SICILY..dining in 2023

Presunto, mil gracias!

WE initially had planned 6 nights on Salina at the hotel PRINCIPE DI SALINA. This is the epitome of a family run small hotel where all of the parts mesh together and run smoothly. Although the weather has been cloudy and cooler than we would have liked, we are loath to tear ourselves away and have added another night here before departure for our last stop, Taormina.
Partly due to the weather, along with the difficulty that my partner has in walking any distance, plus the price of taxis (about 25euro one-way to the port, Sta Marina Salina, we’ve not budged too far from the hotel. Once again, we have cancelled a dinner out (for tonight) in favor of another of the nightly 8pm 2-course dinners with dessert that have been uniformly excellent thanks to the talents of Chef Silvana who, in her previous life, was a surgeon in Milano. Local fish, prepared in inventive incarnations, fruits and veg from their gardens, and the most incredible sour-dough bread courtesy if Filippo will work his magic.

WE did go, last night, to a Michelin-designated restaurant run by a young chef not far from here, in the HOTEL SIGNUM. The chef is Marina Caruso and she is lauded throughout Italy and beyond for her creative takes on local fare. This is the site, and I hope to have time to include our comments.

The place where we are staying, and we very much love, is the PRINCIPE DI SALINA, just a few steps from the town of Malfa. It is the epitome of a family-run operation, not only with beautiful rooms and food but with a tremendous emphasis on local foods. Unfortunately my laptop is betting very balky, freezing and doing all kinds of mischevious things…hope I can get through this!

One night more on Salina and then to Taormina (if weather cooperates) for 3 nights (cut back from four…more soon…


Wow. That hotel looks amazing. For anyone else wanting to check it out, here’s a link:


Sorry for all the back and forth, but there were two additional places in Ragusa for very worth snacks’

First was CANTUNERA IBLA, just a 5 minute walk from the Piazza del Duomo to just adjacent to the public gardens. Please forgive is I’ve already mentioned this, but locals told that this was THE place for arrancini in Ibla. Open s about 12:30 and shuts by about 3pm. I’ve never had a fried thing that brought me so much pleasure; I ordered the version with speck, asiago and apple but there are many options. I think my version cost 3.50euro but there some less expensive. The way that crust shattered–I will remember this always. And it is HUGE…one is enough for a person for a lunch; I also had one of those bottles of soda in the cedro flavor.

Other snack place, besides the memorable Giumarra, is the very small supermarket in the Piazza del Duomo in Ibla. Face the Duomo steps and this little market is just on your left, near the steps and gates. The usual fast-foodish junky stuff but, also, some nice Ragusa cheeses and salumi in the back, and the BEST find:

There is a treat made in Modica called m’panittiggi (spellings differ) This small super has them and no doubt they are very easy to find in Modica but we did not go there except to park and take in the view. SO: Thin about how the Spanish brought pork to the New World, and took back chocolate to Europe and beyond. Thin about Mole.

M’panittiggi is a little tri-corned-shaped pastry (pretty sure the pastry has lardo inside, like those in Sevilla). I noticed it on a plate on the top of the cold case in this shop and asked about it. Looked to be like a tasty triangular desserts stuffed with dark chocolate…once the shop owner began explaining, I knew I would have to buy some to sample!

Fantastic…even think of the name…can you understand the linguistic similarities between that word and the word “empanada??” And then there is MOLE…all this cross cultural nautical trade resulted in so many interesting dishes and I wonder how many will endure???

I’m so flummoxed with the posting problems so I will post this and hoipefull come back soon and post some relevant photos…


really enjoying all this, its worth it! There seem to be a lot of pastries in southern italy of the sort you mention - the italian teacher i had briefly made her family’s version from basilicata. Hey, the Slowfood book, L’Italia dei Dolci has a page with a recipe for “Mpanatigghi”! which according to a 1758 “vocabulario etimilogic sicilliano” derives from the spanish emanidilla and speculates an arab origin for this dish in the county of Modica. Yes the pastry recipe includes strutto fuso (melted lard) but surprisinging also in the filling, some ground veal, along with sugar, toasted almonds, chocolate, cinnamon and clove. S o wonderful that these ancient dishes are preserved for us to enjoy today.


Another thumbs up that your posts are so good, and sorry they’re a PITA. They’re worth it.

