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Restaurants in Sicily

Al Fogher  

Angelo Treno at work.

Too many meals here and those mosaic gals in their bikinis will have to add new routines to their gym workout — the food is simply fabulous as are the mosaics nearby. Look for bounty from the forest, gnochetti (tiny dumplings) paired with porcini mushrooms and for a main course truffles and chiodini mushrooms to enhance braised veal. Or local Nebrode pork coated with Bronte pistachios and tuna bottarga. The wine cellar overflows, with over 500 wines to choose from. There's a tasting menu, too. Of his childhood, chef Angelo Treno writes, "I remember that my mother onlu cooked up only five or six dishes, but they were all rich and aromatic." Only five or six? Call ahead in August to ensure it's open. — Judy Edelhoff

Major Credit Cards  
Contrada Bellia, Piazza Armerina, IT-EN Map
Tel. 0935.684.123/339.157.9005
Closed Sundays


All-day cannoli.

An excellent bakery for everything from cannoli to morning brioches stuffed with watermelon jelly. — Monica Larner

Cash Only  
Via Emerico Amari, 64, Palermo, IT-PA Map
Tel. 091.323.062


Treats at an agriturismo.

Located in the Madonie Mountains between Palermo and Enna, this romantically secluded, family-run agriturismo only uses garden greens and vegetables. The caponata, a sweet and sour vegetable stew, and involtini are divine. Open daily but call ahead in winter months for closure dates. — Monica Larner

Major Credit Cards  
Polizzi Generosa, Polizzi Generosa, IT-PA Map
Tel. 0921.562.289
Open Daily

Duomo Ristorante  

Ciccio Sultano's graceful Duomo.

Chef Ciccio Sultano has a wide following thanks to his innovative dishes and excellent presentations: tuna cut from the stomach section grilled and layered on potato and onion above a sauce of pistachios; potato gnocchi filled with ragusano cheese accompanied by meatballs of seppia and pork, with calamaretti on the side — an excellent transition to a meat course; stuffed pork chop with chocolate sauce and a bean vellutina; almond pudding with carob ice cream. Menů degustazione starts at €100. No dinner on Sunday. Check for the holiday schedule. — Judy Edelhoff

Major Credit Cards  
Via Capitano Boccheri, 31, Ragusa, IT-RG Map
Tel. 0932.651.265
Closed Mondays

Il Ristorantino  

Pippo Anastasio: the owner tastes the wine..

A traditional restaurant with a consciously upscale, sophisticated approach to Sicilian cuisine, Il Ristorantino, located in a residential neighborhood, represents a new wave of Sicilian places that try to break the heavy-food mold while introducing Manhattan-L.A. style creative chic. Francesco Inzerillo mixes ancient and modern with aplomb (lobster-meat filled tortellini with pacchini; mackerel with caper sauce). Prices are steep, and that’s divided some local critics who say owner Pippo Anastasio is only pandering to deep pockets. “Stay away from this place," blogged a Palermo food-lover in 2008, "unless you’re interested in all things not having to do with food." Part of this is resistance to change and part a reflection on the enduring Palermo class divide. But you can’t begrudge Inzerillo his talent. Book ahead. Closed for two weeks in August. — Judy Edelhoff

Major Credit Cards  
Piazzale Alcide De Gasperi, 19, Palermo, IT-PA Map
Tel. 091.512.861
Closed Mondays

La Scuderia  

A stable for shakers...

Power brokers hold court in a light, airy room where white-jacketed waiters anticipate desires, which might include one of the 500 wines on the list. As discrete and elegant as the stadium next door is noisy and crowded during soccer games. Lovely food presentations. Shrimp was lightly battered and fried to perfection. Look for tradition with a few innovations. Nice terrace for outdoor dining in summer. — Judy Edelhoff

Major Credit Cards  
Viale Del Fante, 9, Palermo, IT-PA Map
Tel. 091.520.323
Closed Sundays

Mi Manda Picone  

Someone sent them...

In the 1984 Naples crime "comedy" (directed by Nanni Loy, with Giannini and Lina Sastri) Salvatore cribs Mafia girl's Lucella Picone’s notebook and transforms himself into an enforcer. If you take one look at coowners Antonella Bonanno and Sandro Tatŕno you get the joke. The enoteca-restaurant, founded in 1999, produces a lovely jumble of dishes (for example sashimi mediterraneo, flan di melanzane con salsa verde, provolone dolce in crosta con miele di timo — thyme honey) and offers hundreds of Sicilian wines. If you want heartier fare, there’s swordfish with black pepper and capers, as well as steak. Be aware that there’s a fine Palermo wine retailer called "Picone" that’s unconnected. — Katrina Maiano

Major Credit Cards  
Via Alessandro Paternostro, 59, Palermo, IT-PA Map
Tel. 091.616.0660
Closed Sundays

Osteria Altri Tempi  

Old times, good times...

