Here it is! Our short list of best restaurants in Palermo, family-run trattorias, romantic gourmet locations and panoramic pizzerias!
Let’s make it clear. The food you find in restaurants is not the same you devour on our Palermo street food tours. Street food is a thing, Sicilian cuisine is another thing. In few words, street food in Palermo is what you eat here and there standing: quick, easy, fried, tasty. Sicilian cuisine is what the Palermitan mamas have been making at home for centuries.
Streaty Selection Criterias
On this article, you will find the short list of places that deserve to be recommended to a friend or a traveller, which for us make no difference.
The selection is based on a very easy principle: we believe in dining as an experience that involves the pleasure of palate, the pleasure of sharing a company, the pleasure of spending time in a restaurant.
When picking a place to recommend we consider three main things: the quality of food, the comfort of the location, the kindness and professionalism of the staff. We do not believe in the principle of the cheaper the better. We don’t want to pay less. We want to pay the price that that specific food experience deserves.
S (20-30 Euro) – SS (30 to 40 euro) – SSS (40 to 60 euro)
Talking about money: we do not get any commission from restaurant managers to promote their business! In fact, we do not promote, we simply share tips. The restaurants are divided in categories: Sicilian cuisine, fish restaurants, meat lovers, pizzerias. The restaurants are not listed in order of preference.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN PALERMO
Via Maqueda 172 A – downtown at Quattro Canti / S
Reservations not accepted. Shared tables.
Via Sammartino 65 – downtown near Teatro Politeama / S
Tel. 091 323480
Some locals might tell you that Altri Tempi (old times) is not as good as it used to be…well, it’s called old times! Make sense! However, Altri Tempi is the one and only trattoria in Palermo that still serves some traditional strictly palermitan recipes no longer available in other restauants…why? Coz some restaurant managers think that old strong flavoured grandma’s recipes aren’t fancy anymore! Very laid back atmosphere. At the end of the meal you get offered some delicious digestive by the host.
Food is not fine but it’s very Palermitan. Altri Tempi means history of local cuisine.
Salita Ramirez 2 – downtown behind Cathedral / S
Tel. 091 251 5037
I have to be honest. In this case, the location makes 50% of your choice. When the city is burning hot and you feel you had enough of history and arts then choose La Galleria. Located in a narrow breezy and shady alley behind the majestic Cathedral of Palermo, this trattoria serves a good list of Sicilian and Palermitan recipes finely cooked. The young staff is nice, kind and smiley (pretty rare in Palermitan restaurants!). A line of 5 wooden tables are nicely set in the alley and kissed by the fresh breeze. The place inside is fresh and cozy and last but not least. Excellent wine list!
Via Calascibetta 25 – downtown / SSS
From mmm to wow! I have to say that I wouldn’t have mentioned Osteria Ballarò in my must try restaurants in Palermo some years ago. But I also have to admit that now, my friends, I’m a big fan of their cuisine, especially second courses: meat and fish. Try the black pig or the grilled prawns. The location is very beautiful, elegant and suggestive. Great service and without any doubt the best wine list downtown!
BEST FISH RESTAURANTS IN PALERMO
I Sapori del Mare
Via Re Federico 8 – just outside city center / SS
Well…if you asked me what’s the best fish restaurant in Palermo, I would probably say I sapori del mare. This is like DA-FISH-TRATTORIA, just the way you imagine it. The mama, the papa, the son and the boy. A one-roomed family-run trattoria with fake fish and fake fishnets hung on the blue walls. The food list is not very wide but it’s all extremely fresh and good. Before you make the order ask for the daily dish. My favorite dish is without any doubt the pasta with gamberoni! Oh my god! At lunch there is almost no people, you will be sitting alone with the host, its family and some other faithful local customer. At dinner most of seats are taken but you won’t have any long queue and most of nights you don’t need to make a reservation…but to avoid surprises, just book your seats! There is only tone thing to improve: the wine list, too short. This is a restaurant experience. Do eat.
Via Pignatelli Aragona 52 – downtown / SS
Tel. 091 332243
Five years ago I would have called it the new delicious surprise of Palermo. Well, now it’s the superstar! Everybody love Mercede, locals, travellers, tourists and food experts. Two rooms, two nice waiters, one cool chef and owner. I mean, these guys know their stuff!
The menu is written on a blackboard, how cool! Freshness is the keyword at Osteria Mercede. I can’t live a long happy life without eating their fried sardines with caramelized onion every month.
