Genoa Food Guide: Tours, Ligurian Food, and Things to Do for Foodies

While Genoa food might not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Italy and food, the beautiful port city of Genoa has plenty of charm to offer its visitors and bucket list culinary experiences worth a top spot.

Between its medieval Caruggi (narrow alleys and lanes), maze squares, dreamy pebble beaches, magnificent palazzos, and food that warms your heart, the capital of Liguria really is nothing short of an urban explorer’s dream.

As Genoa evolved from an ancient city to one that is filled with tourists and younger generations, the food in Genoa stopped being strictly seasonal and grew to accommodate the number of year round tourists. You can now expect to enjoy a buffet of culinary delights no matter when you visit.

Whether you want to taste the classic basil pesto, a slow-cooked trippa (cow or sheep stomach), or a sumptuous seafood platter, Genoa is a fabulous food city in Italy, with enough variety to satisfy even the most adventurous palates!

Genoa food guide, Genoa Italy

What’s in this Article? 

Where to Stay in Genoa

Things to Do in Genoa for Foodies

Traditional Genoa Food and Local Dishes 

Traditional Genoa Food and Local Dishes 

Michelin star Restaurants in Genoa

Genoa Food Festivals and Markets

Street Food in Genoa

Where to Stay in Genoa

Hotel Palazzo Grillo

Set in a historical building in Genoa’s historic city center, the Hotel Palazzo Grillo is a lovely 4-star hotel in the center of everything. The Genova Aquarium, Via Garibaldi, and the Palazzo Ducale are all within easy walking distance! We loved our stay here — if you’re looking for a central location that’s comfortable and historic with a great level of service, this is your place!

Check current rates and availability.

Marina Place Resort

If you love the idea of being on the water — that fabulous Ligurian coastline with the colorful boats and buildings — then the Marina Place Resort is a great option! This hotel is close to the airport (but not too close) and a 10-minute walk to the train station, so the location is very good. But possibly the coolest thing about this property is its traditional Turkish bath — perfect after a day of walking and exploring Genoa.

Check more details and availability.

Ligurian food in Genoa, things to do for foodies food

Top Things to Do in Genoa for Foodies

Take a Genoa Food Tour

Street Food Tour in Genoa

With a local guide, you'll experience what makes Genoa cuisine so special, learning about the city's maritime roots and history and enjoy a variety of Ligurian food, including fresh pesto, fried fish cones, savory vegetable pies and the local traditional bread, focaccia. You’ll even get to pick out some exclusive treats to take home with you from the many sciamadda (casual seafood joints), friggitoria (serving fried foods) and takeaway shops around town.

>>> Click here to book your tour This half-day food tour is super popular and fills up fast! <<<

Customizable Genoa Tour with a Side of Food

Genoa Like a Local Private Tour

This Lokafy walking tour is perfect for foodies who are looking for a customized travel experience where you’re led around the city by a Genoa local. Your knowledgable guide will introduce you to their city like a friend, showing you all the major sights and neighborhoods, and introducing you to the local food in Genoa.

Chat with your guide before you arrive and devise an itinerary that suits your taste, preferences and style of travel. This is a great option for those who know exactly what they would like from their visit, with a Guide who is willing to customize to your taste and interests. 

>>> Click to arrange and book your customized Lokafy walking tour! <<<


Genoa Wine Tour & Cooking Class

Winery and Wine Tasting by Soul of Genoa Tours

Kick-start your wine tasting journey with a salute to Garibaldi at Largo Sandro Pertini. Take a walk through this picturesque historic area in Genoa, marveling at the beautiful architecture of the piazzas and the glorious history of the city as the trading capital of Italy.

Your stroll will lead you to the vintage wine cellar in front of a Romanesque church, where you will get to sample the delicious wines of the Val Polcevera valley and learn how they are aged to perfection.

The Genovese have a serious love affair with food and it shows in their almost obsessive interest in teaching their guests about the food in Genoa. In this hands-on home-cooking class, you will learn to make four Italian recipes of your choice with the help of a host that will truly leave you feeling inspired.

