Portofino is one of the most special, romantic towns in the world, and the upscale piazzetta of this diminutive and colorful Ligurian fishing village teems with jet setters fresh off their yachts for a bite to eat or a stroll. The narrow alleyways off the bustling harbor wind through pink and yellow houses none of which were constructed after 1934. It is a town of immense unspoiled natural beauty, with a deeply old-world character, notwithstanding its decidedly 21st century prices.
Ristorante Delfino has a prime section of real estate on the harbor, with a panoramic view of both the piazzetta and the Tigullio Gulf. (The name means dolphin and is a reference to the ancient name of Portofino: Portus Delphini, or Porto Delfino.) Open since 1889, the restaurant serves decent Italian food and regional specialties, but the real attraction is the atmospheric setting and view. The Lugurian region is the birthplace of pesto, and almost every fine restaurant in this area serves a divine incarnation of it with a pasta dish, typically trofie al pesto, a Lugirian specialty that is composed of thin, hand-rolled tight twist pasta and Genova’s transcendental pesto sauce. Delfino’s Trofiette alla crema di pesto is a particularly fine incarnation. Sometimes the restaurant is chastised for being overpriced, which is both subjective given the ambience and frivolous if you have chosen to visit Portofino. Don’t decide to holiday in St. Tropez and then complain about your €50 club sandwich at La Terrasse.