Plate With A View: Le Bocche Portovenere, Italy

Whether you enter the Ligurian village of Portovenere via land or sea, it’s a captivating sight. Tall, narrow houses painted in pastel shades line the waterfront, restaurants and bars at their feet; brightly coloured fishing boats bob in the busy harbour; and in a commanding position on the hillside, high above the village, is the imposing 12th-century Andrea Doria castle.

At the end of the harbour’s mouth is Le Bocche, built into the rock beneath the Genoese Gothic church of San Pietro. The path to it has been trodden by many a famous foot: David and Victoria Beckham, Mick Hucknall and Roman Abramovich have all dined here after dropping anchor in the marina.

More often than not, it is warm and the sun is shining, so you can pull up a canvas chair |at one of the many tables on |the decked patio and enjoy a |delicious fish meal al fresco.

If the weather happens to |be unkind, the stylish interior of Le Bocche has floor-to-ceiling windows to ensure that nothing spoils the view.

THE PLATE

Naturally, the à la carte menu is all incredibly fresh seafood, with just three meat dishes – two beef, one veal – to cater for those who aren’t fish fans.

Starters are split into “warm” and “raw” – the former including shrimps with yellow-pepper purée, red mullet with asparagus cream, and oyster gratin with herbs; the latter featuring oysters, marinated tuna with pistachio sauce, and sea-bass carpaccio with pine nuts.

Pasta can be taken as a starter, middle or main course, with the options ranging from the typical Ligurian trofie (small pasta twists made from chestnut flour) with red mullet and saffron, to lasagne with shrimps and clams, and penne with swordfish, rocket and almonds.

For the main event, there’s tuna with an anchovy and caper sauce or monkfish rolls with shrimps and aubergines. Or shellfish, selected from a tank.

Desserts might include a |pastry basket filled with Chantilly cream and seasonal berries, chocolate mousse, or a warm chocolate tart.Wines are all Italian, with a wide selection from Liguria.

THE VIEW

Le Bocche (which translates as “the mouth”) appropriately takes its name from the stretch of water separating the village of Portovenere from the small, |verdant island of Palmaria.

Little boats leave Portovenere and cross the azure Le Bocche to take visitors to the island, while other vessels – fishing boats, small passenger ferries, flashy motor cruisers and yachts – enter the narrow straits from the open sea and sail past into the harbour.

Looking inland, the masts |of hundreds of yachts in Portovenere harbour fill the view, and as evening draws in, the lights of the port city of La Spezia twinkle in the distance.

THE BILL

A three-course meal excluding drinks costs between ¤65-¤80 (£50-£62) per person. A glass of local wine costs €¤5 (£3.80).Le Bocche, Calata Doria, 102 |Portovenere, La Spezia, Liguria, Italy (00 39 0187 790622; www.|lebocche.it). Closed on Tuesdays.

Suggested Topics
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'