturismo perched above the Nervia valley. La Locanda Delgi Ulvi. Crisp white tablecloths, good local red wine and views down towards the sea are the backdrop to a bargain meal full of surprises. Course after course is offered from big serving dishes brought to the table; a fixed price, you take what you fancy or eat your way through the lot. What is on offer changes from day to day according to what is in the garden. Altogether, half a dozen little starters, two pasta and two meat dishes with desserts, coffee and liquors. Starts promptly at one o’ clock each day. Must be booked on holidays and at weekends. Phone 0184 206913
“Osteria del Portico” in Castel Vittoria is the only place we know which rivals this. Four courses, four dishes each course and a cook in a big pinafore making sure you eat and enjoy! Closed Monday. Phone 0184 241 352
Nobody does it better than La Favorita. The best traditional menu by far. No surprises but consistently very, very good. Overlooking the village just off the approach road, on the winding Strada San Pietro. A fixed price menu allows you to take just a couple of courses and spend 23 euros (not much more than Apricus cafe) or up to 36 euros for 4 courses, (anti-paste, pasta, meat, dessert, coffee). Whatever you choose you get a welcoming glass of fizz, salami and bread while you look at the menu.La Favorita keep the best wines and use the very best ingredients for a valley Nervia menu with some seasonal specials. If you want to eat fresh funghi or broad beans in season, they will have them. The cars outside indicate the kind of people who come from France, Monaco and other parts of Italy, to lunch here. We recommend the anti-pasta, the ravioli with butter and sage and of course the meat roasted in front of a wood fire, which is their specialty. They do a lovely zabaglione with the apricale speciality, pansarole (tiny donuts.) Like most Italian restaurants lunch takes place at one o’ clock, they are open but less busy, in the evening. Children are welcome. Phone 01842 08186 . They also do bed and breakfast. Closed Tuesday evening and Wednesday
if you want to experience Classical Food from other regions of Italy Ristorante Apricale da Delio, offers the best of flavours and service. Situated on the shady terrace opposite café apricus. Here you will find an imaginative and delicious menu, with lots of choice and dishes which change regularly. This restaurant enjoys an international reputation and has attracted a variety of local and international food writers. A la carte, they are quite expensive by local standards, but you are paying for the very, very best quality. A set 4 course meal will however cost only 39 euros and once again you can have fewer courses at a set price. They do a fixed price lunch which is very good value and especially nice on a Sunday. Phone 0184.20.80.08
Lots, lots more to explore
Dolceacqua is a lovely setting in which to eat and there is plenty of choice. Post work/ pre dinner, bars put out a range of little snacks to encourage people hang out and gossip.
For good fish dishes you need to go down to the seafront. We like the “Casablanca” in Vallecrosia for spaghetti vongole, fritto misto, fish soup and their speciality calamarata. This busy place has been run for many years by a Sicilian family. To find it take the coast road towards San Remo and the beach turning at Vallecrosia. You will find the restaurant on the corner on your left just after the railway bridge. Great after a day on the beach. There are quite a lot of other restaurants nearby with pleasant food.
Bruno’s just beside the road tunnel in Isolabona is very handy. The place has relatively new owners who are welcoming and have a short and tasty traditional menu.
Adolpho on the way up to Pigna has a stylish, light dining room. They offer a friendly welcome and a homely, well priced menu. Their food is nothing special but the home grown and home produced Rosesse wine is truly excellent! Tel. 0184 208 111 (they also have rooms)
For a really glamorous setting try 'U Cian' also on the road to Pigna just outside Isola. They make lovely light risotto. All their vegetables come from the family garden on the hills above.
In Buggio you will find the rustic 'Ca de Na' in a shady garden. A set menu of simple country flavours, pasta a little heavy on the day we ate, but clucking hens and quacking ducks complete a special rustic experience.