Ristorante Al Castello – a Restaurant with Incredible Views:
For our final dinner in Vernazza we dine at Ristorante al Castello which is high above Vernazza’s main square, just below the castle.
To ensure we got a cliff-side table overlooking the sea, we hiked up here earlier in the day to make a booking. Yes, the restaurant enjoys an incredible location and the views from up here is breathtaking indeed.
Ristorante Al Castello is owned by Monica and her husband Massimo. They also let out rooms in Vernazza under the name Monica Lercari Rooms. Specialties at Ristorante Al Castello are essentially seafood, which suits us perfectly.
What We Ate
For entrée, I order the Anti-pasto Misto Mare which is made up of chopped octopus and prawns with lots of herbs, which is quite tasty . Tony orders the Stuffed Anchovy, but unfortunately has to send it back. The dish looks good but it turns out that there’s minced mortadela ham in the stuffing. To get a quick replacement entrée Tony opts for a Salad Caprese.
For the main, being a pasta addict, I can’t go past the Spaghetti Vongole. Tony has a mixed seafood platter of calamari, shrimps and fish – the calamari outnumber the shrimps and fish.
Food at Ristorante Al Castello feature regional specialties and the simplicity of its cooking is no different to the rest of the Cinque Terre. So, for the provincial style of cooking, meal prices are expensive.
It’s a bit windy tonight so we’re pleased that we didn’t have a table by the railings.
Service is not the restaurant’s strongest point and one couple got quite stroppy, with the wife instructing her husband not to leave any tips! Not leaving tips for Americans is pretty serious indication of the customers’ dissatisfaction. We instead apply a little humour and politeness and we find the waiter very responsive to our requests. He didn’t even charge us for the entrée that Tony sent back which earns him brownie points from us.
Prices at Ristorante Al Castello are a little more expensive than down in the town square but like anywhere else in the world you pay for the location and the views. It does cost the restaurant more to have supplies carted up the hill as well.
Reviews are very split reviews on this restaurant – 50% of the reviewers love it and the other 50% wouldn’t recommend it, mainly because of the service.
Yes, I agree that the service isn’t slick and could be improved, meal prices are higher than in town and the food is not haute cuisine, but dining among the stars with the moon idling over us, is a pretty romantic and memorable experience and a nice way to finish our stay in Cinque Terre.
Ristorante Al Castello
Via Guidoni 56, 19018 Vernazza