Italian cuisine has made its way all over the world, and yet remains unknown to most as pasta and pizza overshadow the rest of what Italy has to offer. Like France and Spain, Italy’s range of meat, vegetables and seafood is vast and varies greatly between regions.
It’s in Sicily that you’ll find one of the most interesting cuisines in all of Italy. Greeks, Turks, Romans and ultimately all the Mediterranean cultures passed through at some point, leaving behind traces that Sicilians blend together with surprising ease. Of course, they have their own versions of pasta, pizza, gelato and typical desserts like cassata and cannoli, but they also have their own unique gastronomy that varies even within the region – there’s a little more Turkish influence in Palermo, a little more Greek in Catania.
In Catania you’ll find two fantastic markets: the “fiera” offers fruits and vegetables and the “peschia” has fresh fish.
Giovanni and his son don’t have a restaurant, they have a street stall close to the Duomo where they sell fresh shellfish daily. The flavour and freshness of the food, Giovanni’s hospitality and the unique ambiance make this the place to go.
The idea is simple. The fishermen bring the shellfish right to Giovanni’s door, he selects the best of the batch, and within hours you’re eating them with a smile on your face. Mussels, clams, abalone, oysters and other delicacies are opened for you by Giovanni while you enjoy an Aperol or Castello.
Giovanni’s pride in his product and care for his customers is a joy. Even though the place is only five years old, expect it to be around for generations. His son will likely pass the business on to his grandchildren because the simple concept is so brilliant.
P.S.: Just in front there’s a restaurant with a similar concept, except instead of specializing in raw food, they cook delicious dishes with any type of fish you’d like.
Text and photos: Eduardo Alonso.
Translation: Annie MacDonald