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Apr 20, 2011 10:59 AM

Is the Osterie d'Italia 2011 worth getting?

I'm going to Sicily in a few weeks and want to have a really good restaurant guide. I found a list of SlowFood picks on this board but I want to know if this list comprises all the Sicily restaurants in the book or is it just the top picks. How comprehensive is this book? Any suggestion on where can I buy it in the States? Thanks a lot for your help.

Don ciccio, Bagheria (Pa)
U locale, Buccheri (Sr)
Trattoria del crocifisso, da baglieri, Noto (Sr)
Trattoria del gallo, Palazzolo Acreide (Sr)
Osteria paradiso, Palermo
Piccolo napoli, Palermo
Da salvatore, Petralia Soprana (Pa)
Fratelli borrello, Sinagra (Me)
Vite e vitello, Siracusa

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  1. Those are certainly not all the SlowFood places in Sicily. The last list available free online is from 2006, and it lists many more. It's at

    You can order the book from, with shipping charges. Someone said a while ago that it's available at the Rizzoli bookstore in NYC.

    2 Replies
    1. re: zerlina

      Are you sure that's the correct link. It appears to be dead.

      1. re: psawce

        I have it in History, and it works for me but evidently not as a pasted link. Go to Scroll down to Scelti per Voi, midway down, black on blue ground. Click on it, then click on Scelti per Voi at the top of the new page. Then you choose by region and province.

    2. if you run a search of Slowfood and Sicilia,IT on the restaurant page, you generate the following list. with 48 names from the 2010 guide - Click on any name on the list and underlying information in the database appears for the restaurant. The databasie is gradually being added to so it will include the full slowfood list but I venture to say that most of the areas that will be relevant to your trip are already covered. Since the principle of this database is to seek to identify the restaurants of greatest interest to chowhounds (as opposed to general interest tourists) the database also includes restaurants (often a bit more expensive since Slowfood has a 35E cutoff) from Gambero Rosso, Michelin, Gambero rosso Lowcost, L'Espresso, Chowhound, and other online sources. If you search each of your destination points on that page it will give you nearby restaurants.

      In terms of the Osterie Guide, it is not available in the States except by mailorder from Italian online booksellers like Slowfood will not ship to the US as they used to do. I dont want to discourage you from buying the book but frankly you can probably get enuf info to serve your purposes without it.

      11 Replies
      1. re: jen kalb

        Thanks a lot! Very useful info.

        1. re: psawce

          you are welcome. I hope that as time goes by this info will be updated by a lot more first person itinerary discussions and reports, including yours!

          1. re: jen kalb

            Jen, I have the 2007 edition of Slwo Food's Osterie e Locanda (bought a few years ago for $29 at Kitchen Arts and Letters), which lists 148 places in Sicily, some of which are hotels or agriturismi. The 2011 list of "chiocciole" (snail) restaurants--those recognized as especially Slow Food-ish--include 14 in Sicily; in 2007, eight were so designated. I suspect there might be some confusion between all the places listed in the SlowFood guide and those that also carry the Slow Food snail designation.

            1. re: bob96

              @ Zerlina. I mentioned that Rizzoli probably had the Gambero Rosso, not the Slow Food Guide.
              @psawce We use the Slow food guide for osterie and we dutifully but our new copy each year. However, we find Gambero Rosso's one, two, and three "Gamberi" much, much better in picking osterie. They are more particular and for us, over a long period of time, have been spot on (95% reliability) in terms of osterie and great food and wine. There are many listed for Sicily.

              1. re: bob96

                my 2010 Osterie guide has 96 major entries, along with some of those tag entries for bakeries, gelaterias etc at the bottom of columns and a list of places for sfiinciuni in Palermo. so I am about half way there in date entry for these - the island will be last. As you point out the entries with the Snail designation are fewer and thats the current list, above. i wish they would republish the combined guide since there is not way I would ever carry two books around.

                  1. re: allende

                    they put out a combined osterie e locande book in English a few years ago.
                    thats what Bob is referencing

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      Thanks, Jen and all for clearing this up. This is the book I have. Jen, the 2010 Osterie guide you have is the Slow Food Osterie guide, right? I've got an old Gambero Rosso guide to Rome (in English) but now may well order their 2010 national guide from IBS. Picked up their Almanacco di BereBene magazine guide to value wines at the Naples airport a few years ago and it's very useful.

