Saturday, August 6, 2011

Taormina Eats, Sicily

The next stop in the East was Taormina. Gorgeous place that relies heavily on tourism, it is perched high on the mountains with views of the ocean and Mount Etna


We stayed in a B&B that is away from the main high street which means that we had to use the local shuttle. Not too ideal but we were richly rewarded with stunning views of the ocean and Mount Etna from our room. Truly luxurious. 

As this is a tourist town, the vibe is immediately different from the previous places that we've been too and prices are slightly more expensive. That doesn't take away its charms though and walking through its winding streets, we were engulfed and enamoured by our surroundings. 

We experienced the worst and also the best culinary meal in Taormina in this Sicily trip. 

Being enticed by the name, we entered Cafe de Artist for dinner. 

Maccheroni Al Pomodoro €6

The maccheroni was decent and unassuming. 

Picture 584
Risotto Mare €9

The risotto was another matter, as you can clearly tell. It was hugely disappointing and this was the worst meal that we had in the whole trip. It wasn't inedible, it just wasn't made right. 

With that, we decided to pay up and go somewhere else to continue our dinner instead. This time, we went to a place suggested by a local friend, Trattoria Tiramisu

We were considerably latecomers as we came from having dined somewhere else and were the last and only occupied table to arrive and order as others were paying and leaving. 

Looking at the menu, we couldn't resist and ordered the spaghetti vongole. 

Spaghetti Vongole

From the low depths of disappointment, we were lifted to new levels of culinary delight. Each strand of pasta was coated with clam sauce which having absorbed all the yummy juices, was lip smacking good. We were there with big smiles on our faces, giddy with happiness. That is what good food does to you!


I couldn't help checking out the tiramisu in the dessert counter even though we were stuffed at this stage and had no intention of ordering dessert. The owner noticed and insisted that we try some on the house. 

Had it not been for that twist of event, we would have missed out on what is the best tiramisu (non alcohol version) we've ever tasted! 

My tiramisu quest has struck gold! Who would have thought this portion in front of us, a single layer (not even double layer) of each ingredient having just the right texture, taste and balance. It's hard to get each proportion of the layers that make the tiramisu just right so that it gives an orgasmic experience. This did and it was sensational!

Tiramisu' La Trattoria, Viale Apollo Arcageta, 9, 98039 Taormina Messina, Italy


The Restaurants along the high street and off the side streets can be packed and busy. If you're looking to relax and chill without the crazy hustle and bustle, this pizzeria is a good option.  Just off the high street, the pebble streets and soft yellow lighting with a church next to it lends to a chilled out and romantic environment if you can bag yourself one of the tables outside for some al fresco dining. 


We managed to bag one of those tables and soak in the beautiful environment. I ordered a pizza which I thoroughly enjoyed and this was the first place in our trip where there was a bottle of balsamic vinegar on the table. This meant that we could happily dip our breads in an olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture which I do miss from the good old days in Sydney.

Pizzeria Varo, V. Jean D'Orville, Taormina, ME 98039, Italy  

Who would have thought that there were 2 eating establishments named Tiramisu and I subsequently was led to and discovered the second one.

Having the dinner ordered by someone else who knows food and the food here more than I do, I really have no idea the names or what was ordered until they arrived. 

Apologies for the quality of photos.


First came various sashimi style seafood. I'm used to Japanese sashimi and carpaccios; I never imagined or thought that I would have it Sicilian style. Raw seafood with a douse of olive oil, herbs and other ingredients mysterious to me, it was really good. It reminds me of Japanese sashimi but with a distinct Sicilian/Italian flavour to it. It was truly a new world to me and I was really enjoying it. 


Next to arrive were octopus and tuna that was cooked with a higher grade of balsamic vinegar used in it as I was told. Again, I was surprised that the balsamic vinegar did not overpower the meat but enhanced the sea flavours and brought about sweetness to the dish. 


The meal continued with deep fried calamari followed by pasta. I was seriously stuffed beyond imagination by this point but how do I resist when asked if I wanted to try the tiramisu. Especially when told, they are known for their tiramisu hence the name of the restaurant. 


It arrived and you can see how huge the portion is for an already stuffed tummy. AND I finished the entire thing! This actually managed to top ever so slightly the tiramisu from the trattoria mentioned above. 

I have to say a big thank you to my knowledgeable friend for opening my eyes to the local cuisine that I would have otherwise not known, discovered and tasted. 

Tirami Su, Via Cappuccini, 1, 98039 Taormina Messina, Italy

Taormina was our last stop in our Sicily trip and it couldn't have ended better. Next was catching a train which then goes into a big ship which transports us in the train that is within the ship across the sea to connect to North Italy where we disembark in Napoli to experience the much talked about and unique pizzas here. 

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