Where to Drink in Genova, Italy
Below, I’ve detailed the many cafés and wine bars that I visited during my stay in Genova, Italy. Each comes recommended for a different reason, offering a nice variety of atmospheres in which to enjoy the two best beverages in the world: coffee and wine!
Caffè Fratelli Nadotti: We visited this place every morning for the traditional cappuccino and pastry, usually a fresh croissant—which we later found out are flown in from France at this café! We definitely stopped in here a few different afternoons, as well, for some espresso—some of the smoothest and sweetest I have ever tasted. The coffee is excellent and even though it’s a tiny café, it’s worth it to squeeze in even if it’s busy.
Storico Lounge Café: Located right on the Piazza de Ferrrari (pictured on left), Storico Lounge is a good spot to grab a morning cappuccino or afternoon espresso and spend some time people-watching from the outside patio. During the afternoon, they serve tasty panini and even though the location feels a bit more posh than the cafés in the caruggi (the ancient, narrow streets of Genova), it’s still a spot worth visiting if you’re spending time on the piazza.
Caffetteria San Luca: If you like chocolate, you have to visit this café. They have an impressive list of espresso beverages, many of which feature chocolate as as the secondary ingredient. By the end of our trip, we had discovered that chocolate and espresso go well together and that this delicious coupling is quite common in cafés across Italy.
Recommended Wine Bars
Jalapeño: This quirkily named aperitivo spot turned out to be a great find. Aperitivo is like happy hour, where you drink and enjoy appetizers, but it’s better because the food comes with your glass of wine. And this isn’t just any food… you’re looking at mini-paninis, salumi, prosciutto, cheese, olives, focaccia, bread sticks and more. An alternative style of serving aperitivo is for there to be an open buffet of goodies that you are welcome to help yourself to while you enjoy your wine. Aperitivo hour starts around 6pm and in some instances can go until dinnertime at 9pm. At Jalapeño, I recommend the deliciously drinkable Dolcetto d’Alba and Barbera d’Alba (only $4 Euro/glass!). The wines were great and perfect with a plate of appetizers.
Meridiana Enoteca: This wine bar was probably the most posh spot in Genova for wine. They had a chalkboard list—most of the other cafés/wine bars didn’t have that—with wine by the glass and bottle. The producers and vintages were even listed! The Boasso Giancarlo glasses of 2015 Dolcetto d’Alba and 2015 Violeta Vino Rosso (Nebbiolo) were both excellent choices. The former was a juicy, full and fruity offering. The latter provided a bit more complexity and structure, with seductive strawberry and rose petals aromatics. On the palate, tannins brought structure, alongside flavors of red plum, strawberry, clove and white pepper—a lot of complexity here for a basic Nebbiolo. We also tasted a Scarzello 2009 Barolo, which was tasty in its perfumed aromas, soft palate and angular style.
Bar Academia: Another great people-watching place on the Piazza de Ferrari is Bar Academia, which offers a nice selection of wines with a hearty aperitivo plate. The wine list was a map organized by Italian wine regions, which was a clever way of presenting the wines, and the aperitivo was a tasty array of focaccia items and briny olives. We had a glass of Cantine Bersano 2012 Barbera Cremosina and Ricasoli Brolio Chianto Classico, the latter vintage was unknown. Both wines were lovely. I was always very impressed by how drinkable and well-made even the basic, affordable bottlings were. There’s just so much good wine to go around, that there really isn’t a bad glass on local wine lists.
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