Ambience -  Anche Gli Angeli, Sicily, Italy

Anche Gli Angeli

Part bar, café, and concept store, Gli Angeli is a great example of a new generation of Noto places that are stylish and modern but still maintain a certain Sicilan flair. The bar cum café is a good spot for a quiet coffee or drink. Even though it's just off the main drag, it rarely seems busy.

Drinks at Bam Bar,  Sicily, Italy

Bam Bar

This classic can't be missed: its façade is covered in colorful ceramic tiles made in Caltagirone. It's mobbed during the day, so best come for a sweet breakfast of granita (served with a brioche) and cappuccino. It's situated on a lovely corner, so in the morning, it's fun to watch the locals shop and restaurant owners prepare for the days (deliveries are made pre-tourist arrival).

Indagare Tip: This is not on the menu but you can order the granita in "piccola" size, in case you can't stomach the idea of starting the day with a large shaved ice. The classic flavor for the a.m. granita is, of course, caffè. But you can also get two flavors and add the local almonds into the mix. And don't refuse the whipped cream that goes on top. It makes the entire thing come together.

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a beige store front

Caffè Sicilia

The classic café of Noto serves the town’s best granita and gelato. Its pastry counter is a study of Italian dolci.
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Dinning Area at Caseificio Borderi Elefteria, Sicily, Italy

Caseificio Borderi Elefteria

This cheese and meat shop-cum-sidewalk snack bar is a must for its local scene and authentic flavors. In the impossibly crammed space next to the al fresco cheese counter and the small shop, the hostess sets up rudimentary tables for guests (you sit on turned-over crates). There’s no menu: you are simply asked if you prefer eat, cheese or vegetable antipasta (or a combination thereof), and then whatever is fresh and ready that day comes out on an enormous board, complemented with a bread and servings of a vino della casa.

Only visitors seem to sit down; the locals who come stand around the cheesemonger or meat counter, sampling Panini stuffed with fresh ricotta, slices of mortadella or salami, or whatever else the family who runs the place—with gusto—shoves in their hands. Next door is a vegetable stand, across the street a flower vendor and further down a throng of market shoppers, making you feel like you have stumbled onto a Sicilian movie set.

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Exterior View - Clandestino, Sicily, Italy


Look for a stretch of sidewalk that is lined with short trees in flowerboxes and you will have found Clandestino, a wonderful spot for an aperitivo. They are especially known for artisanal beers.


Crocifisso da Baglieri

One of Noto's most beloved restaurants, Baglieri has a cool, modern dining room and a short menu that changes often. It's the best bet for lunch or dinner in Noto.

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Taormina is well-known for its cannolis. Head to this old-school pasticceria/gelateria where they fill them to order (Sicilian pastry chefs would go cross-eyed if they saw the pre-made, soggy concoctions sold in New York). Get one filled with ricotta and marvel in how fluffy, fresh and tasty this clichéd Italian dessert actually tastes.

View from Terrace - Da Giovanni, Sicily, Italy

Da Giovanni

This is another one of the many restaurants in Sicily that looks like it might be a tourist trap and turns out to be an absolutely magical lunch experience. In walking distance to the Villa Sant'Andrea, Da Giovanni has two informal dining rooms both of which has breathtaking views of pretty Isola Bella. The daily fish specialties are excellent and this is also a great place for a lighter lunch of grilled vegetables, salads and bruschetta. Don't miss the homemade gelato or sorbet for dessert—you may well want to linger over coffee and the beautiful view.

Entrance at Dammuso, Sicily, Italy


Built into the former stables of a palazzo, this neighborhood favorite is a good spot for lunch or dinner (if you're staying in Noto). Run by a friendly husband-wife team, it serves a well-edited menu of daily specials. The setting feels more elevated and refined (it's a modern dining room) than at many other family run Sicilian restaurants.

