10 days in Eastern Sicily in February!
My husband and I are both chefs and planning to spend 10 days in Eastern Sicily. We need recommendations on the path to take, cool and cheap places to stay, and the best places to eat! Please help. Keep in mind we are on a budget!! Thanks
I lived just north of catania for 3 years. I love Acitrezza! Any restaurant in the center of town near the water is amazing. The freshest seafood/pasta you have ever eaten. I lived in the town of acireale and can recommend Vecchia Aci restaurant. It is a beautiful city. Also, if you want to drive up toward Etna, eat at Antica Orto dei Limoni in Nicolosi. Beautful views of Etna. Eat some bruscetta and order the house wine.
Two years ago in spring, we spent 10 days in Eastern Sicily, starting in Catania, then driving down south as far as Ragusa and Noto. The Catania market and the Siracusa fish market are not to be missed. There is wonderful stand up bar food at Catania, a surprising interesting cities. The area is not for high profile chef restaurants but for wonderful fresh ingredients simply prepared. The best swordfish, lamb and goat, citrus, big big sweet peppers, eggplants, almonds, ricotta. The pastries are beautifully made but generally a bit too sweet for my taste. Since this is a food related sight, can't go too much detail on other subjects other than that simple accommodations even in the center of town are quite inexpensive; beautiful architecture and natural scenery.
Try www.bbplanet.it for budget accommodations.
If you find your place with the help of this website then book directly (it is cheaper).
Not to miss in eastern Sicily, from north to south by car, a mixture of history, nature and culinary delights:
Parco della Valle dell’Alcantara
To get an idea have a look at the photo gallery in www.borghidellalava.it
Acireale (Carnival from February 19th to March 8th
In Sicily, generally speaking, with 30 Euro per person before wine you can gorge yourself with superbly cooked fresh fish. Once you have decided your itinerary, let us know, and we could help with focused recommendations for restaurants and local specialties.
Sicily is made for chefs! You are sure to love it. It is so true that Taormina is over-rated and expensive. Sure, it is pretty, but overrun with tourists (perhaps less so in February). Ragusa and Noto, a bit inland from the east coast, both have great restaurants. Goat is popular in several places in Sicily; in fact, that is where my husband and I fell in love with it. Of course the arancini is best there. Don't forget to try a spleen sandwich which is remarkably good and quite famous. It may be too early but Sicily is also known for its delicious wild asparagus in early Spring (probably more like March). The cannoli and caponata are the best I've had anywhere in Italy.
Ask the locals to show you where to pry whimpets from rocks (easier with a blade) to eat raw. Of course, Sicily is also known for its sea urchin.
Do you have your own transportation? Would it be possible to go a bit west inland to Piazza Armerina (it would be a pity to miss the second best mosaics on the planet) and up to Cefalu?
Have a wonderful, wonderful time!
If you are talking about food (and that is all we are allowed to talk about on Chowhound!) Taormina is both expensive and restaurant quality there tends to be very poor because of the mass tourist impact.
Two places I would not want to miss in Eastern Sicily as a food lover: the town of Bronte for its pistachios and the food markets of Catania.
Sicily has the best street food I've tasted in Italy, and it is cheap. Festivals in Italy are often food-centric and an occasion to sample lots of unique treats. There are several in eastern Sicily in February