While great Italian food can be found all over, each dish has its birth region, and certain towns and cities that know how to do it best. Genoa (or Genova in Italian) is the capital city of the Liguria region in northern Italy on the West Coast. It’s got beautifully blue Mediterranean beaches, high hills covered with colorful buildings, both attractive modern neighborhoods as well as an extremely well preserved historic city center, one of Europe’s most active ports and an eclectic and friendly population… but the best part is the food.
Yeah, I know you already know about the pesto but I’m going to tell you anyways. There’s a reason you’ve heard the best pesto is in Genoa. It’s easy to find freshly made pasta drowning in the basil and pine nut based sauce all over this city and yes, it does actually taste different (better) than in other regions of Italy.
So this one you may not have heard of. The spicy tomato and wine sauce will ruin mussels for you any other way if you like things with a bit of a kick. After you’ve finished all the mussels don’t be ashamed to grab some bread and soak up every last drop of the soupy goodness. Get them at Trattoria Le Maschere.
Focaccia with oil… focaccia with onions… focaccia with cheese… focaccia with pesto AND cheese. The snacking opportunities are endless and there’s a shop basically every 10 steps in the historic city center. Ask for Focaccia di Recco and you will be at peace with your stomach and your life.
I also strongly suggest that you end each evening with some artisanal gelato from Grom… but I couldn’t take a photo to lure you there because it was a stagnant 98 degrees (F) and I could hardly keep up eating it because it was melting so fast. Sorraaay.
All photos via Sarah Freeman