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Sicily Restaurants

15 Via Fratelli Bandiera
Taormina , Sicily
Tel: 39 094 224 408

No, you didn't have too much vino; those really are ancient Roman artifacts at your feet. One area of this popular local trattoria has a glass floor showcasing pottery shards unearthed during building construction. But they're just a diversion from the main event: chef Pippo Vinciguerra's hearty fare. Grab a romantic table in the outdoor courtyard, framed by leafy fruit trees and wall frescoes, and order the meatballs grilled in lemon leaves, a house specialty.

Closed Wednesdays.

Antica Dolceria Bonajuto
159 Corso Umberto I
Ragusa , Sicily
Tel: 39 0932 941 225

This amazing sweet shop and museum, tucked into a 19th-century building, is where serious chocolate-lovers get their fix. Since 1880, the Bonajuto family has been crafting chocolate confections from secret recipes that the Spaniards brought to Ragusa centuries ago. Don't leave without a bar of their special Aztec cinnamon chocolate, some almond nougat, or a half-moon empanadilla of meat and chocolate.

Closed Mondays.

Antica Focacceria San Francesco
58 Via Alessandro Paternostro
Palermo , Sicily
Tel: 39 091 320 264

Open since 1834, this absurdly picturesque place—with its Juliet balconies, blooming window boxes, and frescoed, stained-glass facade—has wisely hitched its wagon to the Slow Food movement. (Founded in Italy, this school of thought advocates sustainable farming; local, seasonal ingredients; and minimally processed food.) Consequently, both the indoor dining room serving ready-made pastas and contorni (vegetable side dishes), and the covered terrace serving wood-fired pizzas, are excellent bets. The eatery's most famous dish is milza—focaccia stuffed with fresh ricotta, grated parmesan, and sautéed veal spleen—and, yes, it is delicious. If you're too full for dessert, get something to go from the bakery counter; the selection of cakes and artisanal breads is divine.

Closed Tuesdays.

Caffe Sicilia
125 Corso Vittorio Emanuele
Noto , Sicily
Tel: 39 0931 835 013

Foodies travel for miles to get a forkful of this tiny pasticceria's cassata (ricotta cake with marzipan) or homemade almond-milk ice cream. Calorie counters should stay away from this shop, located in the Baroque town of Noto, which was rebuilt after Siracusa's 1693 earthquake. It's hard to leave without trying everything, including the sesame crunch and candied fruit.

Closed Mondays, except in August.

Cana Enoteca
105 Via Alloro
Palermo , Sicily
Tel: 39 091 610 1147

Near Quattro Canti and behind Piazza Marina is this delightfully intimate medieval cave of a place—the best spot in the city to sample from Sicilian wine cellars. Young proprietor Gianfranco Cammarata pours exceptional wines from tiny producers, including many you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere other than the vineyards themselves. Food tends to be simple but well-sourced platters of salumi and pâtés—and dark chocolate for the red-wine drinkers.

Casa Grugno
Via Santa Maria dei Greci
Taormina , Sicily
Tel: 39 094 221 208

Austrian-born chef Andreas Zangerl consistently gets rave reviews for his creative versions of Sicilian classics. Fusionistas go gaga over his prix fixe menu, which has included grilled rabbit loin with olives, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes; pan-seared bluefish with pine nuts, raisins, and fennel sauce; and saffron ravioli stuffed with pesto and topped with toasted pistachio nuts. The backdrop is a 16th-century stone-studded nook in the heart of old town, with a lovely outdoor terrace.

Dinner only. Closed Sundays November to March; closed January and February.

Cucina Papoff
32 Via Isidoro La Lumia
Palermo , Sicily
Tel: 39 091 586 460

Everyone in Palermo will tell you to go to this atmospheric, torch-lit restaurant with tall brick arches—and they're right. Though it sounds like some Italian-themed joint in Croatia (it's named after the Bulgarian founder), Cucina Papoff is all about traditional Sicilian dishes. These include caponata (diced eggplant with celery, olives, capers, and sugar), maccu (a fava bean soup with wild fennel), and grilled swordfish with capers and citron (the local citrus fruit, like a very dry lemon).

