Sicily: Unforgettable dining experiences

October 15th 2013 by Kate Bailward

Sicily Travel GuideSicily Travel Guide

 

Places to eat in Sicily

Sicily may be a small island, but food is important here and there are hundreds of good places to eat, from the no-frills street-food stalls of Palermo and Catania, to unpretentious trattorie, osterie and agriturismi. And then there are the high-end restaurants. The ones with elegant dining rooms, refined modern food and Michelin stars. So, if you're looking to push the boat out for a special occasion, we've picked five (and a bonus one) of the chic-est, most sought-after places to eat on the island. Buon appetito!

Best Restaurants in SicilyBest Restaurants in Sicily

Photo Credits: Trip Advisor

La Madia - Corso Filippo Re Capriata, Licata - tel. 0922 771443
Widely regarded as one of the best restaurants on Sicily, La Madia - which, appropriately, means a large cupboard where all manner of wonderful things are kept - was opened in 2000 by Pino Cuttaia and his wife, Loredana. Cuttaia was born on Sicily, but moved as a child to the north of Italy. After working in various Michelin-starred restaurants in the north, and dreaming of Sicily, he came back to his roots in Licata and set up La Madia. The restaurant has not one but two coveted Michelin stars and seats only 40 people, so booking is advised.
Closed all day Tuesday and on Sunday evenings.

Best Restaurants in SicilyBest Restaurants in Sicily

Photo Credits: Lee Marshall

Al Fogher - C.da Bellia SS117 bis, Piazza Armerina - tel. 0935 684123
Chef Angelo Treno's philosophy is one of simplicity. His ideas of cooking were formed early, as he watched his mother making only five to six dishes, but making them well, concentrating on flavours rather than flourishes. It's a philosophy that he's taken forward into his own recipes, where he strives towards what he terms pyramid cooking - where the 'pyramid' is the finished dish combining all the flavours, ingredients and colours present in the recipe. Again, the restaurant is small, so booking is advised.
Closed Sunday evenings and all day Monday.

Best Restaurants in SicilyBest Restaurants in Sicily

Photo Credits: Trip Advisor

Duomo - Via Capitano Bocchieri 31, Ragusa Ibla - tel. 0932 651265
At Duomo, the emphasis is on modern innovation, while retaining an element of tradition. Sicilian cuisine, coming as it does from so many influences (Sicani, Roman, Arabic, French, Spanish and English at the last count!) has a complexity that is ideally suited to this philosophy, and Chef Ciccio Sultano makes the most of it. In his own words: "Creare un piatto è come improvvisare nel jazz: puoi rifarlo mille volte, ma rispecchia sempre emozioni e umori di quel momento". (Creating a dish is like improvising in jazz: you can do it again a thousand times, but it will always take on the feelings and emotions of that moment.)
Open every evening, as well as Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday lunchtimes.

Best Restaurants in SicilyBest Restaurants in Sicily

Photo Credits: Trip Advisor

La Gazza Ladra - Via Blandini 11, Modica Alta - tel. 0932 755655
Decorated in black and white, like the magpie after which it's named, this restaurant deals in contradictions - and in uniting them. So traditional cuisine is given a modern touch in an historic palazzo building with elegant new interiors. Chef David Tamburini pulls together fresh, raw ingredients with his knowledge of world cooking and creates something wonderful.
Open Tuesday to Friday evenings, as well as lunchtime at weekends.

Best Restaurants in SicilyBest Restaurants in Sicily

Photo Credits: Trip Advisor

Osteria dei Vespri - Piazza Croce dei Vespri, 6. Palermo - tel. 091 6171631
Osteria dei Vespri bills itself as an enoteca with a kitchen - and with 650 different wines in its cellars, you can see why. That's not to diminish the food, however, which is elegant, traditional Sicilian with a modern eye. It isn't hard to understand why this is one of the most popular restaurants in Palermo. Situated in a corner of the famous Palazzo Gangi, where the ballroom scene of Il Gattopardo was set, the surroundings are elegantly formal, while the welcome is warm and friendly.
Closed Sundays.

Best Restaurants in SicilyBest Restaurants in Sicily

Photo Credits: Trip Advisor

Nangalarruni - Via delle Confraternite, 7, Castelbuono - tel. 0921 671428
It may not have a Michelin star like the other offerings on our list, but Nangalarruni is more than worth a visit. It specialises in local foods of the Madonie mountain region, so you can expect an emphasis on mushroom dishes and meat, along with goat's cheese, home-made pasta, local olive oil and vegetables. The dining room is bucolically welcoming, and the wine list, born out of owner Giuseppe Carollo's passion for the same, impressive, with more than 600 labels.
Closed Wednesdays.

Take a look to our previous posts about the best restaurants in Milan, restaurants in Venice restaurants in Rome, restaurants in and around Amalfi, restaurants in Florence and the best Italian Restaurants in the most charming Hotels.

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Sicily: Unforgettable dining experiences