Dolceria Costanzo

Around the corner from the cathedral, but on a side street that feels a bit more removed, Constanzo draws a local crowd for lunch and afternoon granita or gelato.

Exterior View - Duomo, Sicily, Italy


Sicily's sole Michelin two-star is located in the labyrinthine Ragusa Ibla, so unless you're also staying in this Baroque town, it's best to come for lunch. The tasting menu is a lengthy affair and the dining room is not the world's most inspired place. But wonderfully named chef Ciccio Sultano, who once worked in New York's Felida, has been raising the bar on Sicilian cuisine since he opened Duomo in 2000, and he remains a much-respected culinary force on the island.

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Fattoria delle Torri

You’d think a restaurant set in a restored Palazzo just off the main Corso Umberto drag would be easy to find, but in fact a recent trip required walking directions on Google Maps to save the day after numerous dead-end attempts down dark alleys. Once found, however, this is one of Modica’s most upscale restaurants.

The dining room is set under high stone arches and the presentation of the dishes is a bit more of a production than it needs to be. The upscale interpretation of classic Sicilan fare, however, is beautifully executed. All the pasta and several different types of bread are made in-house, and besides seafood (always excellent in this part of Sicily), the Fattoria menu has equally strong meat dishes, including, on a recent trip, lamb and rabbit . During the summertime, tables are set on a gorgeous al fresco courtyard, lined with lemon trees.

Ferro di Cavallo

This classic still gets locals' stamp of approval for its traditional Sicilian, particularly Palermo food. Don't expect anything fancy: the small outside area is set up with plastic tables and chairs, the long dining room, painted in an overly poppy orange, is lined with simple wooden tables and chairs. But this is the place for trying hearty meatballs, arancini (Palermo's heavenly fried rice balls), and caponata, all followed with cannolis, of course. Thanks to kind prices and a central location, Ferro is mobbed during lunch. Come early or be prepared to share a table with fellow diners, communal style.

Entrance at Gelati di Vinia, Sicily, Italy

Gelati di Vini

A genius combination of wine store and gelateria, Gelati Divini serves wine-flavored gelato, as well as a large range of delicious artisanal flavors, including toasted almonds, ricotta and pepperoncino-spiced chocolate.

Bar at Grand Hotel Timeo, Sicily, Italy

Grand Hotel Timeo

A dinner reservation on the terrace of this grande dame hotel is a much-coveted affair. Sitting proudly in the hillside of already lofty Taormina, the Timeo looks across terraced gardens to the sea. This is the kind of unapologetically old-school place where a team of waiters and sommeliers sweeps around your table, where meals take hours and menus fold out to the size of newspapers (female diners are given versions without the prices, certo).

But it's far from stuffy. The staff is warm and accommodating, chatting with diners and happily explaining the local dishes, all of which are incredible. Come hungry: this is definitely the place to order it all: antipasta, primi and secondi, followed by dessert if you still can. The wine list has lots of nearby winners; after all Mount Etna smolders in the distance (on some nights, you can actually see lava). It's by far the most expensive restaurant in Sicily, but a meal here is truly special and should not be missed.

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Aerial View - Il Baglietto, Sicily, Italy

Il Baglietto

This small restaurant is located a short walk from the entrance of the stunning nature Reserve Vendicari. When you drive in, you can’t miss the tables set in the lovely garden on your left. In typical Sicilian understatement, Il Baglietto looks touristy, and my husband and I would have never stopped there had an Italian friend not given us a rave review. Thanks to his suggestion, we had one of the best meals of our trip.

If it’s on the menu, order pasta con le sarde (Sicily's unofficial national dish) whose Sardine-fennel sauce was a revelation. Diners sit in a most serene garden setting, the massive trees and fields of Vendicari framing the property. It’s a spot not to be missed while visiting the reserve and during the summer months, reservations are a must.