Cometh cannoli! And in Palermo! This place is a joy for no other reason than it's resistance to fad. Maybe resistance is its own fad. Sabastiano Salanitro serves Palermo food with gusto. Go figure fave a cunigghiu (fava beans orgenano, garlic, and oil) or vampaciucia c'anciova, which sounds like a vampire sneeze but is actually pasta with anchovies and grapes. There’s also melanzana caponata. The crowd under the arched ceilings is often composed of Sicilian talking the talk. This is no gourmet paradise but a joyous little find nonetheless. There’s a €20 prix fix menu (wine, water, antipasto, and heaping portions). One Italian recently said it all: Si mangia veramente bene. Si mangiano i piatti tipici siciliani. Si spende poco.What else do you need to know? Closed Sunday in August and then for a stretch between mid-August and mid-September. — Katrina Maiano

Via Sammartino, 65, Palermo, IT-PA Map
Tel. 091.323.480
Open Daily

Osteria dei Vespri  

Men behind the vespers.

An excellent wine list, lovely service, and a cozy rustic atmosphere with create cuisine make for a sublime meal— and one of downtown Palermo’s best. Begin with raw fish, move on to anneletti (pasta rings) with Nero d’Avola sauce. Desserts are lovely. Diners on a budget can enjoy wines and sample dishes at the bar. A sommelier helpfully guides the undecided. Menu on the website. Closed for two weeks in August. — Judy Edelhoff

Major Credit Cards  
Piazza Croce dei Vespri, 6, Palermo, IT-PA Map
Tel. 091.617.1631
Closed Sundays

Pasticceria San Carlo  

And if you get dizzy, sweets are nearby.

Nestled deep within the hilltop hamlet of Erice, near Trapani, is this bijou bakery. Erice, home to an ancient temple to Venus, is famous for its sugary treats and you’ll find an array of wonderful desserts here. — Monica Larner

Cash Only  
Via San Domenico, 18, Erice, IT-TP Map
Tel. 0923.869.390

Porto Bello  

Salina's island delights.

Located on the island of Salina (in the Aeolian group with Stromboli and Lipari), this is one of the best restaurants in southern Italy, hands down: pasta with swordfish, chopped mint and roasted red pepper; fish carpaccio doused in lemon and sweet onions cut paper thin; and calamaretti alla Malvasia, or baby squid stuffed with breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic a pinch of pecorino cheese and sautéed in Malvasia wine with caramelized onion. Actually on Via Bianchi. Call ahead. — Monica Larner

Via Risorgimento, Santa Marina Salina, IT-ME Map
Tel. 090.984.3125
Closed Mondays

Ristorante Cin Cin  

Cin Cin's kitchen.

Versatile chef Lucia prepares traditional Palermo dishes (bavettine con ostriche in salsetta al limone, oysters and lemon sauce), researches 19th century Baroque recipes (filetti di pesce del giorno al miele, limone e pistacchi, honey, lemon and pistachios), or with advance notice can even conjure a Cajun meal (The owners once owned a Baton Rouge, Louisiana restaurant, which means you can get oysters Rockefeller and chicken gumbo.). Vincezo guides with the perfect wines to complement them. Service is friendly, jazz is vintage, and the interior comfortable. — Judy Edelhoff

Major Credit Cards  
Via Manin, 22, Palermo, IT-PA Map
Tel. 091.612.4095
Closed Sundays

Ristorante Graziano  

Melanzane flan.

Formerly called Il Mulinazzo, this excellent rural place (about an hour from Palermo) is run by Adriano and Francesco Graziano who offer interpretations of Sicilian classics. Pesto alla Trapanese is a modified version of the same dish with fried fish, potato, basil pesto and a potato "basket." The fish seems 10-minutes plucked from the sea. The restaurant took a hit in 2005, when brother Nino Graziano, the only two Michelin star chef south of Sorrento, took off for Moscow. Still, Nino left his stamp. The macco (purée of fava beans) is still around and remains a testament of the transformation of the food of the destitute into a delicacy. — Monica Larner

Major Credit Cards  
Villafrati, Villafrati, IT-PA Map
Tel. 091.872.4870
Closed Mondays

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