Sicily is a great place for good food, and during my trip, I spent most of the days devouring one delicious meal after another. The island is renowned for the abundance of fresh, local ingredients such as citrus fruits, olives, and tomatoes, and the proximity to the sea means that fresh fish and seafood play an important role in the local cuisine. Compared to northern Europe, dining out is fairly cheap, whether you’re grabbing a quick snack from one of the market vendors, or whether you’re in a nice, candlelit restaurant, so don’t miss the opportunity to sample authentic versions of dishes from the world-famous Sicilian cuisine.
Here is some of the tasty food I ate when I visited Sicily. If you’re visiting Sicily, make sure you eat your way through this list:
In Sicily, octopus is typically boiled or grilled, and served with olive oil and lemon. I had some really good octopus at a small restaurant in the central food market in Palermo. It was perfectly cooked, and the meat was tender and delicious. Unfortunately, the service wasn’t that great, but we can talk about that another day.
Cannoli are crispy, tube-shaped pastries, made from a sweet, fried dough filled with a mixture of ricotta cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Cannoli are best enjoyed freshly made, with the filling added just before serving, to maintain the crunchiness of the shells. The best cannoli I tasted in Sicily are the ones you can see in the photo below. They were from a small, local bakery in Giardini Naxos, and we had to wait 10 minutes for the staff to prepare the filling, but I can assure you, it was worth the wait.
Compared to traditional ice cream, Italian gelato typically has a lower fat content and a creamier texture, which I really like, so guess how much gelato I had in Sicily? Yes, a lot!
Pasta alla Norma
Pasta alla Norma is a classic Sicilian pasta dish featuring a luscious sauce made from fresh tomatoes and eggplant. It may seem like a simple, rather boring dish, but the combination of high-quality, locally sourced produce elevates Pasta alla Norma to a delicious, flavorful experience that you don’t want to miss when visiting Sicily.
Arancini are deep-fried balls with rice and melted cheese. They have a crispy, breaded crust and are served piping hot as a snack, as street food, or as an appetizer. Arancini come in different sizes and flavors, and they taste delicious, but they are also quite filling, so be careful not to order too many, if you’re also planning on trying other dishes.