Dining in Italy: La Mola, Varazze

During our weekend in Italy we did not only stay in Turin to eat at Combal.Zero, but we also stayed at a friends’ house at the seaside in Varazze with an amazing seaview and the sound of the crashing waves lulling us to sleep. Her brother recommended La Mola just around the corner, and we liked it so much that we had dinner there the second evening as well. La Mola is the type of restaurant that you can find a lot in Italy: simple but good and honest food with friendly service for reasonable prices. Outside of touristy areas, most restaurants are like that in Italy. La Mola is slightly above average. Not worth travelling for, but certainly worth going to if you are in Varazze. It is always a good sign if the menu is only available in Italian (although at La Mola they did have English and French menus, they just hadn’t posted them outside since most of their patrons are Italian anyway). Given the location, it is not surprising that seafood is what you eat here (although they also have meat on the menu). A good bottle of local white wine is only 20 euros.

We really liked the fish antipasti. Cold cuts of smoked marlin with arugula, smoked tuna with tomato, and salmon with carrot. Served with good extra virgin olive oil and slices of lemon. Octopus carpaccio served with extra virgin olive oil, parsley, lemon and chopped fresh tomato.

The pasta dishes were good but not as good as the antipasti or secondi. We tried the spaghetti alle vongole (which seemed to be better on the first night, the second night had hardly any vongole ‘juice’ in it) and the artichoke ravioli with a walnut-cream sauce (with both the artichoke and the walnut slightly lacking in flavor).

The taglierini (fresh pasta cut very thin) with lobster was really good though.

The house specialty was very fresh seabream (orata), cooked in the oven with vegetables or in a crust of salt. The fish was filleted table-side, with one waiter being very good at this and thus doing this all evening.

The seabream with zucchini, carrots, peppers and olives was amazing. This is something I’ll try to make myself soon.

The home-made desserts were very good, with four types of tart, tiramisù and fresh strawberries to choose from.

We haven’t tried any other restaurants in Varazze, but we completely agree with our friend’s brother that La Mola is recommended for an uncomplicated but good Italian seafood dinner.

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