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Have you just disembarked from your cruise ship at Catania’s harbour? Or have you just landed at the local airport? Well, resist to the desire of swimming into the blue Sicilian sea, do not hurry immediately to the top of the volcano Etna. Take your time, relax, smell jasmines and … Sicilian food! Take a nice tour and go discover the taste and flavour of special food in a special city: Catania.

You eat very well, in Catania. There is a great choice of restaurants: expensive and elegant ones, cheaper, crazy and original ones! Do sit, and enjoy the typical Catanese dishes, so delicious. Local fish, local country’s products – from the very fertile volcanic soil, the sweets of an age-old tradition. It is difficult to name just a few places where to eat good food. Take our suggestion and go visit the best areas for the best food in Catania.

Good food tour at the Piscarìa

A Piscarìa, the Fish Market, in Catania is a must for all tourists. This is the area that most reminds of a traditional Arab market, with vendors shouting incomprehensible words, or singing ancient calls. Fresh fish is shown still alive to buyers. Sometimes they slice it in front of them, in a bloody ritual that will inspire confidence in the quality of the food, anyway.

And if the fathers still fish in the deep waters of the Ionian Sea, the sons have worked hard to build something original. So when the fish stalls close their doors in the middle of the morning, what has not been sold becomes serving dishes in the typical trattorias that now surround the area. The drawback is that you often eat “in the company” of the smell of fish . The advantage is that you are sure to eat high quality fish, just caught. Open for both lunch and dinner, these fish trattorias are certainly the best places where to eat in Catania.

Tour of nice small restaurants


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AndreaTartaglia, CC Wikimedia Commons

The nicest, most extravagant and original food area of Catania has developed a little further than the Pescheria and Piazza Duomo. Following the Via Etnea up to the large Bellini park, you can deviate at any time towards the Teatro Massimo (going down Via di San Giuliano and taking Via Rapisardi or Via Invalidi di Guerra towards the theater square). This is an area that cleverly mixes fine restaurants for the opera lovers and pubs for young people. An interesting variety that also guarantees quality.

Typical restaurants are also found along the romantic Via dei Crociferi, between baroque churches and stairways. But the top is definitely Via Santa Filomena, crossroads of Via Umberto – a big street that opens right in front of the Bellini park. Via Santa Filomena is a lovely alley that descends along a series of stepped floors. It is entirely dedicated to food: trattorias, restaurants, colorful, original, imaginative pubs welcome those who love to eat well and favor a tour of those who know how to adapt to the Sicilian ironic spirit.

Numerous ethnic restaurants are also  flourishing in Catania, run by immigrants or lovers of the exotic recipes. They are mostly found in the Station area or along Via Vittorio Emanuele. Before booking, however, it is better to find out about the actual quality of these brand new places.

Street food, tour in the oldest Catania

Our tour must also include Catania street food, cooked and consumed on the sidewalk. Stuff for real tough guys here! First of all,you have to go and look for it in the ancient- and often unsafe! – heart of the city, such as Via del Plebiscito, Piazza Federico di Svevia, and … in the evening. Second: before enjoying it you often have to queue, in the heat or in the rain. Finally,  you sit down where it happens to.

In return, however, you can enjoy excellent portions of bread stuffed with everything! Especially with horse meat, which in Sicily is a “national” dish as it is in Islamic countries. A must: the spiced horse  meatball, the veal meatball roasted in the lemon leaf.

The best desserts

The best cafes, the historic pastry shops, in Catania are located in the stretch of Via Etnea that

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photo by pistacchissimo it

leads from Piazza Duomo to Villa Bellini. Along this route, you can choose any cafe and be sure to order absolute delicious things. Also excellent are the pastry shops located on the Lungomare seafront street near the port of Ognina. But if Catania as a city has very precise sweets boundaries, its district completes the tradition of good desserts very well.

For the best granita ice creams of Eastern Sicily, in fact, you can also cross over to the nearby Aci Trezza. Or go up to the Baroque squares of Acireale and enjoy as many as you want in the pastry shops that, in this town, have made granita a myth! A name and a quality of the Catania confectionery tradition are nougats. To find the original ones you will have to reach Belpasso, on the south side of  Mount Etna. It is not Catania center, but it is part of the great area of Catanese gastronomic tradition and a few more kilometers will not change things.

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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