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Il Timone

Pizzerie / Restaurants

Via Olivo, 29, 19025, Portovenere (SP) – (+39) 347 2601008 – (+39) 0187 914595
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Il Timone: flavors of Liguria

 

Pizzeria and Restaurant in Porto Venere

 

The History

 

Il Timone was established in 1960 when all there was in Porto Venere was a one-way street: you went down along it and came back up along it, too. There was no road nor marina in front of Il Timone, only the rocks and the sea, and a little path you could take from the piazzetta.

At that time, when my father Marino and my mother Toni opened this seafront restaurant, you could almost touch the water with your feet, and it was just the beginning of a fantastic story. I, too, became part of Il Timone: at first, I followed my parents’ lead, and then I simply fell in love with this restaurant and this job.

Today, Il Timone is home to the third generation: my two sons are as passionately crazy about this place, and this business, as I am! So today, as you can see when you come to visit, Il Timone is a combination of all of this: a rich history, and a long journey that leads to me and my children, all part of a fabulous family tale!

 

Antonella and her vision

 

My name is Antonella, and I’m at the helm of Il Timone.
Our restaurant was founded by my family in 1960 – not exactly yesterday – and I was born a few years after that. At the time, the sea waves came up to where our outdoor tables are now. I’ve always offered typical, regional, local cuisine, but not because it was fashionable to do so. Back then, in the 1960s and 1970s, it was customary for restaurants to serve the same typical local dishes we all enjoyed at home.
To this day, we still focus on dishes rooted in my father’s historical recipes, enriched with a slightly more contemporary presentation. Our restaurant provides patrons with a variety of options: breakfast from 10:30 am, then lunch, seafront afternoon snacks, drinks and aperitifs starting at 5:30 pm, and finally dinner. Facing the sea, it offers a splendid view of Palmaria Island. At Il Timone you can treat yourself to a lush dinner and great wines, or just drop in after dinner for a glass of excellent Passito and one of our daily homemade desserts.

– Antonella

 
 

Our philosophy

 
 

Il Timone isn’t a restaurant, Il Timone is: “Il Timone: flavors of Liguria”. What do I mean? At Il Timone, you take a seat and discover our region’s scents and aromas: the flavors that stem from our family heritage and tradition.

To this day, we uphold this legacy. And we do it so faithfully and proudly that we have elderly customers/grandparents who often, and gladly, bring their grandchildren here to try the stuffed anchovies. They’re made according to the original recipe, so they taste exactly like those that the kids who came to my father’s place used to eat. The grandparents want the grandchildren to taste them because “it’s a can’t-miss experience.”

To us, innovation means finding the inspiration for a new dish but preparing it with typical, and locally-sourced, products. Our vegetable garden in Porto Venere provides us with fresh, seasonal, tasty produce, and this feeds our craving for innovation.

Rewind to the 1960s, when Il Timone first opened. It was the era of the Tavola Calda, Italy’s version of the very first fast-food diners. I’m not sure how many of you really recall what these were really like. An Italian Tavola Calda was an informal eatery somewhere in between a restaurant and a deli, where one could buy takeaway home-cooked meals. Lasagna and stuffed vegetables, for instance, were Tavola Calda classics.

So what happened in the 1960s? My parents turned Il Timone, a traditional Tavola Calda, into a restaurant and pizzeria, a fashionable “formula” at the time, but very restrictive from my point of view. How on earth can you capture such marvelous and extensive concepts as restaurant hospitality and Italian cuisine (which includes pasta with pesto, pizza, and tiramisu!) and shut them into sterile labels like “restaurant” and “pizzeria”?!

This is why we chose to define ourselves as “Il Timone: flavors of Liguria”. This phrase embraces and includes all the beautiful Italian and Ligurian products we prepare and serve, from those that come to the table hot from the oven to those we lovingly concoct on the kitchen stove.

 

Flavours of Liguria

 

Traditional recipes are what inspire our dishes. We use fresh, seasonal raw ingredients from the sea and farmland to make them, and enhance their luscious flavors by adding the balmy herbs and greens we grow in our vegetable garden.

“Oven” is a vibrant and all-embracing word that comprises traditional baked Ligurian staples, as well as our signature pizzas. These are made with love and handpicked ingredients, combined with Antonella’s skilled technique and her commitment to researching and mastering the art of leavening. Stone-ground Italian chickpea farinata, focaccias made with a selection of choice stone-ground grains sourced from quality-controlled supply chains, and pizzas, alongside premium cheese and cured meats, play the leading role.

The wine treasured in our cellar matches our typical cuisine to perfection, creating an exceptional blendOur wine list showcases bottles made with Vermentino, Bosco, and Albarola grapes and is linked to local wineries. The choice is always up to Antonella, who, like many others, does love good wine. The labels we select are an essential element that rounds up our culinary offer: typical and deeply-rooted in our land.
 
Il Timone is a place where one can share pleasant moments and enjoy typical dishes with a contemporary twist. Our day starts at 10:30 am, with a sweet breakfast, and continues with lunch, a can’t-miss chance to savor authentic tradition. In the afternoon, you can have a seafront snack regardless of the weather: our veranda is a warm and comfy shelter in winter too! You can savor a glass of wine as an aperitif, lose yourself in the view of the deep blue sea, and immerse yourself in the flavors of our homegrown vegetables, seafood, crispy focaccia, pizza, and farinata. Dinner crowns our tasty days, and we provide takeaways for those who’d rather enjoy a private picnic. We also organize wine tasting, local product sampling, and cooking classes.

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    Via Olivo, 29, 19025, Portovenere (SP)

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