- Al Fogher (Piazza Armerina; tel. 0935-684123): There's another reason to come here besides the mosaics. In the heartland of the island, chef Angelo Treno honors the local flavors, but he's also traveled the world in search of new ones. The combinations of the two are simply divine.
- Casa Grugno (Taormina; tel. 0942-21208; www.casagrugno.it): Austrian-born chef Andreas Zangerl presides over this increasingly famous place. The sublime food here is reinvented Sicilian cuisine at its finest, haute cuisine that draws from a pan-European sensibility.
- Da Calogera (Mondello; tel. 091-6841333): A stone's throw away from the shoreline, this little place is one of the area's best. The colorful, ceramic-tiled exterior of the eatery is a clam bar. Indoors, enjoy an array of fish pasta dishes or the restaurant's original dish: Boiled octopus.
- Il Duomo (Ragusa Ibla; tel. 0932-651265): One of the finest restaurants in southern Sicily, Il Duomo has been awarded Michelin stars. Its greatest devotees maintain that it is the best restaurant in Sicily, serving a deluxe island cuisine. In many cases, chefs perpetuate age-old cooking traditions in turning out their sublime culinary offerings.
- Osteria I Tre Bicchieri (Catania; tel. 095-7153540; www.osteriaitrebicchieri.it): The finest restaurant in Catania welcomes visitors to the three high-ceilinged, vaulted rooms outfitted in a graceful 18th-century style. The best pasta I tasted in Catania was the tagliatelle with ragout of suckling pig here.
- Osteria dei Vespri (Palermo; tel. 091-6171631): In the stables of the princely palazzo where scenes from The Leopard were filmed, you'll find one of Palermo's finest restaurants. Brothers Andrea and Alberto Rizzo keep the devotees coming by taking classic Palermitan staples to the next level with variations that are innovative yet tied to tradition.
- Ristorante II Dehor (Agrigento; tel. 0922-511061): One of the best restaurants in all of Sicily. Damiano Ferraro, an Agrigento-born, London-educated culinary whiz has reinvented traditional Sicilian cuisine.
- Zia Pina (Palermo; no phone): You might risk passing this place up, or avoid it altogether, as the surroundings are very off-putting. But what looks like someone's outdoor kitchen is actually one of the busiest eateries in Palermo, and the food is cooked right in front of you.
The Best Traditional Eateries
- Al Duomo (Taormina; tel. 0942-625656): In the medieval quarters of Taormina, the time-tested recipes and products of eastern Sicily are the main staples here. Where else would you find a salad with blood-red oranges?
- Don Camillo (Syracuse; tel. 0931-67133): One of the city's finest and most affordable dining rooms was constructed on the foundations of a 15th-century monastery. The cuisine of seafood and Sicilian recipes is among the most creative in town. It's a charmer.
- Monte San Giuliano (Erice; tel. 0923-869595): In the medieval hilltop village of Erice, the most spectacular in Sicily, you can dine at this undiscovered garden hideaway after making your way through narrow labyrinthine streets. Most of the foodstuffs are plucked from the sea. Some of the dishes, such as a seafood couscous, are inspired by North Africa.
- Nangalarruni (Castelbuono; tel. 0921-671428): People come from all over Italy to try Giuseppe Carollo's critically-acclaimed dishes; they are a nod to the flavors of the Parco delle Madonie, which produces almost all his ingredients, and to the simple country preparations of long ago.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.