Everything you have heard about Sicilian food is correct. Sicily is a foodie’s paradise. We loved the Sicily restaurants as we toured around the island. Some top restaurants stood out among the others and we will list them below. First, let’s tell you more about why we love Sicily.
Sicily pretty much has it all. The island’s landscapes and sights are as diverse as the people and cities. The coastline alternates between sandy beaches, vineyards, mountains, towns, palm trees, and desert and the people are passionate about life and love.
Most people will tell you that renting a small car is the best way to see Sicily. However, during our ten-day Sicilian trip, we chose to see the entire island by train. We went from Palermo to Cefalù then to Noto then Catania and finally Castellammare. To hear about how much we loved this trip listen to our podcast – Sicily and Isle of Man (2 Very Different Island Experiences)
Not only were we able to avoid the tricky Italian roads, but we also did not have to worry about always having a designated driver, driving amongst the crazy Italian drivers and tourists, or finding a parking spot (or booking an Airbnb or hotel with free parking).
Having spent 2.5 weeks the previous summer driving around mainland Italy, we learned that Italian drivers drive fast and aggressive. If you choose to rent a car, just assume you will need to be on top of it when driving in Italy. Defensive driving is necessary; people will pull out in front of you and change lanes sporadically.
The train system in Sicily was easy to use. We were able to check the train schedule online in advance to see if there were still seats available for the desired time we wanted to travel and then purchase our tickets online.
A highlight of our Sicily trip, besides the people and the gorgeous beaches, was the food and late night cocktails we enjoyed. Everything you have heard about Sicilian food is correct. From the handmade pasta, fresh seafood, various types of bruschetta, endless charcuterie boards to choose from, fresh olives and citrus fruits right off the tree, sweet cannolis, and endless amounts of gelato flavors to choose from, Sicily is a foodie’s paradise.
Here are 5 Restaurants we fell in love with in Sicily:
Ferro di Cavallo (Palermo, Sicily)– Head here early or prepare to wait! However, if you do have to wait for a seat at this family-owned trattoria, feel free to help yourself to the unlimited antipasto, wine, and prosecco being served outside. The menu is printed in Italian on a paper “tablecloth” so make sure you bring your phone with Google Translate or befriend a local next to you like we did if you cannot read Italian.
We ordered 2 antipasto dishes, 2 primi Piatti dishes, 2 secondi Piatti dishes and a bottle of wine between 3 people at the recommendation of our waiter. Needless to say, after eating all of the free antipasto dishes while waiting to be seated, this was more than enough food. The food is delicious, and the atmosphere is incredible!
Liska Lafisheria (Cefalù, Sicily) – This is the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail at a table with your friends in the streets of Cefaù. Liska also serves fresh seafood, wood-fired pizzas, and has an extensive wine list to choose from. The staff is friendly, and the service is impressive.
Ristorante Manna (Noto, Sicily)– Manna uses fresh vegetables and seasonal products in their recipes. Their website states, “We promise to serve good, simple and thought out dishes. We leave freshness and quality of our ingredients speak for themselves, the only thing we add is our love and passion for food.”
The food at Manna was excellent, the staff was super friendly and helpful when describing each dish, and the service was exceptional. The chef even prepared a special vegan dish especially for me! You can dine inside the restaurant or streetside by candlelight. They will also provide you a shawl in case you get chilly when the sun goes down.
*Bonus Selection: Amazing Lounge while in Noto, Sicily
Anche Gli Angeli Wine and Lounge Bar (Noto, Sicily)– Think 18th century (fully restored) crypt, meets elegant wine and lounge bar/ restaurant complete with a bookstore and gift shop. It is a unique place to grab a cocktail or glass of wine and charcuterie board with some friends in very comfortable seating (if you can find a place to sit) and relax.
Vermut (Catania, Sicily)- The food at Vermut is local cuisine served “tapas style.” The food is cheap and delicious. You can dine inside of the restaurant or at a table outside in front of the restaurant. Head here early or expect to wait. If you do have to wait, grab yourself a tasty cocktail. Vermut offers a wide range of wines and spirits, with a choice of over 60 vermouths to choose from.
Malandrino Cucino & Bar (Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily) – Malandrino Kitchen & Bar serves Mediterranean cuisine, fresh seafood dishes, and has excellent cocktails and wine. Their mixed bruschetta plate is so delicious. It is a must try!
I recommend sitting outside across the street where you will have a view overlooking Regina Margherita, a community garden, which is buzzing with people trying to catch a glimpse of the sunset and local musicians showing off their talent.
Traveled May 2018