Make gnocchis and pasta dishes from scratch, learn the secret behind Genovese pesto and reward yourself with a scoop or two of ice cream from the shops in old town Genoa. 

>>> Book your tour here — this traditional home cooking class fills up quickly! <<<

Guide to Genoa foods

Slicing Italian pork roast porchetta at Genoa’s food market

Traditional Genoa Food 

Ligurian Food Classics

 Pansotti with walnut sauce

Of all the unique Genoa foods to try on your trip, Pansotti is a good one — very traditional and unique! This handmade ravioli covered in walnut sauce was once popular among peasants, and was prepared using obscure greens like cicerbita, pimpernel, and dog’s tooth violet.

Today, you’ll find this delicacy served in almost every restaurant in the city, and is made using much simpler ingredients like Ligurian Swiss chard and freshly grated parmesan cheese.


If there’s one answer to the question of what to eat in Genoa, farinata is the traditional and classic Ligurian food you absolutely have to try. This iconic Genoa food reflects not only the multi-cultural food scene in Genoa, but the history of Liguria as well.

The chickpea flour pancake is Liguria in a bite. The dish features a light, thin and crispy texture and a rosemary flavor, and it’s an excellent wheat-free alternative to the pizza slice.

The history of farinata makes it even more compelling involving the soldiers of ancient Rome who would mix their rations of chickpea flour with water and leave them on their metal shields to bake in the sun.

Genoese farinata was eventually traded and introduced throughout Liguria and neighboring regions along the Cote d’Azur in France (where it is called socca), into Tuscany (cecina) and even into northern Sardinia (fainè).

Farinata traditional Genoa food


Must-Try Ligurian Dishes

 Ligurian Pra Basil Pesto

A true Genovese must-try is traditional Genovese pesto. Ask any local about it and you’ll discover that the best basil for making the sauce is a species of basil native to the coast of Liguria called Il Basilico di Pra.

This aromatic basil is crushed to make traditional Genovese pesto for a variety of dishes in Italy. Its delicate and intense flavor makes it unique from other basil species. Try it yourself by visiting one of Genoa’s authentic restaurants like Sciamadda Antica, and tasting their pesto pasta dishes and pizzas.


Stoccafisso Accomodato

One of Genoa's local specialties is Stoccafisso Accomodato, a stockfish stew made with pine nuts, potatoes and their special "taggiasca" olive oil. Stop by Gastronomia De Micheli, one of the oldest delis in town, and taste it for yourself and see how the dish succeeds at packing in all the distinct flavors of the region into one single pot.  

Torta Pasqualina

Genoa has an impressive array of savory pies that make great holiday treats, such as Torta Pasqualina, which is filled with Prescinsêua cheese, eggs, and greens like Swiss chard, spinach, artichokes and peas. The delicious Easter pie is typically baked with a dash of aromatic marjoram leaves.

Ligurian food, food in Genoa


Torta di Rosso

Torta di Rosso is an Italian classic rice pie you might see in other parts of Italy. This rice cake is prepared in different ways depending on the region where it's made, but in Genoa it resembles a fluffy quiche that is stuffed with rice, grated Prescinsêua cheese, eggs, nutmeg and extra virgin olive oil among other ingredients.


Farinata di zucca

If you were to ask a local about farinata di zucca, they'd laugh and say that it's not even related to the simple flatbread farinata. In this popular dish, the staple chickpea flour crust is turned on its head with a quirky assortment of fresh toppings like pumpkin, polenta, cheese, olive oil and oregano for a Ligurian-style plate of pancakes.

Be sure to try it the best way; served hot in one of the city's local and traditional fast food joints called fainotti.

Michelin star Restaurants in Genoa

There are so many good restaurants in Genoa, but if you’re looking for a cut above food experience, consider trying these two top-rated Genoa restaurants. But plan to make reservations weeks in advance.

