Marinated anchovies (with lemon and vinegar), Portivene, Portovenere

Portivene Un Mare di Sapori, Portovenere, lunch

Menu from a lunch at Portivene Un Mare di Sapori, Portovenere, to sample the local mussels:

Marinated anchovies (with lemon and vinegar)

Fried anchovies with vinegar and herbs

Marinated mussels with tomato sauce

Battered and fried mussels

Farinata (chickpea pie) with stracchino cheese and Genoese pesto sauce

Mussels au gratin (with bread and herbs cooked in oven)

Razor clams au gratin (with bread and herbs cooked in oven)

“Gnocchetti” (potato dumplings) with mussels and clams

Basil ice-cream

Portivene Un Mare di Sapori is a small restaurant on a side street behind the main façade of Portovenere’s waterfront homes. It seems to be as popular with the locals as it is with tourists and there’s not much space to fit in either. But it’s the sort of place where you stand outside and waves of garlic cooking would waft your way as you wait.

Portovenere is known for their cultivated mussels so we had more than our fair share, fried, battered and stewed. But there was also plenty of anchovies in the local waters – another ingredient featuring heavily on the menu.

But the deeply satisfying meal aside, it was the basil ice cream that really tickled my fancy. Fresh, clean and almost a little floral, it really helped to clean the palate.

Qin Xie

Qin Xie is a London based food, wine and travel journalist and trained chef.

When not infiltrating Michelin restaurants as a kitchen tourist, she writes about food, drink and travel. Her work has appeared on Yahoo, FT, The Times and CNN.

Her first cookbook, co-authored with YS Peng at Hunan Restaurant, is out March 2014.

According to friends, her watch is always set to UTC -- ready for the next big adventure. In reality, she is happiest at the dinner table or by the sea.


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