Trattoria dal Billy - Cinque Terre

Put Billy’s Trattoria on your must visit list if you are travelling to the Cinque Terra.

Not every holiday has to be about cycling (although most of mine seem to be these days). Sometimes it’s good to take some R&R off the bike. We had a few days relaxing in Cinque Terre on Italy’s Ligurian coast in 2013. We didn’t cycle, however did feel a bit of FOMO when we saw the gorgeous cliff top road that links the 5 villages. I’m guessing we’ll be back with our bike another time. However this part of our trip was all about walking, swimming, relaxing...and eating of course!

I knew that the Cinque Terre would be very touristy, and I expected that there would be a lot of overpriced cafes that thrived on the tourism trade. However, I was really hoping that we would find a little restaurant that served fresh local produce. Luckily, we picked a town that had just that. We chose Manarola to stay in, simply because it was central and had a few good walks that we could do straight out of the town. We spent our first night in, just eating some simple antipasto on our amazing rooftop terrace that we had scored - accommodation win!

However our second night was gloriously warm, so we really wanted to get out and experience the culture and some tasty local food.

Local produce served with an incredible view on the side

Billy’s Trattoria is nestled right up the top of the colourful village. We were advised to go here by a local, and if I could find that person today I’d give them a kiss as this place was just something else.

It is fairly hard to find as it is right up the top of this higgelty pigglety terraced village, and you could easily get lost in the narrow streets & end up at back at the touristy pizzeria on the water. However adorn your walking shoes & make the effort to climb up the many steps to this little gem of a restaurant on top of the hill.

With magnificent views over the Mediterranean, the atmosphere can not get any better. The design of the restaurant follows that of the village, with 3 terraced levels. Ask for a seat outside if you can get it for there is nothing better than enjoying your fish with a glass of wine while watching the sun set over the Mediterranean.

Image credit: Trattoria dal Billy

Food:

Being in a coastal village, seafood is the speciality. However they advertise that they serve “the flavour of the land between the terraces” which translates as including scrumptious local meat and vegetable produce on the menu to complement the fresh seafood.

A must are the salted anchovies - a local speciality. Now if you are not an anchovy fan don’t turn up your nose. These are not like the canned salty fish you ask to be removed from your pizza at the local take-away. I am personally not a big fan of anchovies, but I gave these a go and they were simply gorgeous. Fresh, salty but not fishy and local which makes you feel like you are really experiencing the area. Have them with some focaccia and olive oil - divine.

We were a bit greedy & had a fresh whole fish, plus pasta, plus an antipasto tasting plate (it was our first night in the area, we got a bit excited). But every mouthful was worth it. They also serve great local wine, and the friendly wait staff are happy to chat to you about the food and wine you are eating, and where it comes from.

I recommend you book, and ask the waiter’s to make suggestions on what to order to get the full experience.

Dress code is smart casual (probably no lycra...although you might get away with it!)

Find out more: http://www.trattoriabilly.com/

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