Nessun Dorma in Cinque Terre: Is It Worth the Line?

There’s no doubt that the five colorful villages of Cinque Terre, located on Italy’s Ligurian coast, are one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

And while the Nessun Dorma restaurant in Manarola might not have the same degree of world fame, it is certainly popular enough for long lines to form outside it. But is it worth the wait?! Keep reading to find out!

Dinning at Nessum Dorma in Cinque Terre
My first visit to Nessun Dorma

For my trip to Cinque Terre, I decided to stay for two nights in one of the villages, to make sure I’d be able to see everything I wanted without feeling rushed. I ended up choosing Manarola.

Even though many people visit the 5 Terres on a day trip (and this is certainly possible), staying overnight in the village allowed me to see a different face of it, a face that only shows up after the crowds leave. And this is probably the main reason why Manarola is now my favorite Terre.

Not only that, but I also had more time to explore each village to my liking. So my recommendation is to follow in my footsteps and spend one or a few nights in the region if you can.

Nessun Dorma Cinque Terre
Having dinner again at Nessun Dorma

Nessun Dorma restaurant in Cinque Terre

Nessun Dorma is a small restaurant in Manarola with a picture-perfect view of the village as well as the Ligurian Sea. Their food is fairly simple (so don’t expect fine dining or anything like that), but delicious and they pride themselves on serving fresh local products (be warned that there’s no pizza or pasta on the menu though).

Honestly, my mouth still waters when I think of their Tri Colori bruschetta – one of their most requested options, which was the best I ever ate! And bear in mind that I’m not a gourmet person: I usually just see eating as something I need to do, rather than an enjoyable activity. So for me to say this, speaks millions.

Considering the incredible view and the tasty dishes, the restaurant quickly rose in popularity, so you’ll often see long queues outside it, especially around lunch and dinner time. And I think I already gave it away, but let’s state it clearly: yes, it’s totally worth waiting in line to eat at Nessun Dorma!

The seating at Nessun Dorma is all outside, but they provide shade (they have umbrellas at each table) and misting fans to keep you cool on hot summer days.

Drinking aperol at Nessum Dorma in Cinque Terre
Aperol is a popular drink in Italy

My experience at Nessun Dorma in Manarola

Since we spent 2 nights in Manarola we ended up dining twice at Nessun Dorma. While we had to wait in line each time, it luckily went pretty quickly (we visited in June) and we got a table on the right side of the restaurant on both occasions – we had the best views of Manarola’s colorful houses.

As a side note, I’ll mention that there are two rows of tables at the restaurant: the ones on the right side (as you enter) have a direct view of the village and are typically for 2 and sometimes 4 people.

The second row is located on the left side, near the rock wall and usually caters for larger parties. Therefore if you are part of a bigger group of people, it’s likely you’ll get a table on the 2nd row. You’ll still have a view, just that it will be interrupted by the first row of tables and its occupants.

During our first time at the restaurant, we ordered a meat platter for two with Aperol spritz (which is super popular in Italy), while on the second time, we got two types of bruschetta (one was the popular Tri Colore, which I totally recommend!) and sangria.

The food was more than enough for both me and my fiance and I felt the prices were reasonable considering the incredible view, the popularity of the restaurant, and how touristy the entire Cinque Terre region is.

The only downside is the fact that you won’t really be able to linger around after finishing your food if it’s still crowded, as you’ll feel the pressure of the people still waiting in line.

Don’t get me wrong, no one will signal you to leave, but I felt obliged to do so in order for others to have a table where they can eat as well.

Nessun Dorma, Manarola, Cinque Terre: Meat platter
Meat platter at Nessun Dorma

How to get a table

The Nessun Doma restaurant doesn’t accept reservations, rather they operate on a first-come-first-served basis.

To secure a spot in the virtual waiting line, you need to first download the Nessun Dorma app on your phone by scanning the QR code on their website (scroll down to “How to get a table”) – it’s best to do this when you have wifi access as it’s around 23 MB in size.

You can also get a ticket with a QR code at the bar, however, my advice is to install the app and get a spot in line before you actually get there, especially if you travel during the high season when the waiting times can be quite long.

When there are just a few people left in front of you (5-10) you should come closer to the entrance, since your number will get called soon. You can check the stories on the restaurant’s IG for live updates.

I will say that this system is pretty neat and allows for more people to be able to visit the restaurant as you can explore the village or enjoy the views of Manarola Overlook Viewpoint while technically waiting in line. So you won’t miss too much precious time on your visit.

Bruschetta at Nessum Dorma
We ordered two different bruschetta at Nessun Dorma

Other experiences to try at Nessun Dorma

The restaurant also offers a Pesto class during which you’ll learn to make the tasty green sauce. Lunch (meat and cheese or vegan/vegetarian options) and a small wine-tasting session are also included. The cost of the experience is 60 euros.

And if you’re a wine lover, you’ll be happy to know that they also offer a full wine-tasting experience for the price of 80 euros. You can find more details about both activities on their website.

Final thoughts

So if you are looking for one of the best views in Cinque Terre, delicious food, and an overall great Italian experience, then head to Nessun Dorma in Manarola! While you might need to wait a bit in line, I guarantee you that it’s totally worth it!


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