Where to eat 'Pasta alla Norma' in Catania. The 7 best restaurants chosen by Gambero Rosso

Apr 11 2024, 16:44
Symbolic dish of the city, it is a pasta - generally short - dressed with tomato sauce, fried eggplant, salted ricotta, and basil. Legend has it that it is dedicated to the famous opera by the musician Vincenzo Bellini, who was born here

At the foot of Mount Etna, overlooking the western coast of Sicily, Catania has a historic center of great charm declared a UNESCO heritage site for its Baroque part, which also includes the splendid Cathedral of Sant'Agata, the city's patron saint, and Via dei Crociferi. There are also Roman remains (such as the Amphitheater, the Theater, and various thermal baths) and Liberty-style buildings, very well preserved. It is worth visiting the two main characteristic markets, the Pescheria and Fera 'o Luni, to immerse oneself in a riot of voices, colors, and scents that are unparalleled.

Where to eat Pasta alla Norma in Catania


Trattoria. Inside the historic market "Fera ‘o Luni," which despite the name (luni means Monday) is held every weekday, on the first floor of an old building, is a family-run establishment dating back to 1961. Frequented by a diverse clientele, it offers refreshment only at lunchtime. Crossing the threshold, one gets the feeling that time has stopped, either because of the furnishings largely unchanged since the sixties or because of the menu, unconcerned with trends. For starters, guests can choose from a rich buffet mainly of vegetables (including caponata, stuffed peppers, and breaded eggplant), followed by daily specials, among which Pasta alla Norma always has a place of honor, grilled anchovies, horse meatballs, cassata, and crème caramel.
Aldo – via Calvagna, 3 – 095 311158

Da Antonio

Trattoria. In the heart of the city, next to Castello Ursino, which is worth a visit, is a rather small restaurant, with somewhat close-set tables and a well-kept outdoor area. From the beginning, over twenty years ago, the proposal has always been strongly traditional, between sea and land, with daily specials that obviously depend on the market. Sardines a beccafico, caponata, octopus salad, caserecce with Sicilian pesto, rigatoni alla Norma, a crispy and dry mixed fried fish, sautéed mussels and clams, all very satisfying. Handmade artisanal desserts to finish. Completing the picture is an interesting selection of island wines.
Da Antonio – via Castello Ursino, 59 – 095 2184938


Trattoria. Female-run and youthful management for this establishment in the city center. Aurora in the kitchen and Carminia in the dining room provide a relaxing break, thanks to a cuisine that focuses on the freshness of ingredients and a "modern" reinterpretation of traditional recipes. It starts with tasty bruschettas (one dedicated to Pasta alla Norma), caponata, and eggs in Purgatory, followed by first courses, Trinacria (pistachio pesto, pork pancetta, pistachio crumble, and fresh spring onion) and Liotru (the name of the Elephant Fountain in Piazza Duomo in dialect), which is their version of Pasta alla Norma, very well done. Then there's swordfish Aeolian style and sausage with fennel seeds. Alternatively, there are rich salads and sandwiches.
Deliziosa – piazza San Francesco d’Assisi, 4 – 095 6681806-327 5995921 – www.deliziosacatania.it

‘U Fucularu

Trattoria. In a characteristic street in the center, in the summer occupied by outdoor tables, here is a family-run restaurant, a safe haven for a culinary journey steeped in tradition. At the helm is Carmela Grasso, known as Melina, preparing delicious dishes: excellent caponata, sardines a beccafico, swordfish rolls, the inevitable homemade Pasta alla Norma, spaghetti with clams, Nero dei Nebrodi pork shank, grilled squid. A sweet ending with the typical cannolo, tiramisu, or the more "modern" cheesecake. In the cellar, house wine and island labels.
‘U Fucularu – via Euplio Reina, 20 – 348 5678821-346 8043010 – trattoria-u-fucularu.business.site

Giglio Rosso

Trattoria. Not far from the Cathedral of Sant’Agata, it has been a reference point for gourmets for years. The culinary line moves between sea and land, with more than honorable results. Guests sit in a characteristic environment with vaulted ceilings, many paintings on the walls, wooden tables, and chairs. Then you choose from the rich menu: swordfish and tuna with citrus, raw fish of the day, caponata, cuttlefish with onions, rigatoni alla Norma, linguine with sea urchin, spaghetti with cuttlefish ink, grilled foal fillet, Catania-style tuna, Aeolian sea bass. Leave some space for the final cassata, you won't regret it.
Giglio Rosso – via Sant’Anna, 19 – 095 7152492 – Facebook

La Taverna del Grande Albero

Trattoria. Near the splendid Villa Bellini and the Roman Amphitheater, it is a very popular establishment also thanks to its very fair prices. The kitchen, with both fish and meat dishes, is rich in flavors and aromas: peppered mussels, a tasty caponata, trofie pasta with pistachio and Mazara del Vallo shrimp, spaghetti with cuttlefish ink, caserecce alla Norma, roasted sea bass with potatoes, horse meat sandwich. No disappointment even with desserts, fried ravioli with ricotta and tiramisu. The wine list includes respectable Sicilian labels. Very convenient fixed menus.
La Taverna del Grande Albero – via Cappuccini, 21/23 – 095 313674 – Facebook

Vuciata kitchen market

Trattoria. A meeting of voices: those of the lively fish market, where this well-kept tavern "resides" (two small rooms, ash-colored majolica tiles, taupe floors, wooden tables, outdoor seating), and those of two pairs of brothers, the Catania-based Giacomo and Marco and the Umbrian Federico and Vincenzo Bianconi, hospitality experts (their Palazzo Seneca and Vespasia in Norcia). The kitchen is a tribute to the soul and products of the market. Start with swordfish carpaccio or mixed fried fish. Then spaghetti with tuna bottarga and lime, half paccheri alla Norma, a delicious fish soup. Only Sicilian wines, with glasses and "house" proposals.
Vuciata kitchen market – via Gisira, 8 – 095 3788169

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