If I’m being honest, fried fish is not my favorite thing in the world. Well, it didn’t used to be anyway. But then, I discovered the magic that is Il Pescato Cucinato in Riomaggiore, and now I’m obsessed. This is seriously a MUST DO for anyone visiting the Cinque Terre. Hate seafood? I don’t care. You still have to try it. You’ve never had seafood quite like this.
First of all, this place is adorable. It’s a small, hole-in-the-wall shop owned by a local Italian couple.
The husband goes fishing every day, and then the wife cleans and fries whatever he brings back. It’s literally straight from the ocean and the freshest seafood I’ve ever had.
The menu changes every day, depending on what fish the husband catches. You can choose a specific type of seafood, or you can go for the “fritto misto” to get a little bit of everything (this is the correct choice). It’s the perfect combination of salty, crunchy, and delicious.
Your fried fish is served in a little paper cone, with a wooden skewer to stab each bite. You can either sit on a bench right outside the door, or continue walking along the streets of Riomaggiore. However, if you choose to keep walking, don’t count on actually seeing the sites. You literally can’t concentrate on anything around you, because you are too busy obsessing over how amazing this food is.
(You may think that Michael is looking out at the ocean and enjoying the view, but all he’s really thinking about is Il Cucinato Pescato and how he would literally kill for a cone of fritto misto.)
Eating the mixed cone (apart from being the absolute best seafood OF YOUR LIFE) is kind of a fun game. You stab your skewer down into the cone, and then see what surprise fish comes out on the end of it. I tend to be pretty adventurous with food (remember that time I ate cow stomach?), but some bites were still a little bit unexpected.
But it’s like one of those “Everyone’s a Winner” claw machines at an arcade, because every single bite is absolutely INCREDIBLE. I literally wanted to go back into the shop and kiss the owners.
Not a joke: it’s so good that if someone made me choose either a cone of this fried fish or a cone of gelato, I would choose the fish. (Over gelato!) You guys, that is saying A LOT.
We took tons of pictures during our visit to the Cinque Terre, most of them with colorful houses stacked along an unbelievably scenic coastline along the Ligurian Sea. This place was gorgeous and felt like a dream.
But honestly, I think this is the photo I’m going to frame.