Alassio

Alassio is full of bars and restaurants and is a very buzzy place to be on a sunny day! The most abundant area is Passeggiata Grollero (the walkway at the top of the beach either side of the pier) which is virtually wall-to-wall with places to eat, drink and hang out. In general, the more up-market establishments on this strip are on the north-east side of the pier.

The 'budello' (via XX Settembre and via Vittorio Veneto) also has a concentration of restaurants down at the south-west end of town, continuing along via Brennero.

For further exploration, there are restaurants in the hills above - some of which have stupendous views over the bay.

After your meal, take a drink or an ice cream in A Cuvea (Piazza Matteotti, behind the pier) - a prime spot for relaxing and people-watching. For a more sedate and historic setting go inside Caffè pasticceria Balzola (Piazza Matteotti). For a very modern and sleek bar, try the all-white Caffe Roma, which is on a corner opposite the Muretto in Corso Dante. If you want to relax with a view of the sea and the bay, try sitting out the back at La Riviera Bar/Pasticceria in via Brennero near the south end of the budello.

In the town

I Matteti (Viale Hanbury 132) Tel 0182-646680
(4) You'll find this on the left as you go into Alassio from Albenga on the coast road, just before the shops start to appear. There is a line of small trees outside it. The daily specials on the blackboard outside are often in dialect, and the dishes are in local style and not too expensive (for Alassio!). It is nearly always busy. No English is spoken, but there is menu (in Italian). One of the waiters appears to be a bit offhand, but he is like this with everyone and people sometimes have a joke with him about it. This is a great little place, but if you don't speak any Italian you need to be brave to go in here! <tooc, May 2006>

La Prua (Passegiata Baracca) Tel 0182-642557
(8) Right by the beach at the near end of town close to the Saracen tower, this is an elegant much-acclaimed restaurant. The antipasti and primi are mainly fish, but for secondo you have a choice between a number of fish and meat dishes. The deserts are fine. There are tables inside, outside, and in a glass conservatory jutting out across the beach and with a lovely view across the bay. <tooc, June 2005>

Acquapazza (Corso Baracca) Tel 0182-660756
(8) This restaurant is associated with one of the bagni, and in the evening you can sit outside at the top of the beach. For the summer of 2011 the chef is Giorgio Cantarella who is well-remembered at Colletta for the fantastic food he prepares. Absolutely recommended! <tooc, July 2011>

Baiadelsole (Corso Marconi 30) Tel 0182-641814
(8) This restaurant is not far from the muretto and Piazza Partigiani, but you could easily pass it by without a second thought. There are some nondescript looking tables outside on the pavement, but the air-conditioned interior is slick, modern and comfortable. The food is excellent, and although it is almost exclusively fish and has a regional bias, the style is similar to what you would expect in a sophisticated big-city restaurant. The same goes for the price! The restaurant is owned and run by the husband and wife team of Angelo and Mirella, formerly of the Laigueglia restaurant of the same name. <tooc, Aug 2005>

Il Mandarino (Via Mazzini 117) Tel 0182-641190
(5) This is on the main road through Alassio (the aurelia), on a corner beneath the Hotel Suisse in Piazza della Libertà. It is a mid-range Chinese restaurant worth an occasional visit when you feel like a change! <tooc, January 2008>

Palma (Via Cavour 5) Tel 0182-640314
(10) This is in the short road running between the muretto and the budello, with the sleek white Caffé Roma on the corner. The restaurant is small, and has been family run since the early 1900's. You will be greeted at the door and taken to a lounge area to peruse the menu, which is offered in all the major languages. Actually, the choice is fairly simple - either the standard menu or the gourmet one. They both consist of a succession of small dishes designed to capture your interest rather than bloat your stomach! And they are indeed extremely creative and beautifully executed, well justifying the Michelin * that has been awarded. Massimo, the enthusiastic chef, will serve you at the table and explain the dishes, probably taking more time to do so than you will take to eat them! The atmosphere is quite formal, and you will want to dress up for the occasion. However, Massimo can easily be tricked into lowering his guard if you ask him what football team he supports! It is expensive, as you would expect (especially the wines) but a meal here is a truly memorable event - save up and give it a try! <tooc, June 2007>

El Galeon (Piazzetta A.Beniscelli, Passeggiata Grollero) Tel 0182-642732
(6) This restaurant/pizzeria has a conservatory at the top of the beach, ideal for admiring the view of the bay on a cold or windy day. There is also a conservatory bordering the piazzetta, and a room inside. In summer tables are laid out in the piazzetta and there is regular live music. There is a good value set menu, but you can also choose from a range of meat and fish dishes. <tooc, April 2005>

Il Branzino Laureato (Passeggiata Grollero 11) Tel 0182-470647
(6) This restaurant has a small room inside, with more tables in a small open area to the side and another across the passageway at the top of the beach. The food is very good and the service very friendly. <tooc, Nov 2007>

