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Genoa Food Guide: Unveiling the Best Dishes to Eat in Genoa

Genoa is an underrated city in Italy’s Liguria region. The only reason I have ever visited in the past was because I was in port during a cruise. But after my most recent cruise with MSC Cruises, I disembarked in Genoa (rather than just visiting for a day and leaving again on the ship) and actually realised that Genoa is a culinary gem that is as diverse and colourful as its rich history. From traditional pesto to unique pasta creations, every dish had me dying to try more. 

I spent some time discovering what to eat in Genoa, and it was a delicious adventure in a city I feel gets overlooked in the world of Italian food locations for travellers. So if you are visiting on a cruise or happen to be in the region, here are some tasty reasons to add Genoa to your foodie travel itinerary.


Planning a Trip to Genoa Italy?

Here are our tips for food tours in Genoa and places to stay

Genoa Food Tours :

Do Eat Better Experience – Food Tours in Genoa (Top Pick)

Genoa Day Tour: 4 hours of Wine Food History and Joy

Homemade Pasta and Pesto Class with a Local Chef in Genoa

Best Hotels in Genoa:

Palazzina B – Smart Rooms (Top Pick)

Hotel Palazzo Grillo

OStellin Genova Hostel

Genoa Food – Does Genoa Have Good Food?

The Genoa food scene is all about it’s location location location. Genoa is a city that’s not just by the sea but also in the middle of a lush area known for growing some of the worlds best basil. This isn’t just any basil, it’s the Basilico Genovese DOP, a big deal in local dishes. And because Genoa is such a big port city, there’s loads of amazing seafood dishes to try. It’s like the city’s got the best of both worlds – fresh produce from the land and the sea, making the food here really special and tasty.

Iconic Genoese Dishes

Genoa Foods: Pesto Genovese
Genoa Foods: Pesto Genovese

Pesto Genovese

If you’re talking about what makes Genoa’s food stand out, you’ve got to mention their Pesto Genovese. It’s like a flavor bomb made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, a mix of Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses, and of course – really good olive oil. I’ll be honest – you’ve never really tried pesto until you’ve had it in Genoa. The flavours just pop! The store bought ones we get at home are very mediocre in comparison to the real deal in Genoa. 

Focaccia Genovese

Genoa Street Food: Focaccia Genovese
Genoa Street Food: Focaccia Genovese

Focaccia Genovese is a fluffy flatbread baked just right, with a golden touch of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, this bread has been part of Genoa’s diet since ancient times. Variations include focaccia topped with tomatoes or olives. They might seem simple – but Italy has proven that you don’t need to overcomplicate food to make it delicious. The focaccia in Genoa is a testament to this! 


A traditional meat dish, made from a cow or veal breast stuffed with a mix of bread, peas, vegetables, ground meat, eggs, and cheese.


This chickpea flour-based pancake is a popular street food in Genoa. Its crispy exterior and creamy interior make it a simple yet delectable treat. And it makes a great snack for wandering around Genoa’s streets getting lost in it’s maze of stunningly decorated buildings. 

What Pasta is Genoa Known For?

What to eat in Genoa - Pesto gnocchi
What to eat in Genoa – Pesto gnocchi

In Genoa, you’ll find a large selection of unique pasta dishes that are just too many to eat in one visit. Pasta Alla Genovese, is a popular dish to start with where they mix in boiled potatoes and green beans with some fresh pesto, making it a real Genoese classic. Then there’s their ravioli, stuffed with a mix of meats and cheeses, which is always a crowd-pleaser. You can also find Pansotti – which is triangular stuffed pasta served with a walnut sauce. Too many to choose from – only one stomach. The struggle is real!

Traditional Genoese Seafood Dishes

Genoa’s proximity to the sea is on display with Cappon Magro, a seafood salad, and Capponada, a similar dish with anchovies and sun-dried fish, which are refreshing seafood options. Stoccafisso alla Genovese, a stew made with dried cod, vegetables, and herbs, is a must-try if you are a lover of local seafood dishes.

Genoese Desserts and Snacks

For dessert lovers, if you still have room after all of the focaccia and pasta, Genoa offers a range of sweet treats like Gobeletti, a jam-filled shortbread, and Pandolce, a fruit-filled Christmas cake….but honestly I never make it to dessert! 

–> looking for more Italian food & travel inspiration – check out our Italy Hub Page

Where To Eat in Genoa

Trattoria delle Grazie (Pictured above with the cute vespa outside)

This place was a must on my foodie list and did not disappoint. This quaint little restaurant gave us atmospehere, great service, and perfect examples of the Genoa food we were dying to try while on vacation. Highly Recommend.


Pestobene Genova

This is more of a place where you would stand and eat or take away, but this is seriously the BEST pesto I have ever had. I even brought some home with me it was so good! Check for opening times as they vary, but this was a great place to grab a late breakfast and was just a couple of doors down from our hotel in Genoa.


Il Ristoro dei Grimaldi

Another great place to grab a late breakfast of focaccia or a snack any time of day.


Ai Troeggi

If you are looking for a place with great vibes to grab a drink and some tasty food – this is the spot. While most of the city seemed to be quiet after hours (we were in Genoa in early December) this place was still full of locals to the point where it was hard to get a seat. Great craft beer menu and the Bruchetta’s were loaded with cheese and oh soooo tasty.


Genoa Food - What to Eat in Genoa

Strolling through Genoa is like going on a flavour adventure. Let your taste buds lead the way down those food-filled streets. You’ll get hit with the herby goodness of pesto and the satisfying crunch of Focaccia Genovese. So when you’re there, dive into the local Genoa Food scene and explore all those amazing flavours. It’s a paradise for anyone who loves good food and wants to experience the real taste of this Italian city.