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Sea Urchins in Cinque Terre/Amalfi/Naples

My family is going to Italy from April to May, starting in Milan and ending in Naples.

My dad really wants to try sea urchin, but not in pasta. I’ve been looking and looking… are there restaurants that serve it this way? Can we go to the fish market? It’s one thing he really, really wants to do.

We’re staying in Salerno, but plan to visit Sorrento, Amalfi, Atrani, Ravello, Positano, and Vietri Sul Mare (and Capri, on a boat tour. We'll have three hours on the island)

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
9605 posts

A quick google revealed they are found in Sicily, Puglia, Naples but in the winter months. Hopefully you can find some for your father.

Posted by
1508 posts

We've had a pasta dish made with sea urchin in Marina di Carrara, north Tuscany. Underwhelming - sea urchin is a subtle flavor and it was totally hidden when in combination with other flavors. For that reason, I think most are usually eaten raw, but I personally wouldn't take that gastric risk on a short vacation. Take Dad to a decent Japanese restaurant before your trip.
How to, from Puglia:

Posted by
5606 posts

Urchin season ends on 15 April in France, 30 April in Italy apparently.
So, I would try them as soon as you arrive, in Milan! Google "Ricci(o) di mare" (Italian for urchins/urchin) and you'll find a few places that will hopefully still serve them this late in the season.

I've had urchins a few times before. They're expensive (as expensive as the best of best oysters, several € a piece) and there's not much to eat in each one, but they taste like seafood on steroids, packed with the taste of the sea. Vaguely reminiscent of oysters but the texture is paste-like (almost spreadable, at least around Christmas) and the taste has a much stronger umami component. I absolutely love seafood, and urchins are almost too strong for me.

Posted by
6365 posts

I would think he could find this at a high-end Japanese or Korean restaurant near his home, in case you don't find it in Italy.

Posted by
428 posts

Hello claque_rosters0i,

Sea urchin is a favorite along the Adriatic east coast of Italy but is also available in the south so you can ask in CT but your best bet is probably along the Amalfi coast. From googling it looks like the commercial fishing season ends in May so it should still be available when you are there for the first part.

Here's one place serving it:

Frankly on the Amalfi coast you'll probably pay a premium for it but that true of the everything on the coast. I'd ask in Salerno and maybe check out the fish market and see if they know or know who's been buying it.

If your searching isn't finding also try searching the Italian Riccio di mare.

I'm sure it will work out for you and your dad, have fun searching for it.

Posted by
9391 posts

I see them in the markets right now. They are usually eaten with a spoon out of the shell. That's getting late for safe consumption.