|Sicilian buffet (Photo credit: stijn)|
By James Iozia
Sicilian restaurants offer up some of the best cuisine in the world. Italy has always been known for its great food, and Sicilian food is no exception to this. And it isn't only the food that makes eating in a Sicilian restaurant a memorable experience, the leisurely way it is presented has made it into a high art. The approach to Sicilian eating is the grandest of the meeting of the ways between the best folk traditions and the best aristocratic ones. Sicilian cuisine reflects the unique and diverse cultural heritage taken from its history. Sicilian dining is an experience surely to be enjoyed.
Many restaurants in Palermo and other coastal towns focus on the seafood dishes. Although there are cheaper places to be found in the city, Palermo also offers some of the best Sicilian restaurants in the area. In Palermo, notable ones for the tourist to try are:
Il Ristorantino - hailed by Italian critics for its classic and authentic Sicilian and Mediterranean cuisine
La Scuderia - (located about 3 miles north of the city at the foot of Monte Pellegrino) this is dubbed as being Palermo's grandest restaurant with outstanding international and Italian cuisine
Il Mulinazzo - a highly acclaimed Sicilian restaurant offering an exquisite dining experience
Spinnato - this is a stylish, but affordable, café style restaurant offering tempting lunch dishes, such as bresaola (cured beef served with fresh endive and arugula with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese added) which is a timeless favorite
Cin-Cin - offering a serene setting located off the beaten track down a flight of steps between the Politeama Opera House and the Giardino Inglese (English Garden). The cuisine offerings are refined and in the aristocratic 'Baroque' style. It has a large wine list that includes many fine Sicilian vintages. One outstanding dish to enjoy is the beef fillet with urchin sauce.
Piazza Olivella - one of Palermo's most popular informal dining spots. This really is not just one Sicilian restaurant, but is comprised of about 15 places in and around the district square of Via Cavour, Via Roma, and Via Maqueda, near the Teatro Massimo.
In Taormina the discriminating tourist can also find some great Sicilian restaurants:
Gran Duca - located in a Baroque palazzo built up on medieval foundations, this restaurant offers exceptional seafood, an ample wine list and excellent service.
La Buca - a charming Sicilian restaurant offering an intimate setting and a varied menu. The outdoor terrace with the sea and mountains in view is exquisite.
Casa Grugno - deemed as being one of the most creative and exciting restaurants in Sicily with a modern take on Sicilian cuisine and superb international dishes
Borgo Antico - located near Taormina in Castelmola, this restaurant open only in summer offers fantastic views of Mount Etna and has a varied menu. The pasta with wild fennel and shrimp is a house specialty.
Other noteworthy restaurants in Taormina that the discriminating tourist may wish to try are: Dracena (open only in the warmer months), Gambero Rosso (a pizzeria that also serves beef, lamb and seafood), or Zammará (a traditional restaurant which offers local specialties).
If you are traveling to Catania, the best restaurants to visit here are:
Al Gabbiano - which serves remarkable seafood and fresh fish. This restaurant is located in the heart of Old Catania.
Osteria I Tre Bicchieri - dubbed as Catania's finest restaurant with its outstanding Continental cuisine. The chef's Mediterranean fish is a must to try.
Le Zagare - a Grand Hotel style dining experience set on the eastern coast of Sicily. Fine dining is offered with the best of Sicilian cuisine and a sampling of Continental dishes.
Metro - serving creative, traditional dishes amidst an elegant décor.
Siracusa Sicilian restaurant offerings include:
Trattoria Kalliope - in the Ortygia historical district with excellent seafood dishes served within a delightful, traditional setting
Don Camillo - exceptional, affordable dining within an impressive medieval structure. Extraordinary seafood and Sicilian recipes are creatively prepared.
Il Barocco - serving incomparable Sicilian seafood from the Ionian Sea set in a building converted from an 18th century stable block to a historic palace.
The above are only a sampling of the great Sicilian restaurants to be found in Sicily. Wherever you go in Sicily you are sure to find great seafood, with tuna, swordfish and red mullet forming a significant part of the island's traditional cuisine, as well as the fresh fruit and vegetables which the warm climate and rich soil encourages. And of course, the pasta dishes that are famous in all of Italy.
Sicilians have the gift of great food to offer to anyone visiting their island. Any Sicilian restaurant will reflect their talent for providing exceptional cuisine.
I have loved Sicily for as far back as I can remember and I return to this island paradise every chance I get. My grandparents came to America from this beautiful land in the early 1900's, bringing with them all the tradition and passion that is Sicily. From the beautiful beaches and Roman architecture, to the heavenly food and romantic charm, I hope you will come to love Sicily as much as I do! Stop by for a visit at http://www.beauty-and-romance-of-sicily.com
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