EXCEPTIONAL EATERIES | Portofino | Ristorante Puny

EXCEPTIONAL EATERIES | Portofino | Ristorante Puny

One of the (many) perks of working on "The Brian Boitano Project" for HGTV, was the opportunity to eat at some fabulous restaurants in Italy.  Brian, besides being an Olympic gold medal-winning skater, is a fantastic chef, with his finger on the pulse of the best restaurants. Ristorante Puny is a Portofino landmark, and eating there, side by side with the locals, was one of my most memorable culinary experiences. The charming Da Puny sits in a prime position in "la piazzetta" in the picturesque Italian Riviera town of Portofino. Check out this view...and that's not even the best part of this restaurant. The fresh seafood and homemade pasta are out of this world. The half-moon harbor is lined with timeworn houses in shades of pink and yellow (no new houses have been built since 1935), built into the mountains that border the Ligurian coast. Traditionally a tiny fishing village, Portofino is now known as an exclusive hideaway for the jet-setter crowd. (Richard Burton first proposed to Elizabeth Taylor here, on a break from filming "Cleopatra" in Rome.) The fish here is superb.  Puny's signature dishes are Ligurian seafood specialties including baked fish with bay leaves, potatoes, and olives, and branzino al sale (sea bass baked in salt). All of the fish is expertly filleted at the table. I've always found it fascinating to watch how they carefully separate the delicate fillets from the bones of the fish. This is my dinner. (Listen to the festive atmosphere in the restaurant.)
You must also try the unforgettable Pappardelle al Portofino: large, flat noodles with a sauce of tomato and pesto. It was so yummy, I forgot to photograph it before I ate it! That doesn't happen very often! Not surprisingly, reservations are essential.  Plan ahead...you won't want to miss this one. Ristorante Puny P. Martiri dell'Olivetta 5, Portofino, Italy Phone: +39 0185 269037
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