Not just another stop on your way to Taormina! Catania is one of Sicily’s best cities for street food, cocktails, and nightlife. Here’s all you need to know about sipping your way through the city of Saint Agata.
Get into town by the afternoon, check into your hotel and have a few hours to explore. Catania is Sicily’s beautiful “black rock city” rebuilt after devastating eruptions from Mount Etna in 1169 and 1693. In fact most of the original city is located underground! Check out the main square in Piazza del Duomo, meet the town’s elephant mascot, and pop into the Cattedrale di Sant’Agata. Then, grab a quick coffee and sweet snack from Prestipino Cafe, our favorite corner bar next to the fountain by the fish market. I love their mini minnuzza di sant’agata cakes and homemade faux Ferrero Rocher candies with chocolate or pistachio.
In the late afternoon make sure you save time to trek up the stairs to the rooftop of the Chiesa della Badia di Sant’Agata to see the sunset and a gorgeous view of the city. On a clear day, you’ll have a perfect view of Mount Etna from here! Just before dinner, check out Catania’s finest cocktail bar, Kitsch, on Via Sangiuliano. It’s a steep hill, so you’ll burn off some calories just in time to sip them down with a classic cocktail like a sazerac or one of Antonio and Giuseppe’s special concoctions from their Carta Siciliana.
Call ahead for a dinner reservation at Razmataz. Not exactly traditional Sicilian fare, but it is one of our favorites with special daily dishes like meatballs cooked in lemon leaves, risotto, or to-die-for grilled pork sausages. Off-menu is an antipasto basket of gnocco fritto served with a plate of mortadella. Make your own tiny sandwiches and whet your whistle for an incredible wine list featuring tough-to-find volcanic specialties like Vini Scirto, Biondi, and Girolamo Russo.
Catania is known for great street food and a night life that never sleeps. Head down to Piazza Stesicoro, the area around Castello Ursino, or Via Plebiscito for late night snacks like cipollata, sliced porchetta sausages, arancini or for the brave: grilled horse meatballs and donkey steaks.
In the morning, visit the fish market or join Casa Mia with one of our expert-led guided tasting tours. Join our newsletter mailing list to get first dibs on our Catania programs. There’s one more stop before you leave town! Check out Nelson Sicily, one of the best wine shops on the whole island with a huge selection of local natural wines from Pantelleria to Marsala to Montevago to Mount Etna and Vittoria. Tell them that Casa Mia sent you!
The Cheeky Chef, Linda Sarris was raised in a big Greek-American family with a Chef grandfather, a fisherman Dad and a kitchen full of women who loved to cook. After a career in book publishing and a secret night-school culinary degree, she ran away to Sicily with a scholarship to work for a farm-to-table cooking school. She has worked as a fishmonger at Eataly, consulted for a restaurant in Romania, cooked for a Tuscan winery and underground supper clubs in New York. With a home base in Brooklyn, Linda works as a private chef and often travels to Italy for freelance jobs like her new project SNACK, a chef’s guide to Sicilian food/wine.