Palermo a city of a thousand colors but above all aromas and flavors. Strolling through the streets of the historic center, among the smallest alleys of the markets or along the ancient Cassaro, you can feel the scents of food that makes your mouth water! Palermo is also this. If you are tired of a walking tour, along the Unesco route, or rather after a long tour through the alleys of the Kalsa, the ancient Arab quarter of Palermo, the city offers different solutions for a quick street food lunch inside the markets (we recommend Ballarò and Capo by day and the Vuccira in the evening). Palermo street food:  
  • “U sfinciune” – the sfincione “: The sfincione is one of the Palermo street foods of which you can recognize not only the smell but also the noise. In fact, around the markets or the streets of the historic center you can smell the scent of the onion and the noise of the abbanniata of the sfincione seller. But what is the sfincione? onions, anchovies, tomato, oregano, breadcrumbs and pieces of caciocavallo.
  • “Panelle e cazzili” – panelle and crocchè: Panelle are pancakes made with chickpea flour, cooked in boiling oil. In most cases the “panellaro” will offer you a sandwich with panelle and crocchè. Crocchè, also known as “cazzilli”, are oval and elongated potato croquettes seasoned with parsley. They are fried in the same hot oil as the panelle. They can be eaten alone in the “coppino” or sandwich.
  • “Arancina …. yes, because in Palermo the arancina is fimmina”: If you want to know which part of the island a Sicilian comes from, just ask if it says arancino or arancina. In eastern Sicily and the rest of Italy it is called arancino. But not in Palermo, where it is the only place where it is called arancina because the origin of the name is explained by the similarity of the arancina with the orange given its shape. Historically, it seems that the arancina was born as a protective casing to preserve rice in long military expeditions, giving life to small balls very similar to citrus. Arancina is the queen of the Palermo rotisserie. It is a ball of rice, treated with saffron and other spices, fried and stuffed with different fillings. The most common are “meat” that is with meat sauce or “butter” that is with bechamel, ham, mozzarella, nutmeg and finally calia and seed that the people of Palermo call “u pass tempu”.
  • “U pane ca meusa” -The pane ca meusa of Jewish origin: The famous bread with spleen is street food that you will only find in Palermo. It is a specialty dating back to the Middle Ages and linked to the ancient Jewish community that lived in Palermo. It is said that the Jews could not eat these leftovers of meat because it was forbidden by their religion to sell them to the Christians of Palermo. In Italian spleen is a sesame loaf called “vastedda” and stuffed with pieces of pre-cooked calf spleen, lung and trachea and browned over low heat in lard, in copper pans. It can be served “frank”, that is with just a splash of lemon, or “maritata”, or accompanied by ricotta or caciocavallo.
But in Palermo you can taste food at any hour of the day, taverns or restaurants with Mediterranean cuisine with traditional dishes. The dishes of the Palermo tradition:
  • “Sarde a “beccafico”: It is said that the nobles hunted small birds called beccafichi. The cooks of the nobles plucked them, boned them and put aside the entrails and entrails. They stuffed with these entrails and left the tail of the little bird in good shape. The poor to copy the nobles took the stinking sardines, fish was cheap and instead of dressing them with entrails, they share them with breadcrumbs, and with a little orange they tried not to make you smell the stinking fish and finally added the pine nuts . In all popular cuisine the pine nut is present because it is useful against food poisoning, and therefore the Sardinian a beccafico is born.
  • “Allinguated sardines”: During the Spanish period, the nobles ate lenguado. Lenguado in Spanish is sole, so in Palermo sardines were used instead of sole. They were opened and here are the sardines al lenguado that is “allinguata”, but you could not put the pine nuts, then a vinegar bath, and they had solved the problem.
  • “Pasta with sardines”: Legend has it that the cook of Eufemio da Messina’s army, having to feed hungry soldiers, was forced to use the ingredients available: those supplied by Sicily, such as pasta, sardines and fennel, and those supplied by the Arabs themselves, such as saffron. It is a real shame not to know the name of this brilliant chef.
  • “Caponata”: the term caponata from “capone” refers to the prized fish of the same name that in the 1700s was prepared in sweet and sour for aristocrats and wealthy classes. The poorest substituted the but to the fish with the less expensive eggplant.
