It may be compact in size, but Forte dei Marmi boasts some of the top restaurants in the whole of Italy...
One of the most beautiful places to eat in Italy has to be the Tuscan coastal town of Forte dei Marmi, just south of the Cinque Terre, in the area known as Versilia.
Its popularity with travelers started at the tail end of the 18th century when wealthy families came out from the cities to take in the healthy sea air. It’s still a haven for stars and celebrities – Andrea Boccelli has a villa there and dozens of films have been shot in its quaint streets. For a town with a population of around 8,000, there are no fewer than five Michelin-starred restaurants! They help to serve a population that triples in summer as tourists head out to enjoy the golden beaches and some of the best dining to be concentrated in one small town anywhere in Europe.
Along with fine dining comes designer shopping, with one of the most exclusive street markets imaginable taking place every week in the Piazza Guglielmo Marconi, where you can buy discounted designer clothes, leather goods and cashmere.
The beautiful beaches are dotted with private beach clubs, many of which have excellent dining and all of which guarantee a certain amount of exclusivity. But the jewels in Forte dei Marmi’s crown have to be its Michelin restaurants, which head our list of the nicest places to eat in the Tuscan sunshine.
1. Il Parco di Villa Grey
Set in the private grounds of a beautiful villa, now a four-star hotel, this smart restaurant boasts a Michelin star and a menu by chef Roberto Monopoli offering high-end contemporary cuisine. Dine in a glass-walled space amid beautiful greenery and lovely views.
Sitting on the seafront, smart and elegant Bistrot boasts an impressive seafood menu and a Michelin star to go with it. It boasts an old pizza oven that is now used to bake bread (the focaccia is amazing) and also to cook some of the fish dishes. Dine à la carte or try one of the carefully curated tasting menus.
Opened by chef Lorenzo Viani in 1981, this impressive and elegant seafood restaurant boasts a Michelin star and a big reputation.The cuisine includes both classic and contemporary seafood dishes which, together with excellent service, make for a memorable fine-dining experience.
4. Lux Lucis
If beautiful surroundings were awarded Michelin stars, Lux Lucis would probably have a hatful, but Chef Valentino Cassanelli does have one shining star for his creative cuisine. The light and airy restaurant sits on the rooftop terrace of the smartly contemporary Hotel Principe Forte dei Marmi, offering stunning views towards the sea in one direction and the Apuan Alps in the other. In 2020 the venue was nominated Luxury Rooftop Restaurant for the European continent by World Luxury Restaurant Awards.
5. La Magnolia
This smart restaurant sits just meters from the sea within the historic villa that houses the five-star Byron Hotel. It has a Michelin star for its Mediterranean menu, served at the poolside in spring and summer, or indoors if required.
6. Pesce Baracca
This buzzy restaurant does not actually have a Michelin star but has an honorable mention in their guide for its vibrant atmosphere, high quality and unusual concept. It operates in three phases per day: as a fish market in the morning, as a lunchtime diner – or choose your fish, have it cooked for you and take it home – and then in the evening it transforms into a more formal restaurant. Fish does not get any fresher than this.
For lovers of sea and sand, Gilda is a beach club, restaurant and guest house set right on the shore, with a whitewashed clapboard decor featuring natural materials, fresh flowers and a covered terrace for shelter on the hottest days. The menu is Tuscan and Mediterranean with an emphasis on fresh seafood, but also offers meat, pasta and pizza dishes.
Small, almost canteen-like, and with simple decor, Japanese restaurant Kooka nevertheless offers sushi and sashimi, using the fresh fish that pours into the town daily. It’s open for lunch and dinner, with outdoor and indoor seating.
9. Filippo Forte dei Marmi
Fresh from running a popular restaurant in Pietrasanta, Filippo Di Bartola opened in Forte dei Marmi with a contemporary-style trattoria offering both traditional and modern dishes, and pizzas from the wood-fired oven.
10. Pozzo di Bugia
Owner Gaio Giannelli has created an authentic trattoria with a cozy interior that in summer opens into an attractive garden with olive trees. Pastas, grilled meats and fish dishes are all mouthwatering as are the desserts – do try the persimmon purée and chocolate parfait with black cherry.
11. Alpemare Forte dei Marmi
This exclusive luxury beach club is owned by the Boccelli family and Andrea is often seen taking his lunch there. The fine-dining restaurant offers cuisine of a high standard and the service is impeccable.
12. Marechiaro Beach Restaurant
Bagno Marechiaro is a beach club and restaurant with top-class dining options from resident chef Vincenzo Martella. Sit on the shady terrace or right out on the beach and enjoy a fine-dining menu using both local seafood and Tuscan specialities.
– My LA by MCC co-founder Sara Khaled
– Your favorite New York restaurants spring 2022
– London’s hottest new restaurants spring 2022
– Jeddah’s 9 best restaurants, according the MCC members
– Riyadh’s best brunches, according to our members
– Riyadh’s 10 best restaurants according to MCC members
– 8 best London restaurants for al fresco dining