Sicily teems with the globe’s most beloved UNESCO world heritage sites, and Palermo, the capital city in the north, is no exception to the beautiful, richly historic surroundings of this Mediterranean island. Locals love to boast about Palermo’s melting pot of international culinary traditions — after all, it’s where Europe ends and Africa begins. So check out our 13 best restaurants in Palermo to visit today.
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1. Ostaria Dei Vespri
In the beating heat of a baroque piazza sits a tourist’s treat. Ostaria dei Vespri is an ideal haunt to watch portgoers go by near the island coast. Visitors can expect heaps of traditional foods served outside among courtyard tables nestled in a stone, sun-wrapped space. Expect seafood paired precisely with a specialist wine list courtesy of the staff’s expertise.
Fancy a road trip to the north of Palermo? BàrFarm is a half-hour journey by car from the centre — and well worth the effort.
A rural setting greets the visitor as BàrFarm is more in the countryside, less in the city. A long driveway brings you to a green locale populated with tall trees. That’s because, true to its name, this is an actual farm with animals. Enjoy the scenery with its outdoor seating with a glass of wine, a place specialised for warm evenings under Sicilian sunsets.
Nearby BàrFarm, Tctroro is in the heart of a tennis club for visitors to enjoy after sports. Its blue poolside setting has impressed many happy customers. One even called it the “new eden”, with a menu that stays true to traditional Sicilian delights.
4. Zia Pina
Looking for a lighter dining experience? Head to the sleek white interiors of Zia Pina, a seafood eatery only a walk away from Palermo’s portside. Swordfish, cuttlefish, and tuna are each served with sumptuous servings of spaghetti. Again guests are welcome to pair their meals with drinks, this time with a “home wine” perfect for end-of-day activities.
Situated snugly in the old town among yellow and white apartment buildings, Gagini is a fashionable and stylish restaurant with a prestigious background in the arts. Awarded with a Michelin star for high quality cooking and homage to the past (i.e. the building was once home to Italian sculptor Antonello Gagini), this restaurant attracts an international crowd. Nevertheless, they still leave room for the new and exciting. “A workshop on contemporary cuisine”, their website says temptingly. So prepare for pleasant surprises.
6. Buatta Cocina Popolana
Seasonal menus are royalty at Buatta Cocina Popolana. Sustainable fishing brings in the goods, with sardine and pasta being favourites among professional reviewers. With smart presentation in the historic cobble-stoned alleyways of Palermo’s city centre, this one refuses to be missed.
7. Sesto Canto
For upscale, refined dinner during a quick tour around the best places to eat in Palermo Sicily, Sesto Canto is one of the most tourist friendly spots one can find. Pizzas are readily available on the menu, specially cooked from scratch on a wood stove. Take a step inside an elegant, modern interior for a truly pleasant experience in the city.
Take a spin on a small roundabout to get to Sikulo north of Palermo’s city centre. Set in the bustling and busy outskirts of the Politeama-Libertá district, Sikulo serves daily menus with careful attention to the finer dinner details. Mains come with plenty of organic vegetables, with tomatoes and plenty of pesto. Even beef is available for those seeking an alternative to Sicilian seafood dishes.
9. Carizzi D’Amuri
There is a hidden place down a narrow street in the Kalsa district. Follow the bright sandstone walls of Via Lungarini and visitors will find Carizzi D’Amuri, a passion project shared and co-run by two brothers.
Everyone loves the level of service here. Both the food and the company provide a unique experience for all. “Life is beautiful” is the typical motto of the team on social media, treating every new guest like family. Don’t forget the food is some of the highest rated throughout the whole city, indisputably a top restaurant in Palermo.
10. Ristorante la Galleria
A rustic, classic setting harking back to days long past in the city’s long history stimulates a warm feeling in every visitor. Blond wood interiors, colourful wine-bottle stacks on wall shelves, and a quaint alleyway immediately outdoors to boot. Ristorante la Galleria is a foodie’s paradise. Go for the vegetable caponata or grilled dishes for instant memories.
11. Ristorante L’Ottava Nota
Bright, passionate, and excellent are three words that describe this well-loved spot in the city. Ristorante l’Ottava Nota is big on smooth and creamy dishes, imbued with a Sicilian heart. The restaurant also incorporates wider Italian tastes. Take for instance the Risotto ai Fichi D’India, using pear cream to give this one a distinctly continental feel.
12. MEC Restaurant
This is a hospitality venue with an other-worldly vision. Taking inspiration from the tech sector (the owners directly attribute their ideas to Apple founder, Steve Jobs), MEC restaurant has quirky futuristic props indoors, with displays showing LED lights and computer setups. The food, on the other hand, is another story, staying deeply steeped in Sicilian customs — homemade pastas, lasagnes, and mouth-watering pastries, all with creative menu names. In their own words, a MEC dish is “typical but not too typical.”
An ambitious Palermo restaurant that is well worth the visit. The owner is a self-starter who found quick success serving up some of Sicily’s finest, with a slight personal twist. Surrender to Bebop’s wine pairing list for a most impressive evening in Palermo Sicily.
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