The Sicilian capital of Palermo is nothing short of a foodie haven. When you consider that it’s the home of arancini rice balls, chickpea fritters, sfincione, pasta con le sarde, and cannolis, you get a pretty clear picture of how incredible the culinary offerings are here.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Palermo, and many people would argue it’s where some of the finest Italian dishes are found. A combination of fresh, locally sourced produce, vibrant flavors, and a chef’s passion for food is something all of the city’s finest restaurants share.

In my guide to the best restaurants in Palermo, I’ll fill you in on my must-visit spots to really experience the Sicilian way of eating.

Odori E Sapori Al Vecchio Monte

The Sicilians know a thing or two about seafood from the Mediterranean, something which Odori E Sapori Al Vecchio Monte proves to me time and time again. Conveniently located near the heart of Palermo’s historical district, Kalsa, this quaint trattoria spot always has a warm and homely atmosphere.

Their Palermitan-inspired menu is extensive, but I’ve yet to try anything here that the team hasn’t perfected. From the lasagna to appetizers like the antipasto caldo in pastella, everything is cooked with love here. 

One dish that I find myself returning here for time and time again is a Sicilian favorite, the paccheri with swordfish and shrimp. 

When I ordered it, it came out with cherry tomatoes on the side, which added some extra flavor to the swordfish’s mildness and the shrimp’s sweetness. The pasta was cooked to perfection, too, with just the right amount of chewiness, adding some nice balance to each bite.

Odori E Sapori Al Vecchio Monte (€€)Via dello Spirito Santo a Monte Pietà, 13, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy – Thursday to Sunday, 11:00 am to 10:30 pm

Sesto Canto


I happened to stumble across Sesto Canto as I was ambling through the Palermo streets after a visit to the Regional Archeological Museum. The restaurant was small, with just a few tables inside and out, but each one was full, which immediately piqued my curiosity.

I quickly learned that Sesto Canto has a lengthy list of gluten-free options, which is not always the case in Italy. Unsurprisingly, however, I stuck to another of my favorite Sicilian classics, a good old squid ink pasta.

Sesto Canto’s quick service meant that I was served up my characteristically black pasta within 15 minutes. The portion was huge; it was enough for me not to finish it; the dollop of cheese served on top was very heavy but incredibly delicious.

The creamy chili ricotta topping really enriched the lightly salted flavor of the dish and made it slightly less briny than others I’ve had.

Sesto Canto (€€) Via Sant’Oliva, 26, 90141 Palermo PA, Italy” (in GMB)

Ristorante La Galleria


Like many people, I find that most of my favorite Palermo restaurants are the ones that are tucked away a few streets back from the main tourist sights. However, when I dined at Ristorante La Galleria, I quickly learned that there are a few exceptions to this rule.

When I found this eatery near the Palermo Cathedral, I couldn’t help but be charmed by the open line-up of tables along the stone-clad wall. There were very few items on the menu that I didn’t love the sound of, but I eventually settled on the pasta con le sarde.

The pasta con le sarde was served in a little pile, but believe me, there was enough to feed two people. It came out on this beautifully white and blue colored plate; I would have loved to have taken it home with me.

Every bite was an infusion of intense tastes. The saltiness of the anchovies was paired back with the mild brackish flavors from the sardines, which allowed the sweet blend of fennel and onion and the unctuous pine nuts to come through.

Ristorante La Galleria (€€)Salita Ramirez, 2, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy, Tuesday to Sunday, 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm

Caponata Cucina&Pizza


Pizza is not as synonymous with Sicily as it is with other parts of southern Italy, but I firmly believe that the team at Caponata Cucina&Pizza could give any pizzeria in the country a run for its money.

Located in Palermo’s historic center, Caponata Cucina&Pizza is one place I make time for whenever I’m in Sicily. There’s something about the understated yet artsy vibe and the heavenly pizza dough here that I can’t get enough of, and the service here is always exemplary.

On my most recent visit, I went for a tried and tested favorite of mine, the costanza I which is akin to a classic margherita, but with yellow cherry tomatoes rather than the plum variety. 

These tomatoes enhanced the sweetness of the sauce and contrasted beautifully against the hint of tanginess from the mozzarella. As I’d expected, the dough was lighter than air and had a nice crunch with every bite on the outside which complemented the velvety interior, just to my liking.

Caponata Cucina&Pizza (€€)Via Vittorio Emanuele, 244, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy, Every day, 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Ristorante Quattroventi


Ristorante Quattroventi was a fine dining restaurant that I’d been recommended time and time again, and I was stoked when I finally got the chance to visit. 

I was impressed from the get-go, thanks to its location near the port and the slick, sophisticated interior. However, the creativity and authenticity of the menu and wine list were what really blew me away, I’ve never seen anything like it with all the options throughout the rest of Europe.

