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Traveling Italian

Posted On May 13, 2023 By Louis

Best Restaurants in Palermo

Palermo, the biggest city in Sicily, boasts an extensive range of excellent restaurants to suit all tastes. As a coastal city with a bustling port, seafood and fish dishes are particularly popular, often with a creative twist. In addition, there are several Michelin-starred restaurants in the area, with Palermo being home to many of them. Italy has a high number of Michelin-starred restaurants with over 370 stars awarded, making these dining venues a must-visit for food enthusiasts on an Italian vacation.

How we select the best restaurants in Palermo

When curating the best restaurants in Palermo, we seek out establishments that truly embody the city's rich culinary traditions and vibrant spirit. Exceptional reviews from food critics and passionate locals guide our selections, highlighting impeccable service, robust flavors, and an inviting ambiance steeped in Sicilian warmth.

We favour eateries housed within historic buildings or charming side streets, as well as those offering alfresco dining with breathtaking views of iconic landmarks like the Norman Palace or lively piazzas. Particular emphasis is placed on restaurants that showcase locally sourced ingredients while putting a contemporary spin on classic regional dishes. Our curated choices aim to provide an unforgettable dining experience that captures the essence of Palermo's unique gastronomy and cultural heritage.

Michelin Awarded Restaurants in Palermo

Palermo has 10 Michelin-awarded restaurants. Michelin has been recognizing outstanding restaurants with up to three stars since 1936, beginning with zero stars. The awarding of a star, or the loss of one, can significantly impact a business's success. A single star signifies "a very good restaurant in its category," while two stars indicate "excellent cooking, worth a detour." Three stars are reserved for "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey." It is advisable to visit the restaurants' websites and book well in advance. Below are some of the best Michelin restaurants in Palermo:

Mec Restaurant

Mec Restaurant is led by Carmelo Trentacosti, the renowned chef who represented Italy in international cooking competitions from 2009-2012 as part of the Italian National Cooks team. Located in the newly renovated Palazzo Castrone, the restaurant has been awarded 1 Michelin Star for its exceptional cuisine. At Mec, Chef Carmelo presents his unique take on Sicilian flavours, incorporating secret, scents and flavours into his dishes.

The restaurant offers two tasting menus, one of which is vegetarian, as well as a la carte options. Guests can expect to indulge in a culinary journey that showcases the best of Sicilian cuisine, all in the elegant surroundings of Palazzo Castrone. Open 6 days a week for dinner until late. Closed on Sundays.

See the Mec Restaurant Menu.

Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele 452, Palermo, 90134, Italy

Gagini Restaurant

Located within the contemporary 16th-century building by the renowned sculptor Antonello Gagini, Gagini Restaurant is a true masterpiece in its own right. The restaurant is helmed by Chef Mauricio Zillo, who hails from Brazil and boasts extensive culinary experience from all over Europe. Settling in Palermo, Chef Mauricio has since been awarded 1 Michelin star for his exceptional culinary creations.

At Gagini, Chef Mauricio's passion for Mediterranean cuisine shines through in every dish he creates. Guests can choose from a delectable set menu or a la carte options, all of which are perfectly paired with an extensive selection of wines produced by small local wineries. Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.

See the Gagini Restaurant Menu.

Address: Via dei Cassari 35, Palermo, 90133, Italy

Buatta Cucina Popolana

Chef Fabio Cardilio leads the acclaimed Buatta Cucina Popolana, which has earned the prestigious Bib Gourmand award for offering incredible food at a great value. Chef Fabio is renowned for his commitment to traditional cooking, crafting seasonal dishes that bring the flavours of the past to life for his guests. For those seeking a truly authentic culinary experience that explores the origins of Palermo, Chef Fabio recommends the tasting menu, which offers great value for money.

Alternatively, guests can opt for the a la carte menu, which includes options for those with allergies or dietary restrictions. Open 6 days a week for lunch and dinner (closed on Wednesday)

See the Buatta Cucina Popolana Menu.

Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele 176, Palermo, 90133, Italy

Fine Dining Restaurants in Palermo

Palermo, the capital city of Sicily, is renowned for its exceptional culinary offerings and boasts a wealth of fine-dining restaurants. These establishments offer a refined dining experience that is characterized by impeccable service, sophisticated decor, and, of course, extraordinary cuisine. Here are some of my favourite picks:

A’Cuncuma Restaurant

A’Cuncuma Restaurant opened its doors in 2012 with Chef Gianfilippo Gatto & partner sommelier Valentina Crescimanni creating incredible fine dining experiences. The restaurant features artworks by the talented artist Favaloro Daniele, who was personally chosen by Gianfilippo to exhibit his works. The restaurant's menu features traditional Sicilian cuisine that has been reimagined and elevated by the skilled chef, providing guests with both a la carte and tasting menus to choose from. A'Cuncuma Restaurant operates for dinner service six days a week, with Sunday being the only day when it's closed.

See the A'Cuncuma Restaurant Menu.

Address: Via Judica, 21 90134 Palermo PA Italy.

