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Sicily’s most famous dishes include pasta con le sarde (pasta with sardines, fennel, peppers, capers and pine nuts) and arancini (hot rice balls stuffed with ragu, mozzarella or both).
As for afters, Sicily’s ice creams are fantastic, while some diners simply sip granita – semi-frozen flavoured drinks which are heaven on a hot day. For something a bit heavier, try cassata – a rich ricotta cake – or cannoli (pastry tubes piped with cream, ricotta and chocolate).
Renowned for its beaches and sun-soaked Baroque towns, the southeast is also Sicily’s restaurant hotspot. Eight of the island’s dozen Michelin stars have been earned here, with four of them spread among three Ragusa restaurants. Top of the list is the two-starred Duomo (Via Capitano Bocchieri 31); its delicate dishes reference the various cultures that have conquered Sicily over the years.
Nearby Licata has the other two-star winner: La Madia (Corso Filippo Re Capriata 22) honours peasant traditions with plates like arancini in red-mullet-and-wild-fennel sauce.
Ragusa’s rival for Sicily’s best restaurants is Taormina, which has three separate one-star restaurants to go with its zillions of pizzerias and trattorias.
Where else to eat in Sicily? Capital Palermo boasts plenty of great dining spots. Locals congregate at Santandrea (Piazza Sant'Andrea 4), which is known for its tuna steaks, yet the real joy here is street food: try the pre-eminent La Vucciria market, or I Cuochini (Via Ruggero Settimo 68). The more daring options on offer here include pani ca meusa (cheesy rolls filled with sautéed tripe).
Dining in Sicily, rule one: there’s almost always somewhere good to eat. Each town has at least one amazing trattoria, and most have several. If possible, ask a local about where to eat in Sicily, or for your chosen region’s best places.
Examples include Porto Palo, a small community on the southwest coast, where TV chef Giorgio Locatelli recommends Da Vittorio Ristorante (Via Friuli Venezia Giulia 9). The impromptu pasta and grill menus at this beachside fish spot are dictated by the day’s catch – Sicilian dining at its most hopelessly romantic.