Piazza Caricamento, 65R
Genoa’s port is arguably its most famous attraction. Rows of expensive yachts and cruise ship’s stretch out towards the sea with a backdrop of the city hills resembling the perfect Ligurian postcard. We arrived here just before sunset with a dilemma of where to eat. As it turned out we wandered directly into one of the places at the top of our list. Panino Marino.
Just before you get into the maze of alleyways that make up Genoa’s historic centre keep an eye out for a smart restaurant on the promenade with outside seating and the smell of fresh seafood. This is Panino Marino. Translated as ‘Seafood Sandwich’ this place specialises in exactly that. On entering the quite small restaurant there are a number of menu boards above head detailing various seafood sandwich combinations. Octopus, squid, fresh anchovies, it’s all here and it all looks very good.
Many customers come here for a sandwich and a beer, sitting outside to enjoy the evening. My attention focused in on a small menu on the bar which listed cones of seafood freshly fried for a good price. I opted for the calamari cone at €5.50 (£5.07) and a fritto misto cone – a mix of calamari, prawns and anchovies – for €8.80 (£8.11). I was then handed a buzzer which would vibrate once the order was ready.
This place is really popular and watching the food go by while I waited, I could see why. You do get a lot for your money with the sandwiches but strangely no one was going for the cones. The staff here do speak a little English but it is advantageous to bring along your basic Italian. Other than that the service is really very good, just order at the counter and await delicious seafood.
The waiting time wasn’t long at all, somewhere in the region of 10-12 minutes. I got the goods and headed for the benches just beside the port so that we could enjoy our dinner watching the sun go down. Sometimes in life things like this just make all the hard work worthwhile.
The seafood was hot, fresh and delicious. They include a wedge of lemon with each cone to squeeze over everything. Really that’s all you need. The calamari was fantastic, not chewy and with a great flavour. We loved the fritto misto with some of the freshest prawns, head attached, we have ever eaten. The anchovies were pretty good too, a few tiny bones here and there but nothing off putting.
Panino Marino does open for lunch but I can’t recommend coming at sunset enough. The port looks beautiful, all the street sellers have gone home and you get a real sense of the city winding down for the evening. Add to that a cone of fresh seafood and you have the perfect start to your stay in Genoa.
Opening times: Daily 1200-1530, 1830-2330
Nearest Metro: San Giorgio