Sicily’s largest city is well-known for its world-class and delicious cuisine and is a place where it is almost impossible not to indulge.
Its street food, grilled fish and ricotta-filled pastries are just some of the incredible foods you can taste in Palermo.
If you are looking at holidays to Sicily, then you really need to stay at least a few days in the city to scratch the surface of Palermo’s iconic gastronomic scene.
Of course you won’t be able to eat everything in just one holiday to the city, but here is a guide to some of the best markets and restaurants you should visit on your next trip to the Sicily capital.
Mercato del Capo
Full of colour and vibrancy Capo’s street market, which runs the length of Via Sant’Agostino, has vendors peddling fresh fruit, fish, meat and vegetables all day long.
Valen Dawson, who runs the Eating the Globe blog, visited the famous market during a break in the city.
In a blog about the market, she says, “Discovering the Mercato di Capo in Palermo was like finding the Italy of my dreams. Locals filled the streets doing their shopping for the day.
“I felt like I had been cheated by what they consider to be produce fit for eating back in America. The fruits and vegetables at the Mercato di Capo were vibrant, fresh, and gleaming. Stalls of olives, wines, bread, cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes all beckoned me closer for a taste.”
It really is the beating heart of Palermo in so many ways and we highly recommend a visit here as you will get a flavour of the area.
Palermo is famed for its authentic street food and the Friggitoria Chiluzzo is a great example of this multicultural Sicilian city.
The cart serves a selection of fried snacks and is extremely popular amongst the locals. You can pick up square fritters topped with potato croquettes in a seeded bun and traditional meat ragu.
Snacking on the street is a proud, centuries-old tradition in Palermo and a visit here will demonstrate how the street food culture here remains true to its unpretentious roots.
By day Market Vucciria is a typical Sicilian market, but at night it transforms into a mass street party.
You will see open air tavernas selling wine and playing music, and street food stalls selling gorgeous food – from simple barbecued spring onions wrapped in pancetta to the most tender octopus caught on that very same day.
Being located just off Via Roma and Via Vittorio Emmanuelle and being hidden between traditional Italian buildings it just makes this market that bit more special.
Tuscany may be famed for its truffles, but Sicily’s raison d’etre is its incredible desserts and Pasticceria Cappello is regarded as a temple for pastry wrapped and deliciously stuffed sweet treats.
The well-known restaurant goes well beyond the classic ricotta-filled cannoli and is famed for inventing new sweets and other confectionary masterpieces.
There are appealing ice cream cakes, cakes, chocolate and a range of other types of dessert that you can taste. The Arabica white chocolate mousse and the red cherry vanilla baverese and creamy pistachio desserts are both extremely popular.
If you have a sweet tooth, then this is a must-visit place for you.
Gelateria La Delizia
Breakfast in Palermo is important and if you are looking for somewhere to enjoy a nice breakfast, then you should consider heading to Gelateria La Delizia.
Here you can start your day with some gelato that is layered inside a sweet brioche bun. You have a choice between nut, pastry and fruit flavours as well as coffee, pistachio and almond.
This traditional, family-run ice cream shop is well worth a visit as they also serve delicious granite and sorbet!
Ferro di Cavallo
After opening its doors back in 1944, it’s great that Ferro di Cavallo is still a bustling family-run trattoria. It serves a number of Sicilian classics like pasta con le sarde, which is a pasta dish with sardines, wild fennel, raisins and pine nuts.
With its rustic red walls and wooden tables, it really sets the scene as a classic Italian eatery and its menu backs this up with a number of traditional dishes.
Enjoy classic Italian lasagne or try stuffed squid for the first-time. Being in Palermo you won’t be disappointed by their desserts menu as there are a whole load of delicious concoctions that you can try.
Nino u’Ballerino is widely considered to be a culinary rite of passage for most visitors as here you can try a Pani C’a meusa, the must-have traditional sandwich. It is made with beef spleen and lung sprinkled with ricotta cheese, grated caciocavallo cheese, or a spritz of lemon juice all in a sesame bun.
Another reason the restaurant has become famous all over the world is down to the fact its food is very traditional. You can try a range of typical Sicilian gastronomy here such as battered hams, aubergine parmesan and lots of other iconic dishes.
The restaurant regularly plays host to a number of events so keep an eye out on their events page to see what is going on during your visit.
Those that love pizza will be spoilt for choice in Palermo and PerciaSacchi is regarded by many locals to serve the best pizza in the city.
The pizzas are made using ancient Sicilian stone-ground flours and even the toppings are seasonal and local.
The restaurant says, “Eating local and seasonal fruit and vegetables means relying on low-energy crops, avoiding production in heated greenhouses or those from distant countries. It also means enjoying the products when they are able to offer the most of their qualitative and tasteful features.
“A green bean or tomato grown outdoors and harvested in the right season is better than one in the greenhouse or that was still harvested and has travelled for thousands of miles!”
If you are heading to the pizzeria in a group of four you can even try their pizza-tasting menu as well as enjoy a tasty Timilia blonde ale.
Gagini Social Restaurant
Social by name and social by nature, the Gagini Social Restaurant puts you into a typical Italian meal-time experience with the family as diners share their food with each other.
The restaurant was the first social eatery to open in Palermo and the Gagini’s Hall is a place where people from around the world can sit side by side and where you can meet new people.
You will experience art, music and sociality at the Gagini Social Restaurant and is where the food helps to tell the story.
You should try the fresh and unique squid tagliatella or the lamb with potato and spinach.
Image Credit: Pmk58 (Wikimedia)