Tyrrhenian Coast

CEFALU’ La Brace

Via XXV Novembre 10, 90015 Tel 0921-423 570

At this restaurant near the Cathedral, you can enjoy local specialities like stuffed aubergines. Ethnic theme nights on Wednesdays offer Spanish paella, while on Fridays the menu includes cous cous mezzo Tunisino (half Tunisian), the other half being the chef’s own interpretation. Mostly Sicilian wines. Closed Mon; Christmas.

CEFALU’ Taverna del Presidente

Via Lungomare G. Giardina 163, 90015 Tel 0921-921 359

On Cefalù seafront, this restaurant offers views of the sea and the town, as well as terrace dining in warm weather. The fish, meat and vegetables are all locally sourced. Try the cod salad with citrus fruit, fish carpaccio (thin, raw slices) pappardelle (wide pasta ribbons) with rabbit and wild asparagus, tuna steak or braised pork. Closed Tue.

MILAZZO Piccolo Casale

Via R. D’Amico 12, 98057 Tel 090-922 479

This former 19th century country home is tastefully furnished and inviting. On the menu are mostly fresh local fish and vegetables, with some meat options, and imaginative pasta dishes like cocoa ravioli filled with ricotta and almonds. There are over 800 wines on the list. Summer terrace dining takes place among the rooftops of Milazzo. Closed Mon.

MONDELLO Caflisch

Viale Regina Margherita di Savoia 2, 90151 Tel 091-684 04 44

Palermo’s most outstanding patisserie is also one of Sicily’s undisputed best. They also serve an informal express lunch and diners can experience the pleasure of eating under the trees near Mondello beach. In the summer, don’t miss the sublime gelo di melone (watermelon gel). Extensive wine list. Closed Tue in winter.

MONDELLO Sapori di Mare

Via Mondello 52, 90151 Tel 091-684 06 23

Right in the midst of Mondello’s beach scene, near the aquamarine sea, is the fish restaurant. Its signature dish is linguine with lobster, but other delicious specialities include ravioli stuffed with fish and topped with shrimps or lobster sauce, fish cous cous, seafood risotto and spaghetti with sea urchins. Closed Tue winter.

MONDELLO Bye Bye Blues

Via del Garofalo 23, 90149 Tel 091-684 14 15

The excellent, refined food made here receives national attention. A main course may take the shape of pasta with sea urchins and purèed fava, potato and basil pie with fish soup, pork with onion marmalade, or snapper with lemon marmalade. Exquisite pistachio cake or ice cream. Closed lunch except holidays.

MONREALE La Botte 1962

SS 186 km 10, Contrada Lenzitti 20, Monreale, 90046 Tel 091-414 051

Plan your visit to this well-stocked wine shop in advance if you wish to dine here: they serve food only at lunchtime on Sunday and during the holidays. Regional fare, based on fish and meat, is highlighted. As you would expect, the wines are always superbly matched to the food on offer to enhance the flavours. Closed Mon-Thu; Jun-20 Sep.

PALERMO Trattoria il Maestro del Brodo

Via Pannieri 7, 90133 Tel 091- 329 523

At the entrance of the Vucciria street market is this economical hole-in-the-wall eatery, where the “master of broth” specializes in boiled veal. The most popular pasta dish on the menu is made with swordfish, tiny shrimps and courgette (zucchini). Fish is served fried, grilled or poached in seawater. Closed dinner except Fri and Sat; Mon.

PALERMO Antica Focacceria San Francesco

Via Alessandro Paternostro 58, 90133 Tel 091-320 264

Fragrant breads lure patrons into this historic, lively bakery opposite the San Francesco Church. Traditional dishes include sfinciuni (stuffed flat bread), u pani ca’ meusa (a type of stuffed bread) and lightly fried panelle (fritters made from chickpea flour). A good place to pick up a meal to take away. Closed Tue.

PALERMO Capricci di Sicilia

Via istituto Pignatelli 6, at Piazza Sturzo, 90139 Tel 091-327 777

Near the Galleria d’Arte Moderna and the Teatro Politeama, this trattoria is handy for lunch after visiting the museum or for dinner before or after a theatre performance. Most dishes revolve around meat and fish, and are traditionally Sicilian, sometimes with an elaborate, innovative twist. Closed 2 weeks Aug.

PALERMO Hanami

Via Alessandro Paternostro 56, 90133 Tel 091-320 264

At this Palermo stylish restaurant, you can dine on sushi and other international food trends that inspire the chef. Interesting seating areas, nice lighting and stylish architectural details attract Palermo’s smart set for drinks and nibbles at the bar, or for a complete meal. The tables outside have a view of San Francesco Church. Closed Tue.

PALERMO Mi Manda Picone

Via Alessandro Paternostro 59, 90133 Tel 091-616 06 60

When its neighbour Hanami is filled to overflowing, this restaurant-wine shop is an easy back-up option. Mi Manda Picone does catering around Palermo, for large groups as well as private residences. One of its specialities is the degustazione, a wine-tasting menu that is matched to particular dishes on the menu. Closed Sun.

PALERMO Osteria dei Vespri

Piazza Croce dei Vespri 6, 90133 Tel 091-617 16 31

Once the historic Gangi Palace stables, this cosy restaurant balances exceptional cusine and lovely presentations with attentive service and a great wine list. The superb raw fish, the anelletti (pasta rings) with octopus and Nero d’Avola sauce, or the sublime desserts. There is also a generous selection of premium wines by the glass. Closed sun.

