Pietra Ligure, October 6, 2016—
DINNER AT MIDDAY today. We spent the morning in Pietra, walking the medieval streets and sharing our distaste for a late 18th-century basilica; then drove up the typical series of hairpin curves on improbably narrow roads through villages and olive groves perched on incredibly steep slopes to the town of Verezzi, where we'd been told there were many restaurants from which to choose.
All but two were closed, and one of them, on the parking lot outside this pedestrian-only village, seemed too touristy a place. The other did quite well by us. We sat in a large dining room overlooking descending terraces so steep as to be nearly a precipice. There were quite a few parties seated, most of them Italian; our formally dressed Torinese waiter, heavily tattooed and ear-plugged, took care of us discreetly.
I began with trofie al pesto: twisted little shapes, rather thick, of pasta, in a nicely made classical pesto, much subtler than thee one I make at home. I had a bit of my companion's Russian salad, interesting for having incorporated tuna mayonnaise in the mix. We liked both dishes.
I went on to a steak of grilled swordfish, because I've promised myself to eat from the sea each day we're here. It was a little dry, I thought; the waiter came unbidden to offer a bottle of olive oil, which set things right. A bit over cooked, otherwise perfectly acceptable.
I couldn't resist the most interesting dessert offered, a rich dark chocolate pie, i would say, though it was called a tarte, flavored with piquant peperoncini. The texture was unctuous and superb, silky, thick; the flavors carefully balanced, just a hint of spice.
Cortese in carafe
Antica Osteria Saracena del Bergallo, via Roma 17, Verezzi (SA); +39 029 617783