Taormina / Catania recommenndations
I will be travelling to Sicily in a month and I was hoping some chowhounds would recommend a few decent restaurants in Taormina (we're there for 3 nights) and Catania (1 night). I guess we're looking for 1 high-end place and 2 cheaper seafood / pizza places in Taormina. Open to any suggestion in Catania as it will be the last night of our holiday.
Dave, I lived around Taormina and Catania for the past 30 or so years and here's what I'd recommend. In Taormina just inside the Catania gate is Nero D'Avola, Salvatore the owner and chef knows every source personally for very product and wine served in the restaurant. Every porcini that is served is foraged by Salvo as well as much of the wild mountain veggies. A master's knowledge of wine, few people on etna or the island know as many wine producers as him.
More upscale is the Shalai Resort hotel in Linguaglossa, I think it will be the next Michelin star restaurant on the island. The young chef Giovanni spent 2 years with Pino Cuttaia at his 2 star Michelin restaurant in Licata and is one of the best young working chefs today in Sicily.
Your problem is Catania, no one in the city is currently turning out fantastic food that you'll remember for the rest of your days. The simpler the better when it comes to fish so if you have transportation in Catania take a 12km drive to AciTrezza and eat some fish at il Covo Marino, perhaps the best fish place on this side of the island, If you need some suggestions for Catania drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org when you get into the area or on FaceBook at Brandon.Tokash http://www.ilcovomarino.it/
My favourite meal in Catania was at a place called Trattoria Paglia - almost smack dab in the middle of the fish market. It's very simple but has great seafood. We were greeted by an older woman who spoke little English but told us (somehow0 what to eat and drink and everything was delicious and fresh.
Right next door to it is a much more formal restaurant - Antica Osteria Marina - which appears to be THE place to go for seafood. Quite a bit more expensive and, although the food was good, I have to say I preferred being bossed around by Mama at the other place. This one is a white tablecloth joint and draws quite an affluent-looking crowd. Which is odd because Catania is such a mess of a town - I mean that in the nicest possible way. It's a fascinating place.