Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Jan 6, 2011 09:45 AM

Palermo report

Here a report on last visit to Palermo, between X-mas and NYE.

First was some breakfast in a big coffee bar on Via Lincoln near our apartment; coming from the sea the second on the right. Great coffee, of course, immense amount of quality typical sweets, very good arancini, but nicest of all, other nice stuff like baked pasta, grilled veg, some stewed meats, chestnut filled pork, couscous: tasty. Nice place.

Sapori Perduti had our lunch reservation, at 14:30. Arriving 15:00, we were too late… so off to Antico Caffee Spinnato, a guidebook classic always opened. Bistecca palermitano not very good too many oily bread crums, cannelloni almost American style…

Dinner was Sant’Andrea, an old time favorite of mine. The menu looked stunning, maybe more sophisticated then ever. Antipasti were average with one very nice exception of which I forgot the name… Pasta con le sarde average or maybe even bland… Ravioli lacked all taste, bad. In general they seemed to be out of salt…
Mains were swordfishrole, which was a bit bland too and to light on the fish, filled squid was very nicely cooked, but the filling had so much grinded black pepper that the rest of the tastes were lost… Disappointment. Seen previous great experiences a second chance…?

Next day, all time favorite Zia Pina! (here you get the above as it should be) Here antipasti abound, many classics, all very tasty and fresh. Happy to be back! Pasta con vongole got uncountable ‘mmm’’s from my partner! Pasta with swordfishsauce was very nice. The seafood fritta supertasty and perfect texture, the grilled shrimp divine as well as the mullet!
(just try all the odd little fish here if you never have!)

Dinner: Acantu Blu. Advised here on Chow and by at least two Sicilians. Fava soup could not be eaten! (At maestro del brodo the have the real thing). Of the pasta botarga one can only assume how high the fish jumped over the saucepan… Cod fritta lacked taste, the fennel/orange salad was nicest dish of the evening (real nice). He grilled fish on spinach was an average dish, well prepared, but not special and lacking any distinctive taste.

Lunch: going down from the Chinese gate passing the cathedral first right, then left, down, first place at the right at the crossing. Small street place. Very very good pasta aglio olio peperoncini. Pasta marinara was good enough too. Grilled veal not so unfortunately. Pasta is a come back though.

Dinner: new one in town, Donna Ina.
Antipasti: perfectly grilled scallop on an amazing apple cardemom sauce. Divine. Two star quality. Wow. (9.5/10 score) Raw scallop filled swordfishrole style with mandarin skin: delicious! Squid linguini with lemon was a bit off, to much lemonsauce taste in the dish. Bucattini with ricci: perfect sauce. Really good. But buccatini, no, too overpowering. Tasca d’Almerita Grillo Whitaker very nice combi with antipasti. And now I seem to have forgotten the secundi… will be back (for the scallops and to post the secundi, which were average, that I remember - on of us had beef or lamb, the other...)

Colagero in Mondello: this time the seafood risotto was too mashed up. Pasta con vongole average. Squid average. Fried cozze OK.

Cocktail bar on top of Grand Albergo Sole near quatri canti unfortunately not open.

No time for Mi Mando Picone winebar on via Marconi…

Dinner: Entered Cana winebar… Had a Benanti 2003 Etna Rosso with many great cuts of meat! Mortadella with truffle was a full 10/10. WOW. Also had a great zibibbo wine, but have to call them back for the winemaker’s name…
Then saw across from Cana a new (1 year exactly) bar where there was a party. Great cocktails!! Heavy on the liquor. They served us free tasty antipasti. If they tell about the restaurant, it is a good place. Nice atmosphere, more antipasti and cocktails… no dinner haha…

Lunch: back to Zia Pina ☺

Homecooking for breakfast: mostly all kinds of sausages…yummy. Market score: piselli, ricotta salata, panteleria salted capers, strattu, peperoncini. Nyam.

On the list for next time since good Gambero rosso score + good reviews from Sicilian frieds: Gigi Mangia. Also curious about Bellotero.
(they say btw: Ai Mandarini has lost it a bit, Scuderia maybe even more, Risterantino Average - but, they like Acanto Blu...).
Not visited this time, but worth a trip: Bye Bye Bleus.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Ah, Sicily. Just thinking about it takes me back to glorious food and warm people! Thanks for the detailed report about your eats in Palermo - sounds wonderful. Did you perchance drive in Palermo? Quite the experience!

    Will save this yummy information for our next trip.

    1. Very helpful, thank you. I will be visiting Palermo for the first time in a couple of months and cannot wait to try the food!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Leely2

        Have fun! If I may summarize, for two great meals, and opposites: Zia Pina (lunch) and Bye Bye Bleus. If you're into wine Mi Mando Picone (afternoon) and Cana (most evenings) have knowledgeable staff and good collections.
        Hope to hear your experiences! Enjoy!

        1. re: Willem

          Thank you! I will certainly report back. I have found it a bit difficult to get much current Sicily dining info (in English, anyway).

      2. We're going to be there in late May - Please give me an idea of the price range.


        1 Reply
        1. re: sheilah

          hmmm, prices, dont really know, let me try (pp):

          big coffee bar on Via Lincoln, espresso 0,70; arancini 1,- or less, full dish maybe 3,50

          spinato: around 10,- for a dish I guess, dont go

          Sant'andrea: around 30,- excl. wine

          Zia Pina, can have glass of wine + pasta and some fish for 10,- or less, for 15,- more, 25,- for 1/2l wine, water, full antipati, pasta, shrimp, calamari, swordfish, seabass... (all, no dinner needed after)

          Acantu Blu: 25,-

          Lunch: going down from the Chinese gate passing the cathedral first right, then left, down, first place at the right at the crossing. Small street place. : <10,-

          Donna Ina:45,-

          Colagero in Mondello: 15+

          Gigi Mangia: depending on choice I guess 35,- to 50,-?

          Bellotero I guess 25,-?

          Bye Bye Bleus. from 30,- to 75,- incl. wine pairing, a bargain for the quality

          NB: wine in restaurant is retial price compared to Northern Europe, so it is well worth taking a more expensive bottle