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  • Five Places to Eat and Drink in Eastern Sicily, by the Wife of a Sicilian

    When I travel to Sicily, I have the advantage of exploring the island with family who live there and are still very much on the scene. It is pretty safe to say that my social life in Sicily certainly trumps that of what I have here in the UK, simply because when in Sicily Christian and I are in holiday mode and we try to explore the newest, the best and the most interesting places the Eastern region of Sicily has to offer. In our most recent visit to Sicily we spent a few nights in Catania, the city, and the rest of our time in Noto. I speak about both Noto and Catania and the differences between the two Sicilian locations in videos on my Instagram Story Highlights and IGTV.  When we travel to Sicily our time is divided between both locations because we have family and friends living in each location and Christian was born in Catania.

    These restaurants, bars and cafes were all visited in our most recent trip to Sicily. Some of them are new to us and some I just wanted to share because I highly recommend them.

    Oz e Cappucicio Pesce Fresco – Ortigia, Sicily

    What is it:

    A fish restaurant serving freshly caught fish and seafood every day.

    Where is it:

    It’s located in the heart of the market in Ortigia, Syracusa.

    Signature Dish/ What I ate

    I have been to Oz e Cappuccio twice. One of its owners is a friend of Christian’s sister, which is how we came to know about this place. On my first visit I had Frito Misto and Christian went for the Ceviche. On my most recent visit I had the Tuna burger. I mean, I have never had a Tuna burger before, in fact the thought of putting Tuna between bread might feel like an absolute crime, but it’s not, in fact it is pure magic.

    Christian went for Poke, a Hawaiian raw fish salad served with rice. Again, this was also just as good as the burger. Christian is a far more seasoned fish eater than I am, but there is no need to be a fish connoisseur to truly appreciate the food served here. It just tastes good and it really is that simple. No stone has been unturned in terms of the food, down to the garnish, the seasoning, the relish, the bread, the wine…this is a true foodie experience.

    Atmosphere and Design

    Oz e Cappucio is owned by Marcin Oz from the German Norweigian music group, The Whitest Boy Alive and son of the famous Sicilian fishing family Cappuccio. This kind of says it all in terms of the venues credibility for the quality of the food and the atmosphere the restaurant offers. The atmosphere is just really fucking cool. The restaurant, like most in Sicily, has the advantage of offering outdoor seating. At Oz e Cappuccio seating backs onto the market, a perfect location to watch the locals and tourists bustle through the quaint but busy market.

    Expect parties on a Saturday night, DJs playing soul and funk during the day, an unexpected concert by Ereland Oye, Marcin Oz’s ex-band member and lots of good wine from Marcin and my brother in law’s vineyard, Vini Campisi.  The vibe is super chilled out, London Brixton Village vibes all the way round and the food is superb.

    What to Wear

    Both times I have been to Oz Cappuccio the sun has been blazing hot. Cut off shorts, sun dresses, as casual as you like, it really doesn’t matter.

    What stood out to me

    The taste, the seasoning and the quality of the food is sublime. The music topped off the whole experience nicely and I love the staff here, young, fun and easy going!

    Oz e Cappuccio on Trip Advisor

    Fud Off Catania, Sicily

    What is it:

    A Bar

    Where is it:

    Santa Via Filomena, Catania

    Signature Food/What I Ate?

    Fud Off is not a restaurant, but I had the most amazing Patrami Sandwich there that I had to include it on this list. However, Fud Off is certainly more of a cocktail bar, I would compare it to the likes of a cocktail bar in London’s Soho. Along with an extensive list of cocktails, there is also a Tapas and light bites menu, but expect to find fish, seafood and octopus, not chicken dippers!

    Atmosphere and Design

    It would seem that Fud Off is the place to go in Catania. The bar is located on Via Santa Filomena, a cute little strip just off Via Etnea lined with restaurants and bars, that sees itself buzzing by nighttime. Fud Off is dimly lit, with quirky designed chairs and low tables. It’s often heaving, which means waiting for a table is quite common, especially as this seems to be the bar of choice among the other bars and restaurants along the strip. This is the sort of place in London you’d get dressed up on a Friday night to meet friends and spend the night drinking. It’s lively, it’s very chic and very busy.

