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By Lauren Hill | October 24 2017
To dine on authentic Sicilian cuisine with a contemporary twist in some of the city’s most inviting settings, seek out our pick of the five best restaurants in Palermo.
This Michelin starred restaurant sits close to Mondello beach, combining the passion for Italian cooking and fine wine of its founders Patrizia Di Benedetto and Antonio Barraco. Since being established in 1991 the restaurant has gone on to win great acclaim, and a number of awards, for its Sicilian cuisine. Using local ingredients chef Benedetto creates dishes like risotto with wild fennel, tuna bottarga and marinated squid, and amberjack tagliata with sea urchins emulsion, along with desserts like vanilla panna cotta and red fruit in a white chocolate shell.
Set up by chef Tony Lo Coco, this highly praised restaurant stands out for the authenticity and passion behind its Palermo-style cuisine. The Michelin starred food here brings together ingredients sourced from local farmers, producers and fishermen, resulting in sumptuous dishes such as risotto with the seafood of the day, lamb Palermo, marinated fish fillet with caponata, and the classic dessert, cannolo. Tasting menus of six, seven and nine courses are also on offer.
The interior of this restaurant is particularly atmospheric as it lies within the 16th-century building in which the sculptor Antonio Gagini once created his artworks. Now the setting for candlelit dining, the restaurant features furnishings made by the artist Alfred Von Hersch, paintings by Croc Tavarella and photos of Pucci Scafidi. Based on the idea of social dining guests are seated around a communal table where they can interact with the hosts, as well as the chef Gioacchino Gaglio and his team who champion Sicily’s ‘slow food’ in line with the seasons. The wine cellar then contains more than 100 Sicilian labels, along with 50 French varieties.
This restaurant within the Grand Hotel Villa Igiea – MGallery by Sofitel provides an elegant setting for savoring chef Carmelo Trentacosti’s fine dining plates. Within a grand dining room featuring Art Nouveau chandeliers diners can tuck into dishes such as couscous with rock fish, sea cicadas and Sicilian almonds, homemade basil Mezzi Paccheri pasta with Sicilian style fresh chopped tomato and bread cream, and Mangalitsa pork fillet stuffed with Sicilian herbs and celeriac puree. Choose dishes a la carte or opt for the two tasting menus representing the land and the sea.
The restaurant by brothers Andrea and Alberto Rizzo sits within Piazza Vespri at the heart of Palermo. Here diners can experience traditional Sicilian cuisine with the chef’s modern interpretation. Each menu is created to reflect the season and make the most of the locally sourced produce, but a meal could include dishes like duck ravioli or squid with beets, beans, fried artichoke and almond cream with licorice. The cellar then contains more than 650 labels.