PALERMO Santandrea

Piazza Sant’Andrea 4, 90133 Tel 091-334 999

The interior of this restaurant near the Vucciaria street market is all calm, neutral tones and simple lines – a striking contrast to the Baroque square outside and the colours of the market. Focus is on traditional cusine, from antipasti to pasta and fish. Santandrea attracts a well-dressed crowd. Closed lunch; Tue; Jan.

PALERMO Pasticceria Mazzara

Via Generale Magliocco19, 90141 Tel 091-321366

Located near the Massimo Theatre, this lovely patisserie with its attractive bars is known primarily for its sweets. However they also serve a basic, economical lunch from 12.30pm to 3pm: it includes oven-baked pastas, salads and traditional Sicilian dishes. Try the pastries or the pistachio gelato for dessert. Open at 7.30am.

PALERMO Ai Vecchietti

Piazza S Oliva 10, 90141 Tel 091-585 606

The gregarious owner sets the friendly tone here. Mixed antipasti feature panelle and olives. Try the pappardelle cantalupo (wide pasta ribbons with cantaloupe melon and prawns) or the squid, which is fried expertly and lightly. The 18th century cassata recipe was procured from cloistered nuns. Folk music plays in the background.

PALERMO Cin-Cin Ristorante

Via Manin 22, 90139 Tel 091-612 40 95

Vintage jazz plays softly in this warm, beige restaurant where the elaborate 18th century Baroque dishes have intriguing pungent notes. Try the fettuccine with fresh oysters, and the perfectly cooked vegetables. Authentic Cajun meals can also be prepared (only on advance request) – the chef spent 20 years in Baton Rouge. Closed Sat Lunch.

PALERMO Cucina Papoff

Via Isidoro La Lumia 32, 90139 Tel 091-586 460

In this elegant place with ceiling’s intricate woodwork and well-dressed crowd of professionals and aristocrats you will receive attentive service. Popular dishes include purèe of fava beans, linguine with red mullet, risotto with citrus fruit, a casseruola of tiny meatballs, plus meat or fish dishes. Closed Sat lunch, Sun; Aug.

PALERMO Pasticceria Bar Aluia

Via Libertà 27, 90139 Tel 091-583 087

Sweets are this patisserie’s primary business, but at lunchtime Aluia also offers hot meals of oven-baked pasta, vegetables and other options. Local office workers and shoppers come for the low prices and traditional fare. By late afternoon the pasta disappears, and it’s back to the pastry-and-coffee clientele. Closed Mon.

PALERMO La Dispensa dei Monsù

Via Principe di Villafranca 59, 90141 Tel 091-609 04 65

A French chef (Monsù) and a well-stocked pantry (dispensa) were obligatory in any Sicilian noble household. Here you will find excellent cheeses: fresh ricotta with pistachios, caprino robiola (goat cheese), piacentu ennese (cheese with saffron and peppercorn), pecorino ubriaco (wine-aged cheese), plus Sicilian prosciutto and salami, and pasta dishes.

PALERMO La Tonnara

Piazza Tonnara 18, Arenella, 90142 Tel 091-363 055

The name of this restaurant in the tiny Arenella harbour indicates that tuna is the main speciality, although other fish and seafood are also on the menu. Dishes such as ravioli filled with grouper or crabmeat are worth the trip out of town. Local wine is available by the carafe; other wines, by the bottle. Closed Tue in winter.

PALERMO Il Ristorantino

Piazzale de Gasperi 19, 90146 Tel 091-512 861

Expect a new take on Sicilian cusine in “the little restaurant” near the Parco della Favorita. Squid is served with salt and basil as an appetizer; maltagliati (irregular shaped pasta) might have a sauce of bitter chocolate, aubergine and swordfish; fish might come in a potato crust with cous cous on the side. Closed Mon; early Jan, Aug.

PALERMO La Scuderia

Via del Fante 9, 90146 Tel 091-520 323

The light open room, wood panel walls and fireplace offer understated comfort in this haven for power brokers. Tradition reigns with some innovations, food presentations are lovely and there are 500 wines on the list. The stadium is next door, so make sure your arrival does not coincide with the football match (the restaurant staff will advise). Closed Sun.

SANTA CRISTINA GELA Baglio di Pianetto

Contrada Pianetto, scorrimento veloce, Santa Cristina Gela, 90030 Tel 091-857 00 02

Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, the Baglio di Pianetto winery opened this eatery in 2006. The chef’s bounty comes from nearby fields and farms – lightly fried wild borage, lamb in delicate sauce, wild salad greens. You can sample the winery’s excellent Merlot, Nero d’Avola, Viognier and other wines in the wine-tasting room. Book ahead.

SFERRACAVALLO Il delfino

Via Torretta 80, 90148 Tel 091-530 282

A short ride west of Mondello, this restaurant is known for it reasonable prices and its good fish and seafood menu. Specialities include pasta with sardines and fennel, seafood risotto or fettuccine with shrimps and clams. For the main course, indecisive diners are often directed towards the outstanding sarde a beccaficu (stuffed sardines).

VILLAFRATI Graziano

Frazione Bolognetta, Villafrati, Tel 091-872 48 70

Start a meal at this intimate spot on the road to Agrigento (SS121) with cream of fava beans with shrimp and ricotta, or soup with shrimp and basil. Recommended main courses are potatoes with cernia (grouper) and light pesto, or fish fillet covered with breadcrumbs and pistachios. Finish off with almond cake covered with dark-chocolate sauce.

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One Response to “Tyrrhenian Coast”

  1. Federici scrive:

    Excellent blog! I actually love how it is easy on my eyes and also the info are well written. I am wondering how I can be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which ought to do the trick! Have a nice day!

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