Palermo, Sicily foodie guide: where locals eat and drink
Sicily’s largest city is famous for its street food, but don’t miss the grilled fish, suckling pig cooked with pears and breakfasts (yes, really) of brioche buns filled with gelato
Looking for restaurants in Palermo? Want to know where to eat in the Sicilian city? Local food writer Gina Tringali shares her insider tips for the best restaurants in Palermo, along with where to find the best gelato brioche, sourdough pizza and Sicilian sandwiches.
For more inspiration, see our Bologna foodie travel guide, our best ever Italian recipes and the 10 things we love about Sicilian cuisine.
Mercato il Capo – for market grazing
Be mesmerised by the banter of the vendors at Mercato il Capo as you shop for capers from Pantelleria, bread baked in ovens stoked by olive branches, and wild fennel. Stroll the market with a paper cone of snails marinated in olive oil, parsley and garlic, or sfincione (thick pizza topped with tomato sauce, onions and a dusting of caciocavallo cheese).
Via Cappuccinelle; enter at Porta Carini.
Pasticceria Cappello – for Sicilian desserts
Down a run-down lane, Pasticceria Cappello is a temple to Sicilian desserts, going beyond the classic ricotta-filled cannoli, cassata Siciliana and frutta martorana (marzipan pastries); don’t miss a fried, ricotta cream-filled iris and the settestrati, a mini-dessert of chocolate mousse, hazelnut cream and chocolate sponge.
Ferro di Cavallo – for a Sicilian trattoria
A typical Palermitano trattoria, Ferro di Cavallo opened its doors in 1944. Within its rustic red walls, at simple wooden tables, enjoy polpette di sarde, pasta con acciughe e mollica and bollito prepared by the Ciminna family.
Nino u'Ballerino – for Sicilian sandwiches
A culinary rite of passage in Palermo, visit Nino u’Ballerino to try a pani c’a meusa, a traditional sandwich made with beef spleen and lung sprinkled with ricotta cheese, grated caciocavallo cheese, or a spritz of lemon juice, served on a sesame bun.
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Gelateria La Delizia – for gelato brioche buns
Follow local custom and start the day with gelato heaped inside a sweet and soft brioche bun at family-run Gelateria La Delizia. Choose between nut, pastry and fruit flavours; coffee, pistachio and almond are outstanding.
Percia Sacchi – for pizza
Head to PerciaSacchi for the best pizza in Palermo. Its flavourful sourdough starter is made using ancient Sicilian stone-ground flours and toppings are strictly seasonal and local. Order the pizza-tasting menu (minimum of four people) with a Timilia blonde ale.
Gagini Social Restaurant – for communal dining
At the Gagini Social Restaurant, local, slow, and seasonal reign. Book a seat at the communal table and chat with fellow diners over the tasting menu, or order the pasta buttons stuffed with Slow Food-blessed Madonie provola cheese and served in chicken broth. The Nebrodi suckling pig cooked with pears, mustard and cabbage is also good.
Friggitoria Chiluzzo – for fried food
Queue-up at Friggitoria Chiluzzo for Palermo’s renowned fried snacks. The cart’s specialty is pane panelled – square fritters of chickpea flour topped with potato croquettes and served in a seeded bun. Pair this with traditional meat ragù and pea-stuffed arancini to go.
Trattoria da Salvo – for casual seafood grill
Sit at a streetside plastic table at Trattoria da Salvo, in the lively Kalsa quarter, and watch cooks toss whole fresh fish, shrimp and calamari on smoky outdoor barbecues. These are served alongside daily pasta specials but the grilled seafood platter is the dish to order.
Via Torremuzza 19, 00 39 334 335 1329
Vineria Arrè Gusto – for aperitivo
A cool and airy wine bar decorated with recycled wine crates and vintage spritzer bottles, Vineria Arrè Gusto focuses mainly on small and niche wine and craft beer producers. Stop for a pre-dinner glass of a zippy Etna Bianco with a plate of fish tartare.
Where to stay in Palermo
Double rooms at the Hotel Porta Felice cost from €115, room only.
Trust olive: Food writer Gina Tringali divides her her time between Rome, Naples and Sicily, designing gastronomic tours (italyfoodandwinetours.com) and writing (gtfoodandtravel.com)
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