OUR ADVICE IN PALERMO
There is no doubt about it, food and wine are among Sicily's main attractions, and you may have sampled something of both long before arriving in Sicily. When most people think of Italian food, pasta and pizza come to mind, but Sicilian cuisine trascends these ubiquitous culinary delights. If you plan to go on a diet, go to Sicily first and you can diet later!
If you want to taste some real Sicilian food and at the same time save money, our advice are:
BAR TOURING (via Lincoln, 15 next to the sea-side) where you can taste the famous "arancina bomba".
CHE PALLE (Via Maqueda, 270) the "franchising" of the arancine with many different flavours.
GELATERIA CICCIO where you can eat one of the best ice-creams of the city (Corso dei Mille, next to the Station).
GELATERIA BRIOCHIA another great home-made ice-cream shop (Via Mariano Stabile, next to Teatro Massimo).
FOCACCERIA SAN FRANCESCO (Piazza San Francesco next to Via Vittorio Emanuele) One of the oldest restaurants in town specialised in street food and typical Sicilian cuisine.
FRANCO U'VASTIDDARU (Via Vittorio Emanuele, 102) Cheap and specialised with Palermo street food like "arancine", "pane con milza", "pasta con sarde", "pasta al forno", "panelle e crocchè", "cannoli".
NINO U' BALLERINO (Corso Finocchiaro Aprile, 76) specialised in pane con milza (bread with spleen).
VOGLIA DI PIZZA ideal for students, big pizza for only 4 € (Via Chiavettieri, 28).
PASTICCERIA CAPPELLO (Via Colonna Rotta, 68) where you can taste delicious sweets such as "torta sette veli".
ANTICO CAFFE' SPINNATO (Via Principe di Belmonte, 107) where you can taste on eof the best Cannoli in town in a fancy area.
TAVERNA AZZURRA where you can taste the typical Sicilian sweet wine like Zibibbo, Sangue and Marsala for only 1 €.
Sfincione is a local form of pizza made with tomatoes, onions and (sometimes) anchovies. Prepared on a thick bread and more likely found in a bakery than in a pizzeria, sfincione is good as a snack or appetizer.
Caponata, a tasty salad made with eggplant (aubergines), olives, capers and celery, makes a great appetizer. There is also an artichoke-based version of this traditional dish, though you're less likely to find it in most restaurants.
Panelle are a thin paste made of crushed or powdered beans and served fried
Crocchè are fried potato dumplings made with chees parsley and eggs
Sicilians usually eat it in the middle of the bread
You can order:
Panino con panelle (only panelle)
Panino con crocchè (only crocchè)
Panino misto (with both, we highly advice)
Arancine are fried rice balls stuffed with meat or cheese. Arancine is Italian for "little oranges", in fact the balls of rice look aabout the same size of an orange.
We have different versions but the most typicals are:
Arancina con carne (with meat and peas)
Arancina al burro (with ham and cheese)
Traditional day for Arancine is the 13th of december (Santa Lucia) when for tradition people do not usually eat pasta, but they eat products with rice. In that day most of the people eat at least an arancina (sometimes even 4!).
Traditional sea-food recipes
Sicily is renowned for its seafood. Grilled swordfish is popular. Smaller fish, especially snapper, is sometimes prepared in a vinegar and sugar sauce. Seppia (cuttlefish) is served in its own black sauce with pasta.
Another Sicilian seafood dish made with pasta is pasta al finocchio con le sarde (fennel with sardines).
Another traditional plate of Sicilian kitchen is "Risotto alla pescatora", rice with clams, mussels, shrimps.
Pane con la Milza is a very popular Meat dish in Sicily.
Milza (veal spleen) sandwiches are a bit "native" for most tastes, and loaded with cholesterol, but delicious anyway. It comes from poor Sicilian kitchen
You can eat:
"Pane con la milza schiettu" (it means "single" in Sicilian) with just spleen meat and lemon
"Pane con la milza maritato" (it means "married" in Sicilian) with an add of cheese or ricotta.
Cannoli rapresent a staple of Sicilian cuisine famous in all the world.
They are tubular crusts with creamy ricotta and sugar filling. If they taste a little different from the ones you've had outside Italy, that's because the ricotta here is made from sheep's milk.
Cannolo is diminuitive of "Canna" (tube), they are typical all year but especially during the Carnival time.
Cassata is a rich, sugary cake filled with the same delicious filling.
It is one of the most tradition sweet from Sicily and it consists of round sponge cake moistened with fruit juices or liqueur and layered with ricotta cheese and candied fruit. You usually find as well decorative designs (like in the picture)
Another version of Cassata is done in the oven (in this case we call it "Cassata al forno") with pieces of chocolate.
Tiramisù is totally dellicious. It is cool refreshing Italian dessert that once tasted, leaves an indelible impression on you. The original recipe has mascarpone cheese. The basic ingredients are also eggs arnival time, ladyfingers, cream, espresso coffee, liquor brandy, marsala, rum, a little bit of sugar, cacao or shaved chocolate.
Frutta di martorana (or pasta reale) are almond marzipan pastries colored and shaped to resemble real fruit. They are very sweet and tasty.
Sicilian gelato (ice cream) is excellent.
In fact, it is possible that ice cream was invented in Sicily during Roman times, when a relay of runners would bring snow down from Mount Etna to be flavored and served to wealthy patricians. You'll find flavors ranging from pistachio and hazelnut (nocciola) to jasmine (gelsomino) to mulberry (gelsi) to strawberry (fragala) and rum (zuppa inglese).
Granita is sweetened crushed ice made in Summer and flavored with lemons or strawberries.
It is typical from Messina area (they usually eat it with brioche) but you can easily find in Palermo as well.