The Osteria Mercede is located at few steps away from Teatro Massimo, however nowadays is quite impossible to find a spot unless you reserve it few days earlier.
Badalamenti Cucina e bottega
Viale Galatea 55 – Mondello / SSS
We are off the budget for most of Palermitans but we are in in in in in in in in and very in, when it comes to quality! Badalamenti Cucina e Bottega is my favourite fish gourmet restaurant. Few tables, top list of wines, kind and professional service and some mithological recipes!
Check this out…Arancino with shrimp served in a delicate spicy mussel sauce….My friends! Try it and let me know! Badalamenti is in Mondello, which means your great chance for great food after a sunset swimming at Mondello beach.
Via Enrico Albanese 30 – near the port / SSS
Quattro Venti is located in the modern city center of Palermo. The concept promoted by the restaurant manager is perfectly reflected in the elegant welcome bar, in the open kitchen, the comfy seats, the lighting. Elegant and relaxing. Food is wow and entirely cured, cooked and designed by a real chef. Great wines to pair. How to pair it? Ask the manager, he will recommend you do the right thing! In two simple words Passion and Professionalism.
Tips for Meat lovers
Bricco e Bacco
Via Salvo D’Acquisto 13 – Monreale / SSS
Are you a meat lovers? Than burn the rest of the list and keep this name in your mind Bricco Bacco. No my friend! Unfortunately is not downtown, it’s in Monreale, the mount above Palermo renowned for the golden mosaic church. I mean…it’s not a trip, only 20 minutes by taxi from the city center! The meat they serve is tasty, fresh, juicy and all you want from the meat to be like! It costs some more money than average Palermitan restaurants but every single bite is worth it!
Do not forget to get some structured Sicilian red wine with your sausage…and send me postcards from hell 🙂
Piazza Olivella 4 – downtown / S
091 611 2184
Do you like burgers? You wanna try a real Sicilian one with top quality Sicilian products? FUD is the answer. Located in Olivella area, 2 minute walk from the opera house Teatro Massimo. At FUD you find delicious sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs made with the finest selection of Sicilian meats, cheese, vegs and cold cuts. At FUD you also have the chance to try donkey and horse meat. Sicilian craft beer available!
Brewery and winter bar in Via saladino 7 (downtown, Ballarò district) – Tel. 344 010 8559 / Summer bar in Via Castrofilippo 20 (downtown, piazza Magione – Kalsa district) / S
Actually Ballarak is the one and only brewery downtown in Palermo. They brew more than ten different beers. My favourite is definetely the sour Glitch which has been also awarded in some Italian beer contest. The real brewery and bar is in Ballarò district, near the market, it opens at night and beside the excellent beer you find #foodporn burgers and sandwiches. The summertime Ballarak is located in piazza Magione (Kalsa district) but only for drinks.
BEST PIZZERIA IN PALERMO
Pizzeria La Braciera in Villa
Via dei Quartieri 104 / S
Best pizzeria in Palermo, La Braciera. Best pizzeria in Sicily, la Braciera 🙂
This is the top of the tops in Sicily. Beautiful location, unforgettable pizza topped with top quality sicilian products. Nope…the pizzeria is pretty far from downtown but the taxi ride is worth it! Book first!
Pizzeria Arte e Tradizione
Via Santa Teresa 2 / S
Near the port of Palermo, Kalsa district. Simple, laid back, cheap, fresh and good.
Via Volturno 41 – downtown behind Teatro Massimo / S
Tel. 366 150 0881
Excellent pizza. Try the “cudduruni”!
Il Vecchio Cortile
via A.Veneziano 104 / S
Not really downtown but you know, many travellers now rent airbnb places all over the city, so if your apartment happens to be near Via Dante and the Castello della Zisa, try this pizza!
Via Pietro Bonanno 42 / S
A fresh terraced restaurant and pizzeria at the feet of Mount Pellegrino, 10 minutes walk from Villa Igiea Hotel. Pizza and its fine selection of ingredients is phenomenal 😉 You need a
Il Giardino degli Aranci
Via Torres 38 – Monreale / S
In Monreale where you will definetely go to see the golden mosaic cathedral. Well do this…go see the church in the afternoon. Shuts at 5 pm. Then take a drink at the belvedere on the way down to the city (few steps walking from the Duomo) and finally go have a pizza at il Giardino degli Aranci. Silent, relaxing, amazing pizza, good spilled lager beer and a beautiful open view on the gulf of Palermo.