Badalamenti Cucina e Bottega

Badalamenti Cucina e Bottega is a remarkable seafood fine dining restaurant located in the charming town of Mondello, run by three brothers Mimmo, Luca & Marco from a long line of culinary experts since 1957. The brothers bring a unique and special family touch to the restaurant, with a passion for hospitality and a commitment to providing exceptional attention to detail.

The restaurant is renowned for its many truffle dishes, offering guests a chance to explore and experience the full range of flavours that this exquisite ingredient has to offer. Additionally, the restaurant boasts a wide variety of wines that are expertly paired with each dish, enhancing the dining experience.

Badalamenti Cucina e Bottega is the perfect place to experience the true essence of Sicilian cuisine in an atmosphere of warmth and hospitality that only a family-owned and operated business can provide. Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, so you cannot miss it.

See the Badalamenti Menu.

Address: Viale Galatea, 55, 90151 Palermo PA, Italy

Truffle tagliatelle on a plate Palermo

Traditional & Local Restaurants in Palermo

Indulging in a traditional meal from a local restaurant in Palermo is an experience that is simply unmatched. It's an excellent option for a family night out and often takes you off the beaten path of tourist hotspots. However, it's always advisable to check the opening and closing times of the restaurant beforehand as they can vary especially in the low season. Here are some of my top picks for local restaurants that serve up authentic Sicilian cuisine:

Osteria Nonna Dora

Nestled in Palermo centre, Osteria Nonna Dora is a charming traditional restaurant that exudes warmth and cosiness. The exposed brickwork in the furnished dining room adds a rustic touch to the ambience. Their menu features classic Sicilian dishes that are not only delicious but also reasonably priced, making it a popular spot for locals.

Due to its popularity, I would recommend making a reservation in advance to secure your spot. The restaurant is open six days a week for lunch and dinner and serves until late. Closed on Mondays. Osteria Nonna Dora is also close to many of the best accommodations in Palermo so you can get to it quite quickly if you are hungry and don't want to travel far.

Address: Piazza Colonna, 7/8, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy

Il Cambusone

Il Cambusone, situated in Piazza Sant'Andrea, is the quintessential Italian restaurant. Their menu boasts delicious dishes such as Sardinian meatballs, shrimp penne, and swordfish ravioli. In addition to their mouth-watering cuisine, they also serve their own in-house craft beers. Whether you prefer dining indoors or al fresco, their traditional outdoor seating offers a vibrant and lively atmosphere. Do keep in mind that the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.

See the Il Cambusone Menu.

Address: Sant'Andrea, Piazza Sant'Andrea, 4, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy

Trattoria Ai Cascinari

Trattoria Ai Cascinari is a charming family-run restaurant that specializes in serving classic Sicilian seafood and pasta dishes. The warm and inviting ambience is enhanced by the marble flooring and rustic wooden tables. The menu features a variety of delectable options such as the Sicilian panelle, pasta alla norma, and polpette di melanzane. The restaurant is open from Wednesday to Sunday and remains closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Address: Via D'Ossuna, 43/45, 90138 Palermo PA, Italy

Dessert Places in Palermo

Here are some of my recommendations for those with a sweet tooth, looking to take a stroll after dinner or just seeking a treat during their Sicilian holiday, where they can enjoy delicious desserts in Palermo:

Dolce Capo

Located between the cathedral and the church of St. Domenico, Dolce Capo is undoubtedly the top gelateria in Palermo. With opening hours until late, the gelateria is open six days a week and offers a variety of flavours to satisfy your taste buds. My favourites are the exquisite pistachio, creamy stracciatella, and delectable fig flavours. Although the place is tucked away in a small alley, make sure you find it because you won't regret it!

Address: Via dei Candelai, 95, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy

I segreti del Chiostro

I segreti del Chiostro translates to the secrets of the cloister. The place is located inside the former Dominican monastery of Santa Caterina. The desserts are made scrupulously following the ancient recipes handed down by the nuns of the 21 cloistered monasteries of Palermo. Every time you buy something the sale goes towards restoration activities. You can get all kinds of sweets, pies and delicious cannoli. Open 7 days a week from 10 am - 6 pm.

Address:  Piazza Bellini, 33, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy

Frequently Asked Questions about Restaurants in Palermo

What are the best restaurants in Palermo?

The top restaurants in Palermo are Mec Restaurant, Gagini Restaurant, and Pablo's restaurant.

What are the most affordable restaurants in Palermo?

Trattoria Ai Cascinari and Osteria Nonna Dora are the top restaurants that have a superb menu at a good price.

What are the most popular restaurants in Palermo?

Mec Restaurant and Badalamenti Cucina e Bottega are the most popular restaurants in Palermo.

What are the best restaurants in Palermo for families?

If you are dining as a family Badalamenti Cucina e Bottega and Trattoria Ai Cascinari are the top restaurants in Palermo.

What are the best restaurants in Palermo for couples?

If you are traveling as a couple you will love Mec Restaurant, Badalamenti Cucina e Bottega, and A’Cuncuma Restaurant.

What are the best restaurants in Palermo with a view?

Il Cambusone is the top restaurant with amazing views.

What are the best restaurants in Palermo for traditional Sicilian cuisine?

If you are looking for local cuisine in Palermo be sure to visit Trattoria Ai Cascinari and Osteria Nonna Dora.

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