Our food expert Federico presents his tips on where to eat while spending time on Tuscan beaches. But first he explains: „Initially I had thought to write an article on the best places to eat on all over the coast of Tuscany. But I realized that no one will ride through the entire coast just in a day, so I preferred to divided it in two equal parts”.
Let’s start with Marina di Cecina, where my best choice is Bagni Sirena. The restaurant is placed on the sea side, and it is a part of the bathhouse, so you can pass the day relaxing on the beach and then have an excellent dinner (or lunch) in the restaurant. The menu changes daily, and this is a good sign because all the specialties are based on fresh ingredients and so the dishes will depend on the type of catched fish.
Moving a little to the north, on old Aurelia road, just outside Vada, there is another place you should not miss: La Cambusa. This “pizzosteria” (an acronym of “pizzeria” ad “osteria”) is one of the favorite places of young people of all the province. La Cambusa is informal and colorful but the quality of the food is very high. A complete dinner could start with Antipasto alla Enrico, then a good portion of Spaghetti Libeccio like main course, or Grigliata di Gamberoni. But there is not just fish, they have a good selection of meat based main courses, and many different types of pizza.
But let’s move again to the north, to one of the most famous places of the coast, Castiglioncello. Here, just on the seaside walk you will find Il Coccodrillo. This restaurant is all over a concrete platform on the sea, so you will have a lunch almost surrounded by the water (very relaxing). The menu gather both side of typical Tuscan cuisine, so you will find fish and seafood, but also meat, and all made with best and fresh ingredients. My best pick at Il Coccodrillo, is Spaghetti Capolavoro, and Frittura di Mare Mista. The place is quite elegant but absolutely not demanding, and the prices and quality relation is good.
If you are looking for a place where to eat on the Tuscan coast, an unconventional place to eat fresh fish, better if raw, you will love the Stuzzicheria di Mare, in Livorno. During the day the Stuzzicheria is a standard fish market, but when the evening comes, some magic happens on the backside and the fish market becomes a fish restaurant, specialized on “crudité di mare”, raw fish, oysters, mussels, shrimps, mullets and so on. The place is obviously informal and the waiters looks more like fishermen.
In Livorno, when the locals want to move outside the city for the night, they usually go to the northern part of the coast, to Versilia, but often they stop for an aperitif in Marina di Pisa at Sunset Cafè. This is not a place to eat, but is a charming bar on the beach, where you can have a very good cocktail while you are listening music and chilling on the sand.
Viareggio is the beating heart of Versilia, with its long beaches, its marina, and more over its Carnevale. People from Viareggio, called “viareggini”, are proud of their traditions, also in the kitchen. So it’s easy to find a good place to eat; but my favorite place is Ristorante da Stefano. This is a very traditional tavern, where the passion for the local food is combined with the passion for Carnevale di Viareggio, so you will have very good food while breathing the real atmosphere of Viareggio.