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L’Arco dei Cappuccini

Set in a small outdoor courtyard, this unassuming establishment remains relatively off-the-beaten-path of tourists. Known for its seafood, L'Arco dei Cappuccini serves an array of fresh crudos, tartares and carpaccios, as well as daily catch-by-the-kilogram (offered to diners table-side) and pastas galore. Try the linguine con bottarga (sea urchin), which comes with a heaping scoop of the fishy delicacy. Closed Wednesday.

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La Capinera

La Capinera is a Michelin-starred restaurant that visitors to Taormina should not miss. Chef Pietro D’Agostino puts a modern flourish on local flavors, producing dishes like caramelized wild duck breast. Guests may request to sit in the airy indoor dining room or on the terracotta terrace overlooking the water.
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Exterior View - La Cialoma, Sicily, Italy

La Cialoma

This seaside seafood restaurant is a Marzamemi institution—and knows it, judging by the lofty (for Sicily) prices. But paying €18 for a plate of pasta is worth it when said plate is served on a table that’s facing the turquoise blue of the Ionian Sea. Diners sit on colorful painted chairs, shaded by a straw pergola and order the catch of the day.

All is prepared simply and without frills: tuna grilled with fennel seeds, lemon-marinated shrimp, pasta topped with mussels and the world’s most flavorful tomatoes and burratta. All is washed down with a crisp white and a strong espresso at the end of the meal. If you can’t find a spot on the sea-facing terrace, the tables in front of the restaurant, facing Marzamemi’s cute central piazza are also a fine place for a leisurely lunch. During the high season (June-August), reservations are a must.

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La Pineta

La Pineta, in Marinella di Selinunte, a 10-minute walk from the temples, is located right on the beach and serves wonderful seafood. (Be aware it's at the end of a long and bumpy road.)


It doesn't look like much from the outside (or inside, for that matter), but Malvasia serves excellent Sicilian cuisine, most served family style, making for a congenial, fun night out.

Manna Noto

The design-centric restaurant Manna Noto brings the atmosphere of a buzzy urban eatery to the Baroque town of Noto.
Exterior View - Morgana Bar, Sicily, Italy

Morgana Bar

Sicily overall doesn't have a huge party scene (a couple of streets in Palermo excepted), but tiny Taormina has one club that draws the late-night set. Morgana is tucked off main drag Corso Umberto behind a practically unmarked door. Things don't take off until after midnight, but it's small and gets packed, so it pays to come a little early. The over-the-top, themed decor changes every year and the cocktail list is long and innovative. Those worried about being inside on a lovely night will appreciate the lovely courtyard garden.

Ambience : Osteria Ballaro, Sicily, Italy

Osteria Ballaro

This spacious, brightly lit osteria is a welcome change from the old-world family trattorias dotting Palermo. In a good location close to the Teatro Massimo and Piazza Bellini, Ballaro is a good place for a local lunch. Order the appetizer featuring Palermo street food, followed by classic pasta or seafood dishes.

Osteria dei Sapori Perduti

Modica’s most famous restaurant is touristy for sure (the menu is a massive book with dishes described in several different languages, plus photographs of everything). But the simple (read very rustic) Sicilian home cooking and affordable prices still draw locals who come for dinner presumably on the nights when mamma is not cooking. In the summer, ask to sit on the al fresco patio out front to watch the bustling street scene of Corso Umberto.  A few of the most famous dishes to try: arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with an incredible tomato-based sauce); cavatelli, a rustic pasta dish with broccoli; and lenticchia, a hearty stew made with lentils.

Osteria Nero D’Avola

The busy little restaurant Osteria Nero d'Avola serves classic Sicilian dishes and, when the weather is nice, visitors can dine on the rooftop terrace or front patio (reserve in advance).

Osteria Rosso DiVino

Down a cobblestoned street lined with candles, the charming Osteria Rosso DiVino restaurant and wine bar invites diners in with an open-style kitchen lined with bright ceramic tiles, as well as a cozy outdoor patio and terrace.


Indagare employees walking up stiars

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