Sicily Restaurants and Dining

(Sicily, Italy)

Further view of restaurants around Cefalu CathedralAs with elsewhere in Italy, dining out in Sicily is a highly sociable event, but even more so here. Sicilians take their food very seriously and have a unique cuisine involving with flavours from Italy, Spain and Greece. Tunisian and Chinese foods are also in abundance here.

There are eateries far and wide, ranging from quaint traditional trattorias to the swankiest of restaurants in the big cities. Sicily also boasts a huge quantity of cafés, snacks bars, coffee shops and street-side stalls with goodies such as chickpea fritters, potato croquettes, 'sfincione' (oily pizza with onions), 'scaccie' (pancake-type bread) and ice-cream-filled brioches.

Photo of tourists enjoying a sunny outdoor lunch next to the cathedral of Cefalu, Sicily

What to Eat, and Where

Seafood and olive oil are the main constituents in Sicily's cuisine and regularly feature on dining menus. Fresh catches come in daily from all around this verdant island and there is a massive selection of fish and other creatures. The food is almost exotic in that it is spiced up with the unique flavours of the island, including that of a special local olive oil.

Spaghettis, pastas and raviolis are staples and can be had in trattorias and modern restaurants island-wide, while a popular street-side snack is fried rice balls (arancini).

Image showing beachfront dining at CefaluFritters and 'calzone' (folded pizza) are also immensely popular as fast food and are good for sightseers in a hurry.

The locals on Sicily love their pastries and sweets as well, with 'cannoli' (pastries with sweet cheese) being particularly popular. The Arabian cake known as 'cassata' is also tasty, while 'granita' (ices with fruit juice) is great on a hot day.

There are three main types of eateries in Sicily - the traditional trattorias, modern, full-service restaurants, and street-side stalls. Palermo arguably has the best of all three, together with unbeatable seafood dishes.

Picture of al fresco dining at Taormina, SicilyFor traditional food and fine restaurants in the capital, head for La Kalsa quarter, while for cheap food try the Central Station.

Sicilians eat later than their mainland counterparts, probably because of the excessive heat, and they like to make a real meal of it, too. Therefore, many dining establishments don't tend to open until around 20:00. Think lunches light and informal - dinner big and hearty.

More information about Palermo Restaurants.