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Here is it the famous Modica pastry with pork and chocolate, before we devour a pair in our hotel room, back in Ragusa Ibla (the divine B&B, Sabbrinirica)

Another sublime and unexpected treat, also near the DUOMO SAN GEORGIO in RAGUSA IBLA:

This is my unforgettable arrancini with speck, asiago and apple with that unforgettable shattering crust ("yes, mollica di pane but also other secret ingredients that we can tell you!)…and be sure to order that fruit soda from Sicily, along with your rice treat!


very important, that fresh frying! Love the look of the place

I did make a mistake, in discussion of the fantastic dinners offered at IL PRINCIPE DI SALINA by Chef Silvana; they are 3 courses, plus dessert, not two. Last night the secondi was a fish I’ve never had before and we LOVED it…“Oratina,” in the sea bream family but with the most succulent white meat and an incredible texture… Stay tuned to see whether erica! will try to pack a few in ice and bring home to NYC!

Imagine loving a hotel so much, with the food being such a large part, that we have little impetus to go out and explore the island? Granted, partner is just about unable to walk and taxis are costly…and tonight, our last here, is PIZZA NIGHT!

I will try to post some pics of meals here once they show up on this laptop…

Weather once again looks a little dim, and I just read that Catania airport has been closed due to Etna eruptions…everyone is talking about how this May is so unlike previous Mays…as I said, almost no sun since Trapani, some rain, and always clouds. I seem to get up every hour or so to peek out and try to glimpse the view of red from Stromboli, just outside our window…


Here are a few pics from the island of Salina, a hydrofoil ride from the port of Milazzo, not far from Messina:

Drive from Catania to Milazzo Porto…hydrofoil to Salina at this time is very much up in the air due to wind…

Mistake…that fish I loved is OMBRINA, not “oratina.”

Now in Taormina which is beautiful but a tremendous shock after the earlier stops, due to immense amount of tourists. Not many Americans as far as I can tell, and no one intrusive, but this is a very different feel as compared to our earlier stops.

Very good dinner last night at ROSMARINO, quite close to the magical public gardens.
We chose this in part due to my partner’s difficulty in walking, but it proved to be a lovely place.

We ate there once…last night. So imagine that this afternoon when I was walking around, I stopped in to confirm our return booking for tonight. Imagine, too, that as soon as I entered, during busy lunch hour, I heard a call from the rear of the restaurant “Erica, Erica…you’ve come back!!” And then the owner (??) not sure of her position there but she is obviously in charge, rushed out to offer hugs and kisses on both cheeks!! This is after seeing me once, for dinner last night!!! Can’t you imagine this happening in New York City??

In any case, we obviously liked the restaurant enough that we booked for the second night in a row…so will be there again at 8:30. (Booking absolutely necessary here, and do this a few days ahead of time if possible)

Last night’s dinner, starring my favorite spaghetti with ricci di mare (one of the daily specials); I had ordered a secondi of a fish special but was able to cancel due to my being too full to even contemplate a second course. (Of course, none of this stopped me from raiding the mini-bar about 3am to snack on the donkey “asino” sausage that I had purchased in Ragusa…PLEASE tell me that it not possible to gain ten pounds in 3 weeks…(!!!)

Without further charlando…here are some pics fro last night’s dinner at ROSMARINO in Taormina…Via Bagnoli Croce, 88b.

Partner ordered only this primi; long pasta with meatballs (not the actual name on menu). Verdict was “very good, but not GREAT.”

My order was the special, spaghetti (spaghettoni??) with ricci, which I thought tremendous, both in texture and flavor as well as portion size. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, had to cancel second (fish) course, as I was too full to even contemplate.

Let’s see what tonight will bring.