Il Gabbiano (Passeggiata Grollero 13) Tel 0182-644763
(9) This is an elegant restaurant with tables alongside the passageway, further back in an open gazebo and also inside. The food is of high quality and there is always a choice of freshly caught fish. The service is very good and the manageress (Barbara) speaks good English. <tooc, August 2011>

Clapsy (Passeggiata Grollero 18) Tel 0182-660573
(8) This is on the seafront, just on the near side of the pier. In suitable weather (even in winter at lunchtime) it is a great place to sit outside at the top of the beach, but there are also tables under a canvas cover and in the room inside. One of the attractions here is the very fine focaccia di Recco (especially the gorgonzola & rucola one) and the excellent crepes. However, all the food is very good, including the pizzas. There is now a branch in Nice (Attimi, 10 Place Massena Tel +33 (0)4 936 200 22). <tooc, July 2011>

Krua Siam (Via Volta 22) Tel 0182-662893
(8) This is in a narrow street leading off the budello from Piazza Matteotti. It is stunningly decorated in Thai style and the food is excellent. The level of hot spice is kept quite low to satisfy the standard customer, so if you like things hotter you need to say so. It is quite small and very popular. Finish off with a small jug of warm fragrant sake. <tooc, Sept 2007>

Ü Sciârattü (Via Milite Ignoto 3) Tel 0182-636015
(8) This restaurant is quite small and is easy to miss. It is hidden away in a side street running between the aurelia through road and Via Dante, just inland from Piazza Matteotti. The fish is fresh each day from local waters around Capo Mele, and you can go into the kitchen to make your choice and plan your meal with the chef. You eat very well here, and even the desserts are very special. Highly recommended if you are not too worried about the bill! <tooc, February 2008>

Pizzeria Barcalà (via Torino 54) Tel 0182-648065)
(6) This is very attractive and modern looking, and is situated just off the budello in a wide distinguished shopping street leading down to the beach. The food, however, is very poor and the service not much better. <tooc, December 2006>

Osteria D'Angi (Via Vittorio Veneto 106) Tel 0182-648487
(5) This is towards the west end of the budello. There is a relatively restricted menu, but there are both meat and fish dishes available and the food is good. <tooc, January 2008>

Osteria Mezzaluna (Vico Berna) Tel 0182-640387
(4) On a corner right by the beach towards the far end of town, this is a bustling and atmospheric venue popular with the younger set. You are offered a snack-based menu of salads, crostoni, bruschette and pasta dishes. In the evening you eat under candlelight to the accompaniment of live music. It stays open late. <tooc, July 2005>

Amedeo (Via Bellini 5) Tel 0182-662857
(5) This is in an alleyway off the budello, with tables outside and a modern, bright room inside. They do a range of traditional and modern-style dishes, with foccacia di Recco as another option. <tooc, June 2008>

Panama (Via Brennero 27) Tel 0182-645916
(4) This is right at the far end of the 'budello'. It is actually a hotel restaurant, but you get to it via a separate entrance. The food is standard fare, but of high quality (and price!). <tooc May 2004>

Sail Inn (Via Brennero 30) Tel 0182-640232
(7) This is right at the far end of the 'budello'. There are dining rooms on either side of the passage. The one on the sea side is in an air conditioned glass conservatory. There are meat dishes, but fish is the main attraction and the quality is good. Usually busy. <tooc, Aug 2006>

In the hills

Ristorante Castello (regione Madonna delle Grazie) Tel 0182-642873
(7) From the Aurelia road running through Alassio, turn at the traffic lights in front of the train station and go under the bridge following the road to the right and after 100 metres to the left and up the hill in the direction of Moglio. After just over a kilometre take a small turning that cuts back and up on the right and you will arrive in a tiny but picturesque borgo known as Castello – that, incidentally, doesn't have a castle! The restaurant is in a beautifully kept large house that also has rooms. There is a large dining room with windows through which you can see the surrounding hills, and there is a lovely verandah alongside where you can sit in good weather and admire the view and the attractive garden. The food is based on the Ligurian traditions and is prepared and served with pride. The emphasis is on meat and vegetables, but there are generally some fish dishes available. They are all very good! <tooc, April 2008>

La Vigna (1 Via Lepanto, frazione Solva) Tel 0182-644744
(8) Coming into Alassio along the Aurelia coastal road from Albenga, turn off under the second of two adjacent small arched bridges and follow the narrow road way, way up into the hills until you can go no further. You will be in the borgo of Solva. The restaurant is in a long wooden hut with windows stretched along the brim of the hill - giving a stupendous view over Alassio and the bay. The interior is beautifully adorned, and the staff are welcoming. You will immediately be served some excellent foccaccia and an impressive bowl of pinzimonio (fresh, whole salad vegetables) with two accompanying dips – of which the anchovy one is a true delight. The house antipasto is very good, consisting of a number of fish and vegetable-based dishes. For the main course there is a choice of several fish and meat dishes. This is a remarkable place and is well worth a visit. However, drive a small car and don't look down while at the wheel! <tooc, April 2008>