We spent a few days in Palermo recently, and ate extremely well in several restaurants mostly near our hotel on the via Roma.
We stayed in the Grand Albergo delle Palmes, a transformed 19th century grand villa, which we highly recommend, both for the space and service. Also for the enormous breakfast buffet with several kinds of cornetti and other baked goods, cakes, tarts, an array of Italian cheeses and salumi, baskets of oranges and other fresh fruits, bacon, sausages, eggs, yoghurt, and assemble-your-own cannoli. Not to mention the room full of people speaking Italian engaged in demonstrating that not all Italians limit their breakfasts to espresso and a pastry.
We ate exceptionally good takes on classic Sicilian food at Trattoria Ai Cascinari and Ristorante Lo Scudiero, where the chef works magic with fresh fish and the selection of local wines is exceptional. We were very happy to find Oste dello Stabile, with its innovative versions of traditional dishes and a list of local wines by the glass that strongly encouraged exploration. Our favorite of the restaurants we sampled, however, was Risto Seto Canto, where the selection of local wines was even broader and the quality of the cooking was exceptionally fine.
We had been encouraged to learn about street food, so with the help of Giorgio of Palermo Street Food, we spent four hours roaming the Capo Market and the surrounding streets. We ate an incredible array of foods, from snails to olives and cheeses to panelle to sfincione and frittola to aranchini and pane con la milza.
My wife and I usually do not take tours, happy to discover on our own, but in this case Giorgio was extremely helpful in putting the food we were eating in the context of Sicilian history and food culture. I was reminded over and over that in the American South, where I grew up, we also learned to eat everything but the squeal.
Our interest in Palermo's street food also took us to Nino u' Ballerino, two rooms on a corner, with a market out front and a buffet of street food inside, definitely worth a stop on any visit to Palermo.
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