The waiter explained to me that the chef is constantly evolving the selection of dishes, taking inspiration from seasonal produce and local traditions.

Though I toyed with the prospect of the tasting menu, the veal cheek sounded far too delectable to overlook. I was amazed at how it was presented; smoke was steaming off the plate and placed on top of a pile of herbed potatoes dripping with oil.

The melt-in-your-mouth veal was braised in a local red wine, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, which added an extra layer of richness to the meat. Topped with perfectly smooth mashed potato and sharp radicchio, this gave the dish an incredible creamy bitterness.

Ristorante Quattroventi (€€€)Via Enrico Albanese, 30, 90139 Palermo PA, Italy – Tuesday to Friday, 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Saturday, 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Sunday, 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Osteria Mercede



Osteria Mercede was somewhere that initially spotted me in my tracks because of its blue and white nautical-inspired decor. As soon as I stepped inside and laid eyes on the hearty servings of seafood, I knew I’d made a great choice.

Thankfully, I arrived just as the lunchtime trade was kicking off, so I managed to snag a seat, though the dining area quickly filled up soon after. There was a stellar selection of items on the old-school blackboard menu, and I opted for the spaghetti alle vongole after plenty of deliberation.  

When the rounded bowl came out with the spaghetti alle vongole, I was immediately impressed with the number of clams that I got. The aromas from oozing white wine garlic sauce filling the bowl’s lower end had me brimming with excitement.

The delicious saline kick from the clams, the aroma of the garlic and white wine, and the zestiness from the hint of lemon fused together to create a fresh and satisfying pasta dish I would return to Sicily just for.

Osteria Mercede (€€)Via Sammartino, n 1, 90141 Palermo PA, Italy, Monday, 7:00 pm to 10:30 pm, Tuesday to Saturday, 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm, 7:00 pm to 10:30 pm


Verdechiaro is an absolute gem in the north of Palermo and is somewhere I consistently recommend to anyone visiting Sicily, particularly those following a plant-based diet. It has a cool but elegant feel to it, yet it’s always retained its unpretentious and inviting ambiance.

Having spent much of the afternoon exploring Palermo on foot, I was famished by the time I arrived at Verdechiaro. I decided to go à la carte as I had my heart set on arancini and the buffalo mozzarella-topped pizza. Although the Rising Sun with durum wheat couscous did look great, too.

The velvety rice on the inside of the crunchy breadcrumb shell of the deep-fried arancini set a high standard that I wasn’t sure the pizza could match, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

My friend who was dining with me ordered the Sicilian trio, which came with three pieces of caponata-flavored aubergine dressed in tomato sauce, pine nuts, raisins, and bread crumbs; it looked amazing.

As delightful as the arancini was, the crispy dough, mild sourness of the cheese, and basil-infused sauce made the pizza the stand-out dish with its almost pesto-like flavor.

I couldn’t help giving into my sweet tooth when I saw the range of gelato on offer here; a scoop of pistachio was calling my name with its distinctive green color. It had a delicious nutty taste profile with some sweet and creamy notes.

Verdechiaro (€€)Via Giuseppe Alessi, 40/42, 90143 Palermo PA, Italy – Tuesday to Thursday, 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Friday to Sunday, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm and 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Il Cambusone


I was walking my way to the nearby Church of Saint Domenico when I decided to stop at Il Cambusone for a bite to eat. The lively outdoor seating terrace surrounded by classic Sicilian architecture was enough to lure me in, though the menu certainly confirmed my decision.

During this trip to Palermo, I spent most of my visit sampling fresh seafood dishes. As appetizing as the mussel soup and swordfish steaks that seemingly every other guest was ordering looked, I was keen for something different, so pasta alla norma it was. 

Pasta alla norma is my most beloved vegetable-based Sicilian dish, and Il Cambusone’s take didn’t disappoint. 

Served with penne in this instance, the spongy texture of the eggplant was a gorgeous contrast to the al dente pasta and thick ricotta which added a light crumble to every bite. Teamed with a light tomato sauce with a hint of acidity and basil, these simple ingredients packed a strong punch.

Il Cambusone (€€)Sant’Andrea, Piazza Sant’Andrea, 4, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy – Every day except Tuesday, 12:00 pm to 2:45 pm and 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and closed on Tuesday


With such an abundance of world-class dining options, narrowing down my picks for the best restaurants in Palermo was no easy feat, especially in a city home to 11 Michelin-star establishments.

Continue your adventure through the most tantalizing aspects of Sicilian cuisine with our Palermo food tour, which includes little-known local delicacies and visits to the most acclaimed street food vendors.

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