We got an enthusiastic tip for Maria's restaurant from our hotel, but we had a very mixed experience there. The atmosphere is REALLY authentic--gym basement decor, OK if you know it is what you are after. That was not our problem. Problems were (1) it was pretty hard to figure out what you were going to get from handwritten, Italian only menu, and (2) the service is so fast (like, instant!) that it is clear many plates are waiting already served in the kitchen. Two of the four dishes we ordered were cold and bland tasting, two were pretty good. Prices are quite low. If you know Italian, know what you want, like the funky atmosphere, and are on a budget, it might be your ideal!
Favorite Dish: Good veal with eggplant, plain but well prepared, family style
And I had a great experience.
I poured oil on my bread and ate it for the very first time here.
It was delicious.
I learned how to ask for the dolce di la casa here.
It was delicious.
The minestrone was delicious. And I don't like minestrone.
But it's not the great food. It's not how cheap it is.
It's Maria and Maria's waitress.
I hope I still feel up to slinging the hash when I am edging as close to the end of the twig as they are. And smiling as broadly as they are.
And generally getting as much of a buzz out of life as they are.
A little bird told me that if health and safety regulations were strictly observed, maybe Maria's wouldn't quite make it.
But that would be a great pity.
Because it isn't very often that you get to go to a restaurant run by anarchic little old ladies.
*UPDATE* I have been told that Maria has retired (maybe her waitress has too) and the place is now run by her daughter.
The most typical restaurant in Genova? It's without any doubt the osteria Da Maria. It's an "institution" in Genova, everyone has been there at least once. This restaurant opened in 1946 with Maria Manté working there all the time, every day, preparing her homemade ligurian cuisine. These days there are mainly foreign cookers, chinese, egyptian, moroccans, who knows, but they keep on preparing the usual typically genoese food every day.
If you like expensive, clean and perfect restaurants this is really the place NOT to come. But if you like a very simple, traditional place, where you sit at the table with anyone you find and enjoy simple, but good, and cheap meal this is a must stop in Genova.
The "touristic menu" (but Maria is not a touristic place, don't worry) costs now 9 euros, and you get a first, a main course and something to drink.
What a place!
Two charming old ladies, white hair and warm smile, amazing food, enchanting atmosphere.
This is it.
Favorite Dish: Pasta con pesto, boiled beef with salsa verde, dolce de la casa, everything is delicious.
scissors hanging from a nail driven into a wall, Maria herself, in the pic, saying firmly but kindly to a tattooed young man that in her restauarnt you cannot swear, a menu hand written on a piece of paper on which the sold out dishes are striken through remind me of a grandma...
and her handwritten notices, in the pic on the back of Maria, are incredible, they say: "Dessert of the House, lovely", "Iceream, very good, only vanilla" "Cooked fruit, warm and good"
closed on monday and on saturday
Favorite Dish: pasta al pesto (fresh pasta with pesto sauce, served with potatoes and french beans as the tradition teaches)
cima (a sort of sack of meat filled with a mixture of egg, vegetables and meat)
the dessert of the house (which reminds a tiramisù but it's not, is the dessert "of the house")
I confess I did't publish this restaurant before as a sort of "revenge".... In the guide I mention in the intro the only restaurant mentioned was this one. now I know for sure that some other VTrs has discovered it I can give up with my embargo and speak about Maria.
Maria,is still the same old maria who was there 30 years ago and way before, she's the white, small, smiling little woman behind the counter.
surrounded by handwrititten notices like "ice cream really good only vanilla", "fantastic baked apple" that you can only really appreciate in italian.
The first thing you think entering the place is "How the hell this place can still be open in 2003?" but I know no one being poisoned by maria in his history.... well... lot of time ago I personally saw a cat on the lifter with my ravioli.... the cat was pretending to ignore my dish and the ravioli where delicious as usual .. so... who cares :-)
Here you can sit with a rasta, a spanish student, a manager and someone who ha no money to pay the bill
Definitely a backpakers and "on budget" place is worth visiting if you like to bring your sense in a sincere 30 years ago stuff... no one is pretending here, maria is a real timelapse
Favorite Dish: maria's pesto is not the best in genoa but it's far from being the worst. Stocche (stocafisso accomodato, stockfisw with potatotomatoolive), purpu ( polpo con patate , boiled octopus with potato)
This is a place, you should NO MISS as it is unique in many ways :
This great restaurant is in the old part of town, you will meet all levels of guests there and they enjoy it.
Large tables & most of them will be occupied most of the time
A funny menu with explanations like " our xxx tastes really great today " or " try yyy, we use only real zzz in our kitchen "
The menu is in Italian ONLY, and when you order your dish it might happen, that the waitress comes back, telling you, yyyyy is not available anymore today, and she will immidiately cross it out on Your menu, that had lots of crossed out dishes already, when you got the menu
Have a look on the pic, with the laundry around the windows, and the very small entrancedoor
Favorite Dish: We came rather late into the fully occupied restaurant, found a place for 2, tried to order, but failed so often to get the dishes WE wanted ( as they had to get crossed out from the menu )...
but finally it worked well with 2 dishes + mineral water we payed 5,- €uro each