Where to eat in Agrigento: the best restaurants recommended by Gambero Rosso

Nov 4 2023, 12:15
A city with thousands of contrasts and timeless beauty, in addition to historical wonders it also offers a fine choice of quality establishments, from historic pastry shops to contemporary bistros

Ancient Akragas

It is humbling to come face to face with the show of temples. At sunset, the grazing light makes those two-thousand-year-old tufa columns glow, built in a valley where the fruitfulness of creation seems to be concentrated, with oranges, almond and peach trees as props. And then the background, that dazzling blue sea, bordered by marl, white and porous. Sculpted by the waters and wind over the centuries, it has given life to the eyesight of the Scala dei Turchi, a few kilometres to the west, in the nearby Realmonte.

la scala dei turchi

Only here you can walk in Eden losing sight of time: to admire, for example, a citrus grove with two thousand years of history, you have to go to the Garden of Kolymbethra, in the Valley of the Temples, now flourishing and shining thanks to the work of the FAI. On the Fondo Ambiente Italiano website it’s also possible to support the project by buying crates of the delicious oranges harvested on the spot.

la scalinata di San Gerlando

The new city

That is why, for all this glorifying beauty, the comparison with the “new” city that looks down on everything from the top of the hill is pitiless: those soulless buildings built during the sack of Agrigento, from the 1950s onwards, a huge stain that still cannot erase the charm, the attractiveness of this place. Certainly the bitterness increases, at the thought of how incredibly beautiful the city would have been if they had left it alone.

il panorama della cattedrale

One can sense it by admiring the lines of Via Atenea, the city's good living room: the Middle Ages and Baroque give way to Piazza Pirandello, the renowned son of Girgenti. And then, what views from the most secluded corners. Climbing the bell towers of the magnificent Cathedral of San Gerlando is an experience within an experience, but even a chat on the benches of the Domenico Modugno belvedere, the view sweeping over the ancient sacred area, has its reason.

la capra girgentana

What to eat

We are still in Sicily, here food heritage is a big part of the experience. Those who want to focus on street food will find in Agrigento the entire repertoire of tavola calda, focaccia and fritti, such as arancine, rizzuole, ravazzate. There are also gorgeous desserts, such as cannoli, cassate, granite, almond curls. But also ancient ones, such as pistachio couscous, a recipe of the Cistercian nuns of the Santo Spirito Monastery. And on the table, dishes from the sea and the countryside, from broad bean macco to caponate, via cavatelli and involtini, with the exotic sweet and sour, the island's trademark. A great peculiarity of the area is the cheese made from Girgentana goat, a beautiful breed of sheep with long twisted horns, most likely imported by the Arabs to the island, and today reintroduced, with an interesting project of the archaeological park, in the Valley of the Temples environment.

Where to eat in Agrigento

Le Boccerie

Food lab in the city’s downtown area, on the Via Atenea, with the young Alessandro Ravanà, from Pino Cuttaia’s school, at the helm. The proposal is wide, bistro-like, centred on interesting and tasty dishes, such as broad bean macco or oven-baked glazed shin, but also ranging from gourmet pizzas to sandwiches with local products, such as vegetables in oil, Girgentana goat cheeses and black pork salumi. In summer, it is only open for dinner, but the rest of the year the focus is on an "all day" formula, from morning to evening, with a bread counter and cured meats that are also a highlight for a classy take-out. Try the pistachio cous cous. Good selection of wines, especially Sicilian.

Le Boccerie – via Atenea, 231 – Agrigento – leboccerie.it

Ginger People & Food

It is worth taking a seat just for the wonderful view from the small outdoor seating area on the street, but also for the beautiful integration project behind the work of the Al Kharub cooperative and the chef of Senegalese origin Mareme Cisse (this summer victim of an unpleasant experience of racism). Ingredients of the highest quality - starting with a tasting of Girgentan goat cheese - join seasonal dishes, rich in cross pollinations amid Sicilian and Senegalese cuisine.

Ginger People & Food- Agrigento - via Empedocle, 21 - gingerpeoplefood.com

Ex Panificio Osteria e Buvette

In the heart of the old town, in a delightful little square, a trendy place but with a soul. A former bakery from the 1950s, with old tools of the trade still inside and wooden chests for flour and grains, today it is a reference point for those in search of traditional recipes in the city, “woken up” also by a touch of creativity. Among the most popular dishes are the simple and tasty grilled primo sale, cavatelli, the sarde a beccafico skewer and the very popular pasta n'caciata with cauliflower, pine nuts, sultanas grape and caciocavallo cheese. Good wine selection, friendly and quick service. Next to the restaurant is the Buvette, a very nice cocktail bar, with a serious and well-prepared menu.

Ex Panificio Osteria e Buvette - Agrigento - p.tta G. Sinatra, 16 – osteriaexpanificio.it

Sitàri - Sorce family

To enjoy an excellent pizza go to Villaggio Mosè, at the Sorce family's venue. For the most part, local products enrich the long-rip pizzas. The menu is divided into five macro sections: fried pizzas, 4 Margherite, specialities, gourmet selection and classics. The tasting menu is impressive, at only 30 euro. The various types of dough are good, from the padellino to the pala alla romana, and the very local Cudduruni Favarese, with peeled Siccagno tomato, parmesan, sardines, garlic, basil and oregano. The service is very careful.

Sitàri - Villaggio Mosè (AG) - Sorce family - v.le L. Sciascia, 286 – sitari.it

Pasticceria Rizzo

A very modern and well-kept restaurant, on the slope leading up to the Cathedral, with traditional pastries made with care and forty years of history behind them. You come here for your morning coffee, perhaps accompanied by ricotta cream, to refresh yourself with a granita or a full-flavoured pistachio ice cream. Nothing is missing from the local confectionery anthology, from cassata to almond curls. Not a bad place to stop for an aperitivo.

Pasticceria Rizzo - Agrigento - Via Duomo, 32 – pasticceriarizzo.eu

Caffè Concordia dal 1948

In the square named after the Agrigento Nobel Prize winner for literature, the Saito family runs this solid establishment specialising in Sicilian desserts. In summer, granitas and ice creams - in cups or together with fluffy brioches - are very popular; tastings of cannoli, torta rustica, cassate (also baked), sfince di San Giuseppe, genovesi and sciarduni (a local speciality, glazed shortcrust pastry cannoli filled with ricotta cream and covered with almond grains) are a must. Also, “geli” in many flavours, frutta martorana and frolle. The repertoire of classic Italian pastries is also good, essentially cream puffs, babas, cream and fruit baskets. In the refrigerated display, cakes and single portions (the ricotta tiramisu is excellent). Buccellati and almond curly biscuits are ideal as tasty souvenirs. Friendly and available service.

Caffè Concordia – Agrigento - p.zza L. Pirandello, 36 

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