Tips where to eat in Palermo: restaurants, osterie, pizzeria. OSTERIE :
  • PANE E ALIVI : A few steps from the Quattro Canti, in Piazza Sant’Onofrio in Palermo you will find the Osteria Pane e Alivi where you can taste Sicilian cuisine and fish dishes. You can try traditional dishes: caponata, pasta with clams or sea urchins and finally and the unmissable desserts: the tasty cannoli, parfait and panna cotta. The hospitable atmosphere of this place largely depends on the staff who are really helpful here. The restaurant has a comfortable indoor room and an outdoor space. Where : Sant’ Onofrio square 17 – Tel: 091 7842934
  • NONNA DORA : The osteria Nonna Dora offers authentic dishes of the Palermo tradition that chef Fabio Savoca proposes according to the recipes handed down by his mother, Mrs. Dora. In this osteria, located a few minutes from the Teatro Massimo, you can try the dishes of the local tradition: from pasta with sardines, the main dish of Palermo cuisine to pasta alla Norma, a typical dish of Sicilian cuisine. Do not miss the sweet and sour pumpkin and sardine meatballs. Finally, for the sweet tooth, here is the tortino al limone (lemon heart pie), a unique recipe based on white chocolate and lemon. The service is particularly taken care of by the restaurateurs. Where : Colonna Rotta square 7/8 – Tel: 091 6111355
  • OSTERIA AND PIZZERIA: AMECASA: In the heart of the Movida, a few minutes from the Politeama theater and via Libertà, here is an elegant Palermo tavern: AMECASA. The indoor room and the outdoor space are welcoming and familiar environments. Here, you can taste traditional homemade dishes like those made by mum: pasta fritta, the famous pasta with sardines, pasta with “broccoli arriminati” and finally the famous eats and drinks typical of the street food tradition. But Amecasa is also a pizzeria, here you will find the long leavening square according to the Neapolitan recipe. Where : Via Simone Corleo 2- TEL: 091 326429
  • RESTAURANTS
  • CARLO V: In the heart of the historic center, in one of the oldest and most evocative squares of Palermo Piazza Bologni, the Carlo V restaurant. The strengths of the restaurant are the selection of raw materials, the wide choice of our menu and the attention to our customers, offering a high quality service. In the beautiful Palermo we host our customers in an air-conditioned room in the internal room and a beautiful terrace overlooking Piazza Bologni a stone’s throw from the Cathedral of Palermo. Fish and meat dishes. Where : Bologni square 22 – Tel: 091 328856
  • LA GALLERIA : Behind the cathedral of Palermo, along the Arab-Norman route stands the restaurant la Galleria. Here you will find a unique atmosphere, in fact the restaurant is located in a picturesque alley where Sicilian carts are the setting. The restaurant has both an internal room and an external space. Due to its location, in the heart of the historic center, it is ideal for both lunch and dinner. You will find a typical Mediterranean cuisine according to the Sicilian tradition, especially based on fish such as pasta with sardines, first based on fish and fried fish.Where : Salita Ramirez 2/4  – Tel 091 2515037
  • MAKE’ FOOD DRINK AND MORE: In the heart of the historic center, along one of the main streets of ancient Palermo, Maké food drink and more is a bristol restaurant. Great for a quick lunch or a comfortable dinner. The restaurant has an external space and a very spacious internal room. You will find express dishes of the Sicilian tradition and to finish excellent desserts: Sicilian cannoli, sfincia di San Giuseppe, Setteveli cake and Sicilian cassata.Where: Via Roma 218  – Tel: 091 27532
  • ENOMIS: Where tradition and good flavors meet, here is the Enomis restaurant on the ancient Cassaro, today Via Vittorio Emanuele 351. One of the oldest restaurants in the city that has been active for almost 50 years. Excellent for lunch as from here you can easily reach all the main monuments: Cathedral, 4 Canti, Palazzo dei Normanni. The restaurant has an internal room and an external space. Here you can enjoy excellent fish and traditional Sicilian dishes: Sardinian bucatini and fennel, spaghetti with sea urchins. Fish dishes: lobster tagliatelle, ravioli stuffed with swordfish, cherry tomatoes, rocket and pistachio, and octopus skewer. Where: Via Vittorio Emanuele 351 – Tel: 339 6301103
  • BALATA: Along the Via Roma a few minutes from the UNESCO route, the Balata restaurant is a space dedicated to Sicilian excellence, a place to live, savor and export the culture of a millenary island yet to be discovered. The restaurant offers Sicilian cuisine revisited and revisited in a modern key, capable of surprising, enchanting, making you fall in love.Where: Via Roma 218Tel: 091 27532
  • RESTAURANTS AND PIZZERIAS:
  • QUID: Potrete gustare ottimi piatti della cucina siciliana presso una delle più belle e prestigiose piazze di Palermo, Piazza Marina , all’ombra del Ficus Magnoloide, l’albero monumentale . Il ristorante è dotato di spazio esterno e saletta interna. La cucina, rivisita i piatti dell’antica tradizionale siciliana proponendoli in una chiave contemporanea, combinando i sapori e giocando sui contrasti. La creatività e la raffinatezza della cucina sono amplificate da una cantina di alto livello che mette a disposizione dei clienti etichette selezionate tra le migliori presenti sul mercato siciliano e nazionale. Attenti alla stagionalità degli ingredienti e alla freschezza die prodotti, prestiamo il massimo riguardo al fermo biologico della pesca e die raccolti per garantire un prodotto genuino. Where: Marina Square 52 -53 Tel: 091 7296996
  • A ’NICA: In a welcoming and elegant setting, you can enjoy traditional and authentic cuisine. Our dishes let the territory and its fantastic fruits speak. Dishes of the Sicilian culinary tradition and real Neapolitan pizzas prepared with excellent products and skilled hands. A ’NICA is also a pizzeria where you can enjoy the naturally leavened Neapolitan square. Where: Via Alloro 135, Tel : 091 9826011
  • GRANO GRANIS: A few minutes from the Teatro Massimo and the “Antonino Salinas” regional archaeological museum, Grano Granis is a restaurant suitable for everyone, even those who are intolerant to gluten and lactose. Try the sweet and savory crepes (gluten and lactose free). All dishes of the local tradition expressed and to be enjoyed for lunch and dinner. Here you can taste: fish cous-cous and the pasta “riccioli old Palermo” pasta with fish sauce. Furthermore, the typical dishes of the Palermo tradition should not be missed: panelle, crochè, sardines a becca fico.Where: Via Salvatore Spinuzza 33/37 – Tel: 347 9720438 – 091 7666254