Dau Cila (Gourmet Chick in Italy)

Enrico is the proud and genial owner of our B&B in Riomaggiore, part of the Cinque Terre region of Italy. A stereotypically gregarious Italian he is bursting with suggestions for things to do and places to eat including a meal at Dau Cila situated right on the marina at Riomaggiore. “I’ve heard it’s good” Enrico explains “but I haven’t been there myself, it’s new”. Given that Dau Cila is listed in our guidebook and so has been open for at least two years in a village that only contains a handful of restaurants, Enrico’s comments illustrate the relaxed pace of life on the Cinque Terre.

The terrace of the restaurant perched on the marina

Dau Cila is situated on wooden decking that slopes out over the clusters of fishing boats below. There is also an indoor section carved like a grotto into the stones of the cliffs but the prime real estate in summer is on the decking. The menu makes the most of the regions abundance of seafood as well as offering plenty of Italian classics. Eight different bruschettas are offered but it is hard to go past the traditional topping of fresh tomato and garlic. The bruschetta arrives on a board and is enough to feed a party of six rather than just MTV boyfriend and me. It is good, robust food although on the heavy handed side with the garlic so I am glad that we are both eating the bruschetta.

Since we are sitting at such a lovely restaurant in Italy I celebrate with a fizzy Bellini while MTV boyfriend opts for the local beer, Nastro Azzuri. The wine list is exclusively local including the famed Sciacchetra. From the large seafood selection our waiter recommends the Bisato which is an eel that is served as a large fillet. The fish has a similar taste to tuna and is quite meaty. It is accompanied by a salad of char grilled vegetables such as peppers and zucchini which emphasise the smoky taste of the grilled fish.


Even more compelling is the fish of the day, a grilled Sea bream. Served whole with skin scorched by the grill the fish is a revelation. So fresh it is almost still flipping on the plate it is perfect with just a squeeze of lemon to cut the simple, clean flavour of the fish. To conclude a shivering mound of panacotta is served with caramelized strawberries and blueberries. The sweetness of the berries offset the milky panacotta to deliver a serious mouth-fill sensation. Not quite as amazing is the chocolate torte which must be flourless as it delivers such a dense, intense chocolate hit. However the outer shell of the cake suffers from being too dry and I actually leave some on the plate much to MTV boyfriend’s shock.

We try out two glasses of the region’s signature dessert wine – Sciacchetra. It is sticky and sweet but not cloying and I could see myself becoming a regular Sciacchetra drinker if it wasn’t 7 euros a glass. I sip on the wine and wonder how much longer it will take Enrico to wander down the hill to Dau Cila. I think it is worth the walk.

Details: Via San Giacomo, 6519017 Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy (Ph) 0187760032
Damage: Reasonable

Other tips for Riomaggiore: Try the bar A Pie’ de Ma’ which is on the edge of Riomaggiore at the start of the Via dell’Amore. A large balcony overlooks the waves crashing onto the cliffs below where you can sit and sip at a cocktail.


  1. Hey just noticed you like Ruth Reichel, have you read Garlic and sapphires, given New York is one of my favourite food destinations it’s a great read. ? Just got remembrance of things Paris…

  2. I love Cinque Terre. That fish sounds like a dream. I look forward to my trip to Italy soon.

  3. Didn’t get to Dau Cila, and couldn’t get served at A Pie De Ma! We enjoyed their view for about 20 mins though 🙂 We weren’t in Riomaggiore for long but it was such a lively place compared to the rest of the Cinque Terre!

  4. Hello everybody, just want to invite you and your readers to our site about the cinque terre
    ( in my signature ) and to the blog where you can also vote the nicest of the 5 Terre.
    Also a video section is online: Video of the Cinque Terre, a different point of view..

  5. Curious Eater – I love Ruth Reichel. I have Garlic and Sapphires and also Tender at the Bone – both brilliantly written.

    A Girl Has to Eat – When are you off to Italy? How exciting.

    Canelvr – Couldn’t get served at A Pie De Ma – how annoying. Clearly Riomaggiore is the hotspot of the Cinque Terre (although everything closed up by midnight each night so not quite so hot)

    Cinqueterre – thanks for the tip

  6. Anyone know the name of the house white wine they serve at Dau Cila? Really enjoyed and and trying to find the name of it.


  7. Hi there,
    I’m Enrico, the “stereotypically gregarious Italian”, I’ve just read this page and wanted to thank you for writing about 5 terre, I would also like to add a clarification: “Dau Cila” was there since a few years before your visit but, at that time, it was not a restaurant, it was just a wine bar. It opened as a restaurant, with new owners, in May 2009. Probably in 5 terre we really have a relaxed pace of life but not as relaxed as you might think.
    Thanks again

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