Il Pirata - Cinque Terre, Italy

Via Gavino, 36
Vernazza, Italy
Reservations highly recommended, cash only, breakfast and dinner

The Sicilian dynamic duo brothers instantly connect with customers with their charm, witty jokes, and vast knowledge of other countries.  Massimo and Gianluca are twin brothers believe in providing an inviting atmosphere rather than being uptight and snobby like other restaurants. 

As we were perusing the menu outside, one of the brothers immediately asked if we were from California.  I was impressed because of all the places in the world, he guessed the right U.S. state.

Il Pirata is not located on the waters, but on the other side of the train tracks.  There's actually a view of the parking lot and the mountains.  Still, I had a very fun and memorable evening with great food, great dessert, and excellent service.  I suggest dining here and then enjoy a glass of wine by the harbor.

We had met a family visiting Italy for a wedding and decided to vacation for 5 days in Cinque Terre.  They dined at Il Pirata 3 times and could not stop raving about it.

They first gave us complimentary breadsticks, olives and their in-house pickled eggplant that had a spicy kick to it.

For our appetizer, we ordered the carpaccio with fresh tomatoes, arugula, and Parmesan cheese.  With a squeeze of the lemon, it was a very nice light way to start the meal.

For our pasta dishes, we ordered tortellini with prosciutto and cream sauce. Our friends had love this dish so we had to get it and they were right on point.  The saltiness of the prosciutto complemented so well with the cream based sauce.  The dish was pretty straightforward, but the flavors and seasonings were quite excellent! One of my favorites on this trip!

Cinque Terre was our last Italian destination and I couldn't leave without tasting some gnocchi.  So we ordered the gnocchi with pesto sauce.  The sauce was well-balanced and the gnocchi was soft, but a bit on the chewier side.  It was still very delicious, but not the best gnocchi.  I actually think the homemade gnocchi at Osteria La Buca in Hollywood is one of the best I've tried because it really just melts in my mouth.

Known for their delicious desserts, we ordered the last of the panna cotta ("cooked cream") with strawberries and whipped cream and drizzles of melted chocolate.  It was creamy but a little sweeter to my taste.  The strawberries were sweet and fresh though.

Il Pirata is also known for their authentic Sicilian pastries made fresh in the morning.  They don't serve any typical American breakfast (ie. eggs and bacon), so please don't ask. Most of the pastries are 2 euros each and are still warm from the oven. We tried a croissant with some kind of orange flavored custard and a strawberry with cream croissant.  I usually like the more light, flaky type croissant, but these were less flaky as I would like, but still good though and not too sweet either.

This place has such liveliness and great food. I haven't tried many other Cinque Terre restaurants, but it was just an enjoyable experience.  I'm sure many suggest to eat where the locals eat, but Cinque Terre has so many tourists that it's impossible to find any hidden eatery filled with locals only. There are many tourists here (thanks to Rick Steves), but I say, just give Il Pirata a try and enjoy the company and food.

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