The Best Mouth-Watering Restaurants In Cefalù, Sicily

Ristorante Le Chat Noir | Courtesy Ristorante Le Chat Noir
Ristorante Le Chat Noir | Courtesy Ristorante Le Chat Noir
Photo of Abigail Blasi
23 September 2021

Sandwiched between Sicily’s Parco delle Madonie and the Tyrrhenian Sea, Cefalù occupies a prime waterfront position. Dotted around its Norman cathedral and 12th-century fortress are a wealth of traditional Italian restaurants, focused on fresh local ingredients.

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Cefalù may be a relatively small town, but thanks to its beautiful location, it has become one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations. On top of this, it hosts a charming community of restaurants to boot. We take a tour of Cefalù’s top local culinary hotspots, from seaside dining to a restaurant-cum-art gallery.

La Botte

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Via Veterani - narrow street on the Old Town of Cefalu city located on the Tyrrhenian coast of Sicily, Italy
© Konrad Zelazowski / Alamy Stock Photo
La Botte is a Cefalù institution that has been open for decades, under the stewardship of chef Giuseppe Fiduccia. Inside, you’ll find a cosy, family-run restaurant with a white-washed stone interior that feels stuck in time. It’s close to Cefalù’s Unesco-listed cathedral and offers a few street-side tables in summer. Fiduccia uses the flavour-packed local Sicilian ingredients to whip up creative dishes, such as couscous in cuttlefish ink with ricotta tart, as well as classics like caprese salad and seafood risotto.

Ristorante Le Chat Noir

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
In a 16th-century building, also close to Cefalù’s Norman cathedral, you’ll discover the family-run Ristorante Le Chat Noir, a superb traditional Sicilian restaurant. Typical dishes showcase the classic local marriage of Arabian and Mediterranean flavours, with greatest hits including spaghetti alla norma (with aubergine, garlic and tomato) or pasta with anchovies, raisins and pine nuts. With white tablecloths and exposed stone walls, there is a lovely warm feeling to this place. Make sure you leave room for the sumptuous local desserts.

Ristorante La Brace

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Signs on Via 25 Novembre, a busy street in the town of Cefalu on the island of Sicily, Italy
© Burton Zaro / Alamy Stock Photo
Ristorante La Brace, also in the Duomo zone, has walls of rich terracotta red in its inviting, romantic interior. Dietmar Beckers and Thea de Haan, a Dutch-Indonesian couple, fell in love with Cefalù and opened the restaurant in 1976. Today, de Haan is still busy in the kitchen, while their son works the front of house. The local cuisine is simple but delicious, with a short laminated menu of dishes including mushroom gratin, rolls of swordfish, beef carpaccio and gorgonzola pasta, all at exceedingly reasonable prices.

Al Porticciolo

Restaurant, Italian, Seafood, $$$
Al Porticciolo has a sea-facing, wood-framed terrace, right on the rocks of the coast, with its toes almost in the water. A popular pizzeria, it offers all the usual suspects, such as capricciosa and margherita, alongside more adventurous special combos such as vastedda cheese, Nero dei Nebrodi Siciliano pork, lemon zest, rocket and olive oil. Al Porticciolo doesn’t only proffer pizza, however. Try flavour-hit dishes such as sardines with fennel, raisins and pine nuts, marinated tuna with sundried tomatoes or tuna tartare with capers and peppers.

L’Angolo delle Dolcezze

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Flavoured ice cream in a shop, Taormina, Sicily,Italy
© kevin hellon / Alamy Stock Photo
Sicily is famous for its sweet tooth. Pasticceria-gelataria L’Angolo delle Dolcezze churns out some of the best ice cream and desserts that the island has to offer. Sicilian gelato is well-known all over Italy. In summer, queues form here for a fix of delicious artisanal fruit- and cream-based ices, which use the best seasonal ingredients. Special Sicilian desserts on offer include cassata (sponge cake filled with rum, ricotta and candied fruits), doughnuts and frutta martorana (marzipan fruits).

Galleria Ristorante

Restaurant, Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, $$$
Gastronomes Angelo Daino and Giuseppe Provenza conceived this gallery-literary restaurant space, Galleria Ristorante, which is appropriately part of the Museo Mandralisca complex. With changing exhibitions and regular events, this is a uniquely conceptual place to eat in Sicily. Take a seat in the elegant courtyard overlooked by sculptures in situ. Chef Antonio Di Maggio draws inspiration from traditional Sicilian ingredients. His signature dish is pasta a taianu (mozzarella, aubergine, tomato and basil), which he cooks both as the original version and in a different style with a twist, using spices from Piacenza.

La Gallizza

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Arancini or arancine fried (or, less commonly, baked) risotto rice balls coated with breadcrumbs, filled with mushrooms
© PhotoStock-Israel / Alamy Stock Photo
Sicily is renowned for its beloved street food. La Gallizza, tucked away in the outskirts of Cefalù and away from the major tourist hubs, is a great place to sample some of the island’s favourite snacks. This seemingly simple place has been delighting local taste buds since 1970. You can grab food on the go or eat in if you prefer. Among its specialities are arancini (deep-fried risotto balls) which are available in different varieties including ham and mozzarella, ragù or mushroom. Other snacks include calzone, pizza and parmigiana.

Baglio del Falco

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Sit beneath the olive trees in Baglio del Falco’s sun-dappled garden during the warmer months. In winter, cosy up inside the welcoming dining room. It serves up fantastic Neapolitan-style (thicker crust) pizzas, laden with toppings using the freshest local ingredients, such as cured meats, mozzarella and grilled vegetables. However, Baglio del Falco is also respected for its Sicilian cooking, with an extensive à la carte menu of dishes; tuck into fresh grilled fish, bruschetta and roasted meats.

Cortile Pepe

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Elevated view of Cefalu Old Town centred around the catholic cathedral or Duomo of Cefalu in Sicily, Italy.
© Photo42 / Alamy Stock Photo
In the heart of Cefalù, a short walk from the cathedral and the sea, sits Cortile Pepe, a small restaurant offering creative, contemporary uses of the flavoursome local Sicilian ingredients. Bag a spot in the glorious white-washed courtyard around a sun-slicing palm tree, then dine on a ricotta tart with tomato coulis, topped by seasoned raw shrimp, or spaghetti with mussels and black lentils. Finish with a millefeuille of strawberries, layered with cream.

Not found your place to stay in Sicily? Book one of the best hotels on the island or pick a base that gives you the local experience through Culture Trip now. Spend time discovering the top things to see and do or, for the more adventurous, try one of the island’s hiking trails. For more delicious Sicilian cuisine, take a look at the best authentic restaurants in nearby Palermo.

This article is an update of one originally by Helen Armitage.

These recommendations were updated on September 23, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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