 The Cook - Michelin rated

Vico Falamonica, 9R, 16123 Genova

Star Chef Ivano Ricchebono creates Italian dishes with a soulful twist that never fail to impress. At The Cook, you can savor the succulent bouillabaisse and tortellini simmered in cream of duck while your eyes take in the artfully decorated dining area that shows off 17th-century frescoes by Bernado Strozzi.

The knowledgeable staff here take pride in their top notch Michelin service and make sure you feel right at home truly making The Cook one of the best restaurants in Genoa. 


The Gran Ristoro

Via di Sottoripa, 27, 16124 Genova

The Gran Ristoro is the original sandwich shop in Genoa and makes the city’s best paninis. With over 150 types of paninis, the combinations are endless. From salumi, prosciutto, and mozzarella to vegetables, peppers, and more, you can get your fix for just €5, or under $6. If you’re not sure what to order, they’re even happy to give you advice on making the perfect custom order.


Food market in Genoa Italy

Fresh spices, dried mushrooms and other quality Italian products for sale at Genoa Oriental Market.

Genoa Food Festivals and Markets

Genoa Food Market

 MOG Mercato Orientale

Via XX Settembre, 75, 16124 Genova

A must-visit for any foodie is a city’s local market — in Genoa, that’s the Mercato Orientale, Genoa's local food paradise. You might be overwhelmed by the variety of handmade pastas, cheeses, focaccia, fresh spices, fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, and seafood that comes straight from the sea, but it’s all part of the lively experience. The shopkeepers don't just sell you their produce either, but rather they explain how they sourced them and teach you how to eat them at their best.

Top Genoa Food Festivals

 The Fish Festival of St. Fortunato

Imagine eating free, unlimited, melt-in-your-mouth fried fish, as you watch a display of a thousand fireworks light up the sky behind the quaint Mediterranean harbor.

Well, this is exactly what you can expect when you visit the gorgeous town of Camogli in Genoa during the month of May when the small fishing village celebrates their patron saint, Saint Fortunato. If you love fish, plan your trip around this annual Italian food festival!

Suq food festival in Genoa Italy

 The Suq Festival, one of Genoa’s most important Italian and European intercultural festivals

Suq Festival

Held annually, usually in June, in the Piazza delle Feste in the Porto Antico district of Genoa, the Suq Festival celebrates cultural differences. Suq is an Arabic word meaning “market” or a place of exchange. In this festival the exchange and dialogue is between people and cultures.

The festival features over 100 events such as concerts, theater, arts and crafts, cooking, and workshops. For foodies, the festival generally enjoys 15 different cuisines from different countries.

Sagra del Pane e Dell' Olio

Celebrate Italy's prized olive oil 10 days every year between November and December at the Sagra del Pane e Dell' Olio. Just 50 km off the coast of Genoa, in Sestri Levante, local mills host grand festivities to promote their "green oil," a local treasure that is often served with a fine selection of Italian breads. 

Street Food in Genoa


When it comes to comfort food, nothing compares to the feeling of munching on some focaccia in the streets of Genoa. Whether you eat it plain, dunk it in cream or coffee (yes, Ligurians do that!), or simply pop a few in your mouth at lunchtime for a quick snack, it’s the one food you cannot skip trying while there.

Genoa foods, Italy

 Fried Fish Cone

Throughout coastal Liguria, you’ll see travelers and foodies strolling the narrow streets with a paper cone filled with fried frutas di Mare — fruits of the sea. These fried tender morsels of fresh Ligurian seafood are best enjoyed on the go and spritzed with a touch of lemon for freshness. Ah, is it any wonder this Genoa food is so popular!

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Owing to Genoa playing second fiddle to the megawatt Italian cities like Rome and Florence, it has fewer crowds and more hidden gems to uncover, and for foodies that's something to celebrate!

We’re sure you'll love discovering the amazing food in Genoa, along with all the rest that this wonderful city has to offer.