It’s no secret that southern Italy offers some of the finest seafood along the Mediterranean, but I don’t think anyone is quite as creative with their oceanic fare as the Sicilians or, more specifically, the Palermitani.

Having been influenced by Arab, Italian, Greek, Spanish, and Jewish cuisines, Sicily’s classic seafood dishes and maritime delicacies are unlike any other region. I’m confident you’ll find some seafood to your liking here, whether you’re an avid seafood fan or are new to Sicilian cuisine.

When I was preparing to launch my Palermo food tours, I dined in quite a number of exquisite seafood eateries. This led me to create this guide to the best seafood restaurants in Palermo. Let me show you where to sample the tastiest pesce!

I Sapori del Mare

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With a name that translates to The Flavors of the Sea, you’ll have a pretty clear indication of what the team at I Sapori del Mare is passionate about. Located just a 10-minute stroll from Villa Malfitano, this quaint eatery quickly became my go-to spot for fresh seafood ever since my first visit.

I’ll admit, the delightful nautical-inspired decor initially lured me in, but I soon learned that the real magic lies in their locally sourced seafood. Seeing my fellow diners’ basil-infused mussels and fresh sardines left me incredibly indecisive, and I eventually settled on the sapori del mare.

Despite the wealth of busy tables occupying the indoor and outdoor seating areas, the service was prompt, and my steaming bowl of seafood soup arrived in no time. Inside was a mixture of chunky tomato and garlic concasse filled with mussels, clams, and prawns.

Between the mild mussels contrasting with the salty, chewy clams and the gentle sweetness of the prawns, every mouthful was a complex yet delicate medley of flavors. The sauce can often take a backseat with sapori del mare, but the zesty tomatoes effortlessly shone through. 

I Sapori del Mare (€€)Via Re Federico, 8, 90141 Palermo PA, Italy, Monday, 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm, Tuesday to Sunday, 12:30 pm to 2:45 pm and 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm

Isgrò

isgrò_seafood_restaurant_in_palermo

Isgrò is a gorgeous little spot near the revered Capo Market. Originally opened as a fresh fish market, which is still in operation today, this place has expanded into one of the best food options for seafood lovers in Palermo that I can’t help but be drawn to every time I’m in the area.

I’ve always found the open outdoor area particularly charming, with a clutch of tables positioned beneath an arched corridor and adorned with fairy lights. On my last visit, the atmosphere was even more enchanting as a local musician set up nearby playing the accordion. 

Having had a sizable lunch, I decided to stick to something light but satisfying, which led me to opt for the fish caponata. On most of my visits to Palermo, caponata serves as my starter, and I’ll usually follow up with a pasta dish, but this time, I was intrigued by the addition of fresh cod.

As soon as I saw the colorful bowl of nourishment arrive at my table, I knew I’d made the right decision. The flavors and textures made for a delicious combination: crunchy celery with soft tomatoes, slightly sweet cod with savory capers; every bite had a little bit of everything.

Isgrò (€€)Via Mura di Porta Carini, 68, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy, Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Sunday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Osteria Mercede

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Whenever I’m feeling particularly famished, accompanied by a hankering for seafood, I usually make my way to Osteria Mercede near San Francesco di Paola Church. Not only is the quality of the food top-tier, but the generous portions will satisfy even the biggest of appetites.

Similar to I Sapori del Mare, the decor is nautical-themed, and the white-washed interior is simply adorable. Between the old-school blue and white chairs and partially explored stone walls, Osteria Mercede encapsulates a homely atmosphere in every corner.

The menu here is ever-changing, including appetizers and secondos. It’s based on seasonal produce and what seafood is available, and it was the squid ink pasta that caught my eye a few months back. I’m no stranger to this iconic Sicilian dish, but this was the first time I had sampled Osteria Mercede’s take on this classic.

As you might have already guessed, it certainly won’t be my last! Perfectly cooked al dente spaghetti, silky, brackish squid ink, and a hint of butteriness from the prawns. This meal reminded me of how simple pasta dishes can often be the most flavorful.

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 and 7:00 pm to 10:30 pm

Enosteria Sicula

If you happen to find yourself near Teatro Politeama Garibaldi during your stay, you won’t regret making a stop at Enosteria Sicula; this spot is easily among the best restaurants that serve seafood in Palermo.

Sleek yet cozy, the interior is an eclectic fusion of old and new, as arched stone walls lie alongside modern wooden furnishings. However, if the weather’s on your side, I recommend you grab a table outside and enjoy a glass of citrusy Pinot Grigio while you browse through the menu.

It’s worth noting that Enosteria Sicula has a stellar wine list and an onsite sommelier, making this fabulous eatery a must for any of my fellow wine connoisseurs. Speaking from experience, you certainly won’t regret letting the staff take the reins with your wine choices. 

Everything these guys serve us is top-class, but their pasta with anchovies is pretty tough to beat. The tender, earthy anchovies stole the show, as the crunchy breadcrumbs, tangy parmesan, and piney black pepper worked together to enhance the flavor profile of the dish.

Enosteria Sicula (€€) Via Torrearsa, 3, 90139 Palermo PA, Italy, Monday to Saturday, 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm, Sunday, 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm and 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm

Carizzi d’amuri

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Somewhere between a modern take on a trattoria and a fine-dining ristorante, Carizzi d’amuri is set in an age-old building in the historic center. It’s the kind of place I frequent when I’m looking for high-quality eats and outstanding wine without the ostentatious ambiance and price tag.

I’ve been dining at Carizzi d’amuri for quite a few years now, and each time, the staff’s warmth and efficiency blow me away. This is particularly appreciated by indecisive folk like myself, who rely on the recommendations of wait staff to assist in the decision-making process!

I was told by my waitress that the prawn tartare was every bit as tasty and fulfilling as it sounds, so I had to put it to the test. Luckily, I’d stopped by on a relatively relaxed evening, which meant my waiting time was minimal.

The peeled prawns had that beautiful fleshy texture and subtle fishy flavor that only prawns can achieve, while the chili and pepper were light enough not to overwhelm the dish. Coupled with some garlic and a mild wheaty type of linguine, the dish had a balance between rich and wholesome.

Carizzi d’amuri (€€) Via Lungarini, 21, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy, Wednesday to Monday, 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm

Conclusion

I could spend days gushing over Palermo’s assortment of mouthwatering seafood eateries. To save you the trouble of sifting through endless options, I’ve selected the cream of the crop and compiled them into this fail-safe guide to the best seafood restaurants in Palermo.

Ahead of your next visit to Palermo, be sure to venture beyond the beloved arancini and cannoli and tantalize your tastebuds with some of the city’s sensational seafood.



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