The focus of the Sicilian food is simple, local, seasonal and ages old. Tomatoes, olives and aubergines all play huge roles in the dishes here, and most things you try will feature them heavily, along with the local seafood. Make sure to buy some from a local market, and take them back to your villa to cook up a storm! Many local recipes are passed down from Sicilian grandmothers, who got them from their own grandmothers. It is rustic fare, delicious and moreish.
The wine scene in Sicily, although not as famed as its Tuscan counterpart, is definitely worth diving into. They’ve been making wine here since the ancient Greeks, so they’re pretty good at it by now. The volcanic soil makes for particularly good grapes.
1. StrEAT Palermo Tour, Palermo
As any good traveller knows, the best places to eat are the ones packed out with locals. So what better way to discover the historic city of Palermo than with a street food walking tour? StrEAT Palermo Tour guides visitors on a four-hour gastronomic wander around town, during which Sicilian wines will be savoured, hidden bakeries will be discovered and the best street food will be tasted. Walk across 2,000-year-old piazzas, past the grand cathedral and through the alleys of vibrant markets and discover just how big a role Sicilian cuisine plays in the island’s culture.
Price range: €39 all included
Location: Piazza Verdi, right in front of Massimo Opera Theater,Palermo
Bookings: +39 3385074679
2. Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School, Palermo
It’s one thing to eat the mouth-watering dishes that have made Sicily one of the world’s most famous foodie destinations, but learn to cook them and you can enjoy the simple, centuries-old recipes time and time again back at home. The Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School offers a wonderful, immersive experience, where the landscape, ingredients and history of Sicilian food play as big a role as the cooking techniques themselves. Located in a 19th century wine estate in the heart of the island, guests can choose from half-day to six-day courses including everything from cheese-making to three-course meals. It goes without saying that there will be plenty of wine tasting too.
Price range: varies on course
Location: 90020 Sclafani Bagni PA, Italy
Bookings: +39 0934 815621
3. Chef Massimo Cooking Class and Market Tour, Taormina
Under the trusty guidance of local chef Massimo, this delicious foodie experience will take you through the markets of historic Taormina where you will buy the catch of the day, seasonal vegetables and rustic breads. With baskets brimming, head back to the kitchen where Massimo will teach you how to make hearty Sicilian dishes such as ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers, caponata (a chunky aubergine relish) and fresh egg pasta made the traditional way (yes, Massimo’s grandmother taught him how to cook it!).
Price range: on application
Location: Taormina market
Bookings: +39 347 2686442
4. Ristorante La Scala, Agrigento
Situated in the heart of historic Agrigento, La Scala is a gem of a dining establishment where elegance, fine dining and innovation meet the heartiness of traditional Sicilian cooking. Using only the finest ingredients sourced from the seas and volcanic soils of the island, chef Vincenzo Santalucia creates plates that are as easy on the eye as they are sumptuous on the palate. As the sun sets, enjoy a romantic meal on the little balcony and sip on some of the best local wines. The five and seven-course taster menus are to die for.
Price range: Tasting menus €35 -€50
Location: Via Atenea n° 72- Agrigento
Bookings: + 39 0922 660 497
5. Zuleima Ospitalità Diffusa a Ragusa Ibla, Ragusa
Sicilian recipes have been passed down through generations, the methods and ingredients having changed little over the years. So who best to learn the secrets behind Sicilian dishes from than the people whose grandparents taught them? Zuleima’s series of unique tours introduce visitors to the food and producers of Ragusa. Visit Giovanna’s kitchen and learn to create classic dishes like moreish ravioli with ricotta and parmigiana with aubergine, from this charismatic grandmother. Or, pay a visit to Veronica and Valeria’s farm where they will show you how to make homemade bread in a stone-baked oven. And it doesn’t end there; there are chocolate experts, honey farmers and wine and cheesemakers to meet too.
Price range: Varies depending on tour
Location: Piazza della Republica N 3 quartiere Archi 97100 Ragusa Ibla
Bookings: + 39 338 7862198
6. Ristorante La Madia, Licata
Ristorante La Madia is tucked away in the busy streets of Licata. Chef Pino and his team pride themselves on getting their hands of the very best and freshest ingredients to create modern versions of classic Sicilian dishes. Dishes honour their heritage yet take on new contemporary twists with a success that has seen the restaurant awarded two Michelin stars. Creativity flourishes at La Madia, with even classic dishes like caprese salad (buffalo mozzarella and tomato,) given an innovative twist. The taster menus are a true gastronomic treat, transporting diners on a tasting tour through Sicily’s history and culture.
Price range: €85-€120 for tasting menus. Mains from €28
Location: Corso F. Re Capriata, 22, 92027, Licata (Ag)
Bookings: +39 0922 771443
7. Locanda del Colonnello Ristorante, Modica
Local, seasonal ingredients are used to create an ever-changing menu at Locanda del Colonnello. Hidden away down a small street in the heart of Modica Alta, it prides itself on slow food and relies on traditional techniques with the odd modern twist. Be sure to try the roasted octopus antipasti, potato ravioli with mussel sauce and traditional ricotta cannolis for dessert. They also have a wine list featuring an impressive 300 wines.
Price range: Mains from €13
Location: Vico Biscari, 6 – Modica Alta
Bookings: +39 0932 752423
8. Gelati DiVini, Ragusa
No trip to Sicily would be complete without a visit to a traditional gelateria (ice-cream parlour). And they don’t come much better than Gelati DiVini, located in a charming little piazza in Ragusa. Smooth, rich and creamy ice creams come in the age-old favourite flavours such as pistachio, hazelnut and chocolate. For something a little different, try the watermelon, pine nut, olive oil or even wine flavours.
Location: Piazza Duomo n. 20 – 97100 Ragusa Ibla
Bookings: 0932 22 89 89
9. Donna Fugata, Western Sicily
Sicily is one of the oldest wine-making regions in Europe. Vines here grow strong in the volcanic soils under the hot year-round sun. Learn more about the island’s wines with a tour to one of Donna Fugata’s three cellars in Western Sicily: Marsala, Pantelleria or Contessa Entellina. Within the cool historic cellars, embark on an expertly guided wine journey, with each pour matched up with traditional Sicilian dishes.
Price range: €15-€20
Marsala Location: Via Sebastiano Lipari, 7, 91025 Marsala (TP)
Bookings: +39 0923 724 245/263
10. I Cuochini, Palermo
One thing you must try in Sicily is arancini. These deep-fried rice balls are gooey, sticky and delicious. You can these and more decadently fried treats like timballini di pasta (deep-fried pasta) and pasticcino (a mince-filled sweet pastry), at I Cuochino. This hole-in-the-wall bakery is the real deal, it’s been here in Palermo since 1826. The calm dining area is a lovely spot to watch the bakers at work in the open kitchen.
Price range: From €1 per item
Location: Via Ruggero Settimo, 68 90139 Palermo
Enquiries: +39 091 58 11 58
Has all this foodie talk got you hungry for more? Check out some tips from a true Sicilian local in our authentic guide to Sicily blog, or maybe you have romance in the brain? It has to be said, the Italians are pretty damn good at romance, read all about it here. If you’re still looking for the perfect place to enjoy your foodie holiday in Sicily, have a look at our range of villas, or give our concierge team a call to point you in the right direction.