Sicily is an island of sunshine and good food! When visiting Catania, it would be a sin not to try the delicacies of the local Sicilian cuisine.
There are a lot of blog articles about Sicilian dishes that I am not going to duplicate here. I will present to you some of my favorite restaurants in the city center instead.
First, let me mention a few things about restaurants in Catania and Sicily in general.
- COPERTO – in restaurants, a small amount is added to the bill (€ 1 – € 3 per person). This is called table setting fee and its not a tip.
- TIP – Sicilians rarely tip, so if you don’t feel like it, don’t tip – no one will be offended for it. However, if you would like to reward the staff for good service and tasty food, a tip is greatly appreciated.
- VINO LOCALE – Many restaurants have both bottled and local wine options. Local wine is usually served in 0.25 liter, 0.5 liter or 1 liter carafes. It is cheaper than bottled wine and is often very good.
- PRICES – like everywhere else, in Catania you will find cheaper and more expensive options. Personally, I avoid very cheap restaurants. I had my restaurant here in Catania myself and I know well the costs of products, labor, rent, etc. If you want to save on food, just don’t go to the restaurant. There are other options to eat well and cheap.
Here is a list of my favorite restaurants in downtown Catania (the order is random):
- Da Mario, Via Crociferi – here you can taste traditional local Catana cuisine. You must order antipasto, which consists of several dishes such as cheese, cold cuts, olives, baked or pickled vegetables. Then choose a meat dish. The portions here are very generous. Prices with wine or beer are around € 15 – € 20 per person.
- Al Vicolo Pizza & Vino, Via del Colosseo – in my opinion, it is one of the best pizzerias in Catania. Standard prices are of approx. € 15 per person for pizza and beer. I also recommend the cheese and cold meats boards (I always order Tagliere Italiano Medio – it’s more than enough for two people) and roast meat dishes. In the evenings, there is also a cocktail bar open, where the drinks are really to die for! The place is almost always full, so if you want to sit down without a reservation, be there at around 7.30pm or call to book before.
- Vermut, Via Gemellaro – the place looks a bit trashy, but the food is very good here. The menu is huge. Snacks are served here in the form of tapas. You can choose from many local cheeses and cold cuts, casseroles, olives, etc. Cocktails, beer and an interesting wine list are also an advantage. The price, of course, depends on the quantity and quality, especially of alcohol. In general, you can have a drink and a snack here for just € 10.
- FUD, Via Santa Filomena – the best burgers in Catania. Of course, forget about McDonalds and other such kinds of fast food. FUD serves genuine local meat burgers with a variety of tasty toppings. There are also vege options. Pizza, salads and draft beer are also of high quality. The place is small and there are often queues to sit here. Prices from approx € 15 for a burger and beer.
- Il Sale Art Cafè – located on the same street as FUD, Via Santa Filomena. Delicious pizza and a restaurant based on local ingredients of very high quality. The dishes here are more sophisticated than in a traditional trattoria. Price for pizza and beer from € 15. You will pay no less than € 30 per person for a starter (antipasto), main course and a glass of wine. The food is delicious so it’s worth it! They have a great selection of wines, too.
- Steak House Braceria Catania, Via Porta di Ferro – steakhouse and pizzeria. You will find here a large selection of meats with various side dishes, such as baked potatoes or grilled vegetables. A carnivore’s paradise! The pizza in this restaurant is also very tasty. The Steak House has a wide list of fine beers and wines. For € 20 per person you can eat pretty well.
- La Pentolaccia, Via Coppola – traditional Sicilian restaurant with dishes based on meat and fish. Always fresh and tasty. In summer, ask for a table in the yard. Prices from € 20 for starter and main course with a glass of local wine.
- Trattoria di De Fiore (del Forestiero) also located in Via Coppola. This family trattoria is famous for its traditional Sicilian handmade pasta. Other dishes are delicious too, but signora De Fiore’s homemade pasta is a must! Prices from € 15 per person for main course and beer or local wine.
- A Putia Dell’Ostello, Piazza Currò – a characteristic aspect of this place is the underground river Amenano flowing down in the restaurant’s basement. Recently you have to pay € 1 to see the river, but if you eat in here you can go down for free. Good couscous, pizza and plates with small portions of different specialities are served at Ostello. Concerts and performances are often organized here. Overall a nice and laid back atmosphere. You will pay around € 15 for a meal and a drink.
- Cortile Alessi, Via Alessi – I love their backyard! Very nice atmosphere, good pizza and other dishes. Delicious cocktails, especially when there’s a bearded bartender! Gay friendly place. You can also come here just for a drink and a snack. Prices for pizza and beer from € 15.
- Nievski – on the same street as Cortile Alessi. This place is famous for its alternative atmosphere: a bit hippy style. The place is gay friendly, too. The couscous and veggie dishes are their speciality. Anyway, everything is tasty here. Prices from €15 for main course and beer.
- Pescheria Fratelli Vittorio near the port of Catania, Via Cardinale Dusmet – a restaurant next to the fish market serving typical Sicilian sea specialties. Always fresh and tasty. Fish is generally expensive, so if you want to eat good and fresh fish, unfortunately you have to spend some money. You will pay a minimum of €30 per person for a starter, main course and a glass of wine.
- La Fisharia, is situated in Via Rizzoli in the heart of Pescheria, the fish market in Catania. I must admit that it was not my love at first sight, but recently I got sincerely convinced to this restaurant and I recommend it to you with a clear conscience. Mainly fish-based dishes are served here. The portions are generous, well presented and most of all tasty! Standard prices for fish dishes start from €20 per person for the main course and a glass of wine.
- Scirocco Sicilian Fish Lab – located in Piazza Alonzo di Benedetto, right at the entrance to the fish market (famous Pescheria) just behind the Amenano Fountain. This is a place where you can have a quick snack at any time of the day. Scirocco is a Sicilian fast food service that serves quick, small fish-based dishes that start from around €5 per portion. The restaurant prepares take away dishes but also has a few tables outside where you can stop and eat while watching the bustle of the fish market.
In Catania you can also taste very good international cuisine. In my opinion, the best restaurants serving dishes from outside Italian cuisine are:
- Oxidiana, Via Conte Ruggero – known as one of the best Japanese restaurants in all Italy. If you crave for oriental dishes I really recommend it. Delicious sushi and cocktails are served at Oxidiana. The restaurant is pretty expensive. A minimum of € 35 per person for a dish and a glass of wine.
- Il Mondo, Via Aloi – Chinese restaurant. If you want to try traditional Chinese cuisine, I recommend this place. Everything is pretty good here, but be sure to try the gelato fritto for dessert! At €15 per person, it’s hard to get up from overeating.
- Indian Curry Restaurant, Via del Toscano – a small Indian restaurant located in the very center of Catania, next to Piazza Stesicoro. You will find this place by the curry smell that spreads all over the area. You can order take-away or eat at the table. You can buy a takeaway here for € 5- € 7. For € 15 you will eat a full meal with a drink.
- Carlito’s – Mexican restaurant, Via Gisira. Offers tasty, large portions and friendly service. The place is frequented mainly by young Catanians. For €15 per person, you will be satisfied with a meal accompanied by tasty cold beer or sangria.
I hope you can find in this article some tips to make your stay in Catania more enjoyable. I have been to all the proposed restaurants several times and was never disappointed. Of course, in Catania you will find hundreds of other tavernas and restaurants where you will surely eat tasty food. Write about your impressions in the comments below the text.
Enjoy your meal!