Foodie Finds in Siracusa and Taormina:
When eating in a Sicilian restaurant, I can promise you one thing: you will soon become suspicious that every establishment has the exact same menu. I can confirm that you are not crazy; somehow, each Sicilian restaurant puts just enough of a twist on their version of the classics for you to give it another go. My eating days pretty much went like this: eggplant, pistachios, pasta, fish, repeat. You’ll order the pasta all norma and then swear to yourself that tomorrow you’ll try something new. Will you actually do this? Probably not. Will you still be happy? Yes.
In Siracusa I tried pistachio pesto for the first time at Osteria da Seby. I'm not a die-hard pesto fan normally; however, the pistachio pesto converted me to the pesto bandwagon. Pistachios are native to Sicily, so it's the star of the show in Sicilian recipes. I recommend stocking up with jars of it at local food markets. For dessert in Siracusa, head over to Cannoli da Re.
In Taormina, make sure to snag a reservation at Vicolo Stretto. It’s accessible only through a narrow passage (stretto is narrow in Italian), and request a table outside with a view.
The one meal I dream, and redream about, happened in the town of Noto, at Contina con Cucina. If you can envision San Francisco like hills, with tables balancing on the cobblestone street, and the smell of fresh Italian pasta wafting through the air, you'll get the picture.
I ended up in this tiny restaurant after a tour guide recommended it; even though I was staying 25 minutes away, I decided to trust the local advice and hop in the car. Not only did I love walking around this magical hilltop city at dusk, but the recommendation was worth the adventure! I ordered the most perfect eggplant parmesan (eggplant parm is to my family what a perfect steak is to other families), and grilled swordfish with potatoes
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