    What Stood Out for Me

    It has to be the Pastrami sandwich. They were just so generous on the pastrami, the bread was cut perfectly so as not to overwhelm the pastrami, was thick enough to hold all of the meat in place and I loved that it never came with chips – because that would have just been unnecessary.

    What to Wear

    What I love about Catania is that you never need to be ridiculously dressed up, even for bars and restaurants in the evenings. To Fud Off I kept it cool and casual, because I feel like formal just never works in Catania. I even wore trainers and I actually really enjoyed what I wore.

    Prestipino Cafe, Catania, Sicily

    What is it:

    A famous Catanese cafe serving typical Sicilian savoury and sweet foods.

    Where is it:

    It’s located in the heart of the piazza in Catania

    Signature Food:

    Local Sicilians will come to Prestipino cafe for a Tavola Calda in the winter. Tavola Calda directly translates as Hot Table in English. Tavola Calda can range from breads and pastries filled with mozzarella, ham and bolognese sauce to the famous Arancina rice ball, deep fried with a selection of fillings, such as pea and ham or bolognese. Prestipino also has a really impressive selection of pastries and the filled Cornetto (croissants) in Italy are really something special if you’ve never tried one. I always opt for a Nutella Cornetto and they are just so generously filled that you must be prepared for the explosion of Nutella on your first bite. In the summer, however, Sicilians love Granita for breakfast and this is what Christian would eat on a daily basis for breakfast at Prestipino cafe, with a brioche of course. Even in the Sicilian heat, I struggled to eat Granita for breakfast – it just feels like eating dessert, moreover it’s ice cold and that’s not something I want to be the first thing in my stomach in the morning.

    Prestipino also has a really impressive deli menu of cannoloni, Pasta Alla Norma, chicken escalloppes, meat and fish dishes that can be eaten in the cafe or taken away. I had the Pasta Alla Norma, the signature Sicilian dish, named after Vincenzo Bellini’s wife of pasta and fried aubergines in tomato sauce, served with Ricotte insalata cheese. It’s my absolute favourite Sicilian pasta and it did not disappoint.

    What I Ate

    Most days we visited Prestipino Cafe, we’d be there around midday. I would always have a glass of prosecco or an Aperol Spritz, which seemed common for the tourists. Alcoholic drinks in Italy are always served with water and canapes, so a pizzetta, some fried cheese, crisps and olives would come with my drink and this was fine by me! The locals would have a coffee or a Granita.

    Atmosphere and Design

    The atmosphere is pretty non-existent here. It is famous for it’s tradition, it’s quality and to being a Catanese staple and it does all of this very well. The cafe/bar reflects it’s tradition, so it’s not particularly modern as far as bars go in Sicily. Endless glass cases displaying the food on offer and some typical Sicilian ceramic heads dotted about the bar is what stands out to me, as well as an outdoor seating area that looks right out into the buzzing square.

    What to Wear

    Another super casual venue. This is the kind of place that you drop into on your way to or from somewhere, so there really is no dress code. Locals could be seen smarter than tourists, but by no means is there a dress code.

    What Stood out to me: The alcohol is cheap! A glass of Prosecco is just three euros! This is absolutely crazy, especially considering each glass comes with a considerable number of complementary canapes.

    Prestipino Cafe on Trip Advisor

    Ristorante Dammuso by Baglieri, Noto, Sicily

    What is it?

    A restaurant

    Where is it?


    Signature Dish/What I Ate

    Dammuso by Baglieri is famous for its tuna and that is exactly what I ate. I had Tuna Tagliatina, a lightly seared fillet of Tuna, perfectly pink in the middle, more so on the rare side, sliced thickly and seasoned to perfection. Arguably the best Tuna steak I have ever had. There is a lot of Tuna on the Dammuso menu, so I would definitely recommend sampling one of their Tuna dishes, if not the Tagliatina.