Spaghetti with Ricci di Mare…ROSMARINO, Taormina:


Big letdown to be back in NYC…can I ever be satisfied with food here at home after this trip? In my book, the best eggplant Parmigiana came from DiPalo on Grand/Mott, one of the lone survivors of what was once a thriving Italian barrio, now referred to as “Little Italy.” No question that DiPalo is the best Italian market in Manhattan (adore some of the shops in Arthur Avenue area in Belmont, Bronx, but hard to shop there and bring treats home on the train…)…love the family owners (believe parents emigrated from Avellino, Campania…)

But after last night’s dinner (“last supper” of the trip,) I now know that what I thought was the very best eggplant parm in the world, is NOT the best at all. I know this because last night, our last night in Sicily, we had an eggplant parmesan which must be the best rendition of this dish existent. How many ingredients are in this dish? Not all that many, right? So if each and every ingredient is top of the line in taste, the result is enough to put you (me) on another planet. So that’s the very long and convoluted way of saying that the eggplant appetizer we shared for our last Sicilian meal was a dish I will never forget. When I make tomato sauce I add a tsp of sugar. The tomatoes here are so sweet on their own that adding sugar would likely be unthinkable. (I think these came from Pachino, near Ragusa).

Getting back the point…about to fall asleep and will return once I am up and capable of writing again…


Europeans say the same thing after visiting the US.

Our hotel porter in Florence lamented the fact that he could no longer find true mac n cheese and a real solid cheeseburger, with “American” cheese.

And he really missed his Krispy Kreme donuts


Will try to conclude report here. We had 2 dinners in Taormina at ROSMARINO and will staunchly recommend as a solid place to dine. Follow the advice of the Owner, Rita, but as far as we realized during two dinners, all dishes were very good. It was also close enough to our hotel VILLA BELVEDERE, that partner could make it ok walking, slowly.

ON the third and last night of our trip, I had booked a car and a reservation at a macceleria that turned into a restaurant at meal times…I was out of sorts with excitement. Both about the drive along the northern Etna slopes to Linguaglossa, and about the meat-based menu. It was not be be, as partner could not fathom so long in the car given his impending hip surgery next week. I was so chuffed for this meal that I did consider going it alone but in the end, decided to stay “at home,” in Taormina, and have some good food; one aspect of decision was that we had a wake-up call at 4:45 to get to Catania airport the next morning. (I do regret now that I did not take the trip, solo, to Linguaglossa, but for next time, maybe book a night or two in the area…) Also, price each way, according to hotel, would have been 80euro each way…)

Tell me that this does not look amazing!?!?!



So here are the last photos of this trip, taken at OSTERIA LE TRE VIE a bit outside Taormina centro (must take taxi; it is below the Excelsior Palace Hotel). This was a last minute choice, as I mentioned as we were slated to dine in Linguaglossa but partner was not up to the ride; let’s root for him with his surgery next week.

SO…LE TRE VIE enjoys en excellent view from the outdoor tables and even a good view indoors, where we sat. We liked this place a lot! I always thought that DiPalo in NYC had the best eggplant parm ever; sorry but the sauce at Le Tre Vie, and just the entire preparation, was as if angels had come down from the skies and concocted this dish. The sweetness of the tomatoes in the sauce (Pacchino?) made me positive that they did not have to add that teaspoon of sugar as I do at home in USA. I could eat this every day of my life and be happy.

I am sorry but at this home computer cannot seem to drag photos…

Will try again, and add the lovely gift bestowed on us at HOTEL VILLA BELVEDERE …will try on laptop later.
Suffice to say, memory of this trip brings tears to my eyes aand I am not sure if I can even think about next Italian trip trip but anyplace other than Sicily…but do you know how close Messina is to Reggio??? I could have swum in my earlier days…so maybe combination of Sicily with Basilicata? I hope I am fortunate enough to repeat this most magical journey.


I am so glad you had a wonderful time, and best wishes for your partner’s successful surgery.
Congratulations on so many wonderful eating experiences!


Osterie di Tre Vie: A fried cheese dish, beyond my wildest dreams:

Interior…became filled very quickly after we arrived; note olive oil in use here:

Golosa pizza:

Arividerci from staff at Villa Belvedere, Taormina:

Even in Catania airport:

Magical…magical, magical…thanks all for sticking with me!



Loved your reports! Thank you!


Erica, I’ve loved following your trip. Thank you for taking us along.

As to Sicilian food in NYC, have you tried Norma?

Would be interested to hear your take if so. Well, moreso if you go after this trip :slight_smile:

Also for more light bites/sweets Pane Pasta in the Village is good, but I haven’t been in 3 years.

Tom that is a good tip, as I live not too far away (the MH location) and have a hankering for Sicilian food in a big way. I’m very curious about Norma (besides, it is my favorite opera!) so will make a foray as soon as possible, and will report back. Menu looks very good.