Destination PalermoDestination Palermo

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Eating & drinkingEating & drinking

Sicilian cuisine is rustic but exciting. This is due to the influence of the many rulers the island has known in the course of time (see above). The Arabs introduced couscous and raisins, the Spaniards sausages and fried dishes. Try eating in the small local restaurants (trattorias) and visiting the market in La Vucciria, where you can enjoy a freshly-made chickpea rissole.

Osteria dei Vespri

Many aver that this is Palermo’s best restaurant. It lies in the Centro Storico district and serves modern Sicilian dishes. Try the 6 variations of crudo dal mare antipasti – six variants of raw fish and seafood, and the casareccia, a home-made pasta dish with a tuna stew. Address: Piazza Croce dei Vespri 6
Tel.: +39 091 617 1631
www.osteriadeivespri.it

Gusto Divino

Forget the fact that the exposed bricks and vaulting remind you of the 1980s. Gusto Divino is a fantastic restaurant with a broad choice of sophisticated Sicilian dishes, such as linguine con bottarga di tonno (pasta with tuna caviar and grated lemon peel). It is also said that Divino has Palermo’s best torta sette veli, a traditional chocolate cake with seven kinds of chocolate.
Address: Corso Pisani 30
Tel.: +39 091645 7001

Casa del Brodo

This traditional restaurant has existed since 1890 and is one of the City’s oldest restaurants. The interior could do with a make-over and it has a number of less attractive, modern details. Nonetheless, the restaurant is full to bursting on most evenings. The menu includes Sicilian specialities such as pasta alle sarde (fresh sardines with raisins and pine nuts).
Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuele 175
Tel.: +39 091 321 655

Al Genio

A popular, highly rated trattoria. Try the seafood and fish risotto, or the spada involtini (filled swordfish).
Address: Piazza San Carlo 9
Tel.: +39 091616 6642

Antica Focacceria di San Francesco

The pizza may have been born in Naples but foccaccia was invented in Sicily. Try this warm bread in this local bakery which still uses its centuries-old cast-iron ovens. This is also a good address for a pani cu’ la meusa (bread with sliced veal spleen and cacciocavallo cheese) or the fritto misto, a selection of fried starters.
Address: Via Alesandro Paternostro 58, opposite the church of the same name.

Il Mulinazzo

A great many local inhabitants happily make the 45 minute trip to Villafrati for a fine meal at Il Mulinazzo, a restaurant run by Nino Graziano, one of the island’s best-known cooks.
Address: Località Bolognetta Nord, Villafrati
Tel.: +39 091872 4870 Palermo’s inhabitants attach almost as much importance to their coffee as do the inhabitants of Rome, and they will also happily walk a few streets for it. They know precisely where the best granita al caffè, frozen ice with coffee and whipped cream, can be obtained, or the best cup of gran caffè (a cappuccino without milk). The following cafés are very popular:

Roney

This is Palermo’s most elegant café, visited by lawyers, politicians and bankers.
Address: Via Libertà 13

Caffè del Kassaro

The city’s young intellectuals can be found here.
Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuele 390-394

La Preferita

This is not just a café but also an ice-cream parlour. Try the tartuffo; La Preferita’s own version of the Calabrian chocolate dessert.
Address: Via Villareale 47