    This beautiful restaurant is set on the hill of a quaint and picturesque little side street in Noto, with an outdoor seating area that has you eating on the tilt of the hill. There are even seats set into the bays of the restaurants windows, allowing diners to really be able to make the most of the scenic location of the restaurant. Inside is large and seems to have a modern rustic vibe to it, but in all honesty my attention was paid mostly to the stunning baroque surroundings I was able to basque in while dining at such a lovely restaurant.

    What Stood Out to Me

    Aside from the melt in your mouth tuna and the amazing outdoor setting, it has to be meeting the owner and the chef herself, the owner’s mother. The owner was full of jokes, as many Sicilians are and he took the time to banter with us. His mother, after finishing her night in the kitchen, sat down at the end of our table and also cracked a number of jokes (all in Sicilian, so I have no idea exactly what was said). You can see pictures of her on the Dammuso website, she just looks like the Italian woman that you know you want to cook your food and she did not disappoint. By far one of the best meals I have had in Sicily.

    What to Wear

    Noto, in comparison to Catania, is more upmarket. Having said that, this doesn’t mean you need to be dressed to the nines for dinner. However, I certainly felt more comfortable being a little more formally dressed when out in Noto. Again there’s no dress code and while I wore a floaty Zara blouse, jeans and a pair of sliders, Christian wore a jeans and t-shirt. So it really does come down to how you feel most comfortable.

    Dammuso by Baglieri Website

    Manna in Noto, Sicily

    What is it:

    A restaurant.

    Where is it:


    Signature Dish/What  I Ate

    Manna is probably the most unlike the other restaurants mentioned in this list, simply because it’s super posh, super nouveaux and you don’t quite feel like it’s a Sicilian dining experience, but undoubtedly a fine one, nonetheless. At Manna I had the parmigiana to start and lamb served with couscous for my main. Admittedly it was the first time I had ever had couscous in Sicily and had absolutely no idea that this was part of the Sicilian cuisine. Nevertheless the parmigiana was the smallest parmigiana I have ever had, light, delicate and petite and the lamb literally fell off the bone, melting like butter in my mouth.


    As I said, Manna is posh, its the sort of place you go knowing that you’ll not be disappointed. The service is hands down one of the best I have ever experienced, but it’s the design and the feel of the place that truly won me over at Manna. The restaurant has a very chic New York, London feel to it – a typical Italian trattoria this is not, in fact it’s the diametric opposite. The restaurant is big and boasts light fixtures that are spectacular, wine walls that are an architectural marvel, art work that you know you’d find in the chicest of homes and layout that keeps giving more and more the deeper you wander into this marvel of a restaurant. We actually dined outside, but I made sure to explore the space on my trips to the bathroom and at each turn and each corner was a different dining area offering a different design space, walls adorned with books and typical Sicilian ceramic ornaments and, needless to say, once I had finally navigated my way to the bathroom, it was just as beautiful.

    What Stood Out To Me?

    The design really is something to be witnessed and if you’re bold enough, be sure to take lots of pictures. But, what really stood out to me was the bar. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I’m a gin drinker and when I sat down at the bar and ordered myself a gin and tonic I just loved how effortlessly the lady behind the bar asked me which gin I would like and with which tonic. She never made me feel fussy, she just understood that people have their preferences and that she was happy to cater to them. This was exemplary of the service, nothing was too much to ask and you just never needed to because everything was so well thought about.

    What to Wear

    This was the only place in Sicily that I actually wore heels and the second that I did, I regretted it. Manna is located opposite Dammuso, on a hill and navigating these hills in heels is just not worth it. Manna is high end, but it’s not pretentious, being well put together here is enough. However, the same type of establishment in London would most certainly have its patrons dressed in their finest.

    Manna in Noto Website

    These are just a few of the places I visited on my last trip to Sicily. Be sure to check out my Instagram for more on my travels to Italy…



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