Genoa 2018: Dinner at Osteria il Cadraio


I’d been trying to get into this little osteria just round the corner from my hotel for a couple of days. The people leading my Hotel Alphabet course pointed it out as a good place for local food and so I tried to book, but never seemed to find a time to pop in when they were open or get an answer from their phone. Today I went in at lunchtime and booked for the evening. And I’m very glad I did!

I’ve been mostly eating very well this trip and love just going to simple places serving traditional local food. With the occasional exception, I’m more of a cafe and trattoria person than a posh restaurant person -not just on holiday or even just when alone, but really anytime.

Here in Genoa, capital of Liguria and a busy port, the emphasis is on pesto, focaccia and fish. And the prices, compared to more fashionable destinations, are very reasonable.

The restaurant is attractive inside and in a traditional style. I’d booked for 7.30, their opening time and what seems to be a common time here. Thus it was almost empty – though soon filled up – and they showed me a table and asked if I was happy with it. I like that touch. A simple thing but giving you any easy opening to say no, you’d rather sit somewhere else, if you’re not happy. As it happens, I was, so I sat down and looked at the menu.

Another thing I liked was that house wine could be ordered in quarter, half or litre carafes. Sometimes a glass isn’t quite enough.

A ¼ litre of house red was €4, a ½ litre of water €1. They came with a basket of bread, which included the famous Ligurian focaccia; thinner than we often find it in UK, slightly crispy on the outside but soft in the middle. Delicious! The Genovese have it for breakfast too, not just lunch or dinner; they are as likely to have a piece of focaccia with a morning coffee as a sweet pastry.

There were many temptations on the menu but I opted for Minestrone alla Genovese (€8) simply because I fancied it. I’d already had one this trip but sometimes, dear followers, I have to go with what I fancy and not something new just for the sake of the blog. Though the blog provides an excellent excuse for eating well and trying lots of new places!

It came in a large deep bowl and had a huge, generous dollop of homemade pesto on top. It was truly wonderful; such a glorious flavour. Very different from the thick – but also delicious – one I had on the first night; more obviously a soup. It was truly one of the best soups I’ve had.

Well I have to confess to going off piste with my main and took myself to Tuscany by ordering a Tagliata di Manzo (€15). I’ve eaten a lot of fish and love having a steak sometimes and Tagliata is one of my very favourite dishes.

They use cheaper flank steak but it was very tender and good. It was dressed with thickly grated local Pecorino cheese and served with gorgeous little roasted new potatoes. I enjoyed it a lot but couldn’t quite finish it as it was a large portion, as the minestrone had also been. I noticed all plates of food going past me were large and generous so you definitely need to go there hungry!

Too full for dessert, I ordered just an espresso to finish.

The bill came to €31.50.

It was an excellent meal and good value. I liked the osteria a lot and would certainly go back another time. In fact, as I ate I was contemplating lunch there tomorrow before I set off to the airport and home, because there are some lovely pasta dishes on the menu which would make a perfect lunch.

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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

5 thoughts on “Genoa 2018: Dinner at Osteria il Cadraio

    1. Oh yes, I agree; I was really joking a bit. But I think blogging also encourages me to branch out and try new things and places and be a little more adventurous 🙂

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