                      Gambero Rosso
                      Piazza Marconi 7, Vernazza, Liguria , IT

                      1. re: bob96

                        thats right. I have the 2010 Osterie guide in addition to the 2007 combined book and some older Osterie Guides. IBS is a pretty good resource for ordering all this stuff. theyyalso have a new Gambero Rosso Lowcost guide which is a nice slim paperback and ovelaps a lot with slowfood ( I read somewhere that there used to be some kind of relationship between Gambero rosso and the Slowfood group which is over now, so GR is branching out into the lower cost realm). The GR national book appears worthwhile, also.

                        Gambero Rosso
                        Piazza Marconi 7, Vernazza, Liguria , IT

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          If you compare prices and shipping charges, I think you'll find that is cheaper than IBS.

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            Thanks a lot for all the info. How about the Michelin guide? Has anybody ever used it in Sicily? I know it lists what may be considered a different type of restaurant, but in general is it a good guide?

          2. We've used the Slow Food Osterie D'Italia on trips to Italy for the last ten years and found it to be a great guide. Moat of our favorite meals in Italy came through the Osterie Di'Italia. We also like Gambero Rosso (and now use their iPhone app). The one problem with the Slow Food guide is that it is big and heavy, and you either tear out the pages for the region you are going to, or shlep the whole thing. After reading this thread, I just found that you can now buy an eBook version that works on any computer, iPhone, Android, etc. Not sure if Kindle will open generic epub books or not.


            Although their registration page has blanks for IVA number and Coda Fiscale, they are not required. I paid by credit card, but PayPal was also an option.

            1. My wife and I have been going to northern Italy for about 12 years. It’s hard to convey the fun we’ve had searching out the restaurants from our now fairly tattered, English version Osterie & Locande D’Italia. Sometimes it takes hours to find these places. We have discovered areas we would have never seen trying to find our little Slow Food choices in the countryside. Usually in March, we just drive around northern Italy in a rental car to wherever we feel like going with no particular itinerary. When we stop, we look in the book to see if there are any options nearby. The downside is we now have so many places to which we try to return each year.

              This year in exploring the Maremma, the coastal region of Tuscany, we couldn’t find an open hotel along the beach. We retreated to Grosseto to sleep and found Oste Scuro 10 km north of town in Braccagni for a fine meal using the guide. In Modena, we hit Stallo del Pomodoro, which wasn’t that easy to find on foot in the town center. After studying the 400 bottle Italian wine book (I ignored the separate French wine book), I found a very promising, inexpensive, 1997 candidate. Alas, the owner had taken the last 2 bottles home for himself. When I inquired if they were any good, he reported “outstanding”. Being alerted that we like aged wine, he replace my selection with a 1997 Barone Ricasoli, a “Tre Bicchieri” award winner. After dinner, he served a 1984 dessert wine and insisted upon a special Grappa (local grapes-Piemonte winery) digestive after dessert. Oh, the food was outstanding too.

              The most outstanding experience was Osteria Sali E Tabacchi in Mandello Del Lario on the Lecco arm of Lake Como. After driving down from Merano in the Alto Adige via St. Moritz, Switzerland on our way to Milan, we stopped at a lakeside hotel north of Lecco that was open. After consulting the book, we asked the desk to call for a reservation to be sure they were open. The osteria chef’s wife inquired if we knew how to get there and then offered to come get us, which we gladly accepted. The ride up the hill to the osteria revealed a stunning lake view. Chef Gabriele summoned all of his English skills to explain every bit of the food, emerging from the kitchen for each course. His passion is the Valtellina Valley on the north end of Lake Como. Our wine (2007 Sandro Fay, “Carteria”) and dried beef, Bitto cheese with special crackers antipasti all came from the valley. I’m something of a Nebbiolo addict who knew nothing of Valtellina wine, but I’ve discovered 3 “Tre Bicchieri” in the 2011 Gamberro Rosso. We enjoyed an outstanding meal finishing with Braulio, a digestive infused with juniper berries.

              Oste Scuro
              Via Malenchini 38, Grosseto, Tuscany 58100, IT