Closed Sundays. No lunch on Saturdays.

31 Via Capitano Bocchieri
Ragusa , Sicily
Tel: 39 0932 651 265

Not to be confused with Al Duomo in Taormina, this Michelin-starred spot features the wizardry of one of Sicily's hottest chefs, Ciccio Sultano. Upon returning to his native Ragusa after cooking stints at famous kitchens around the world (including New York's Felidia), Ciccio teamed up with entrepreneur Angelo di Stefano to open this elegant 19th-century spot. His menus have included a mouthwatering Ragusano tart (made with grilled vegetables, cheese, and apple compote in pastry) and black squid-ink spaghetti in pepper cream sauce. Ciccio has also painstakingly revived many of Ragusa's lost recipes (including a soup made from wheat, grapes, honey, almonds, marmalade, and cinnamon). The restaurant bakes its own bread and displays an extensive collection of olive oils used in the dishes. More than 800 local labels round out the wine list.

Closed Mondays November to March.

194 Riviera Dionisio Il Grande
Siracusa , Sicily
Tel: Tel: 39 093 165 540

For simple, delicious, down-home Sicilian cooking by the sea, Jonico is worth a stop. Its ornate, Liberty-style interior is an odd backdrop for the no-fuss menu, which includes spaghetti with mussels, shrimp, and calamari, and several preparations of swordfish. The terrific signature dessert—mocha chocolate gelato—shouldn't be missed. The roof terrace serves pizzas, and there's a wide selection of local wines.

Closed Tuesdays.

Locanda Don Serafino
39 Via Orfanotrofio
Ragusa , Sicily
Tel: 39 0932 248 778

The cellar of a Baroque-quarter palazzo in the oldest part of Ragusa is the setting for Antonio and Giuseppe La Rosa's elegant restaurant. It's one of the best places to sample contemporary local dishes, like lasagnette with cocoa and ricotta; rabbit with bacon and pistachio; and Ragusano cheese with thyme honey on puff pastry. There's also a wine bar with 700 labels, a huge cigar list, and—if you're too full to drive back to your hotel—22 magnificent rooms, specially reserved for customers.

Closed Tuesdays.

Monte San Giuliano
7 Vicolo San Rocco
Erice , Sicily
Tel: 0923 869 595

One of the best discoveries of a trip to this labyrinthine mountain town is this lesser-known trattoria, serving up fresh fish and Moroccan-inspired specialties like seafood couscous. Grab a table on the leafy patio.

Ristorante Al Duomo
Vico Ebrei/Piazza Duomo
Taormina , Sicily
Tel: 39 094 262 5656

The traditional Sicilian fare is as lovely as the view from the patio at this popular dining spot near—you guessed it—the Piazza Duomo. Start with one of the pristine seafood antipasti, then move on to fresh fish, pastas, lamb stew, and almond-pistachio desserts. The wine list includes a variety of Sicilian labels.

4 Piazza Sant'Andrea
Palermo , Sicily
Tel: 39 091 334 999

By the Vucciria market off Piazza San Domenica, this chic little place serves evolved Sicilian trattoria dishes emphasizing seafood (like squid stuffed with pine nuts, tomato, and local cheese). Unlike many restaurants, it's open Mondays, when a coveted table in the piazza is even harder to snag, so reserve ahead.

Dinner only. Closed Sundays.

Trattoria La Foglia
29 Via Capodieci
Siracusa , Sicily
Tel: 39 093 166 233

The Pravato family's veggie-leaning cuisine is a welcome relief from Sicily's meat-laden menus. Rich soups, pastas, and simple entrées are practically free of the beef ubiquitous at neighboring trattorias. If nothing else, come for the decor: The 50-seat dining room is a riot of antiques, mismatched glasses, silverware, and father Beppe's sculptures.

Closed Tuesdays November to March.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.