Last week was the much awaited holiday of the summer with my dad and brother.
Naturally we were headed southbound. This time following the tail of the sunshine all the way to Sicily, to a small town outside of Milo to be precise. High up on the mountain somewhere between Catania and Taormina, in a charming little place made out of old lava rocks.
Only a half hour drive from the sea, we had the best of the views from being half way up Mount Etna, with the benefits of the white sand a mere pebbles throw away. Being high up on my perch I felt quite John de Florette, in fact a lot like him, but minus the drought, death and the hard work.
Dress: Vintage, Wish it was this Emma Cook dress though
Ever the adventurous travellers the boys are (not) it took some persuading to get them off their beach towels and in the mood for culture. After days of little more than replicating the behaviour of a slug, I cracked the whip, as only the most determined woman would do, and put in to motion a day trip. I was dead set on a trip to Taormina, in all its Michelin-starred restaurant, old architecture and winding walkways abundance. Its pure mecca for the chef and art history affectionado. It is a real jem, if a little bit touristy. We were there the beginning of september, once the summer crowds had cleared which was well planned.
If you don’t know much about Taormina, you can find out more here. I could waffle, but lets face it, its best we be getting to the food…
After a little bit of wondering about the town. We got to the all important task of finding the place to stop for a refuel. We struck pure gold! Hidden off the beaten track, along an quiet rustic road is one of the most delightful little dining spots an unsuspecting traveller could hope to find.
Ristorante L’Arco Dei Cappuccini, tucked behind its high walls and vines around the corner from the city gates of Taormina.
On the menu was unsurprisingly a selection of the Italian classics, like melon and parma ham and a selection of traditional pasta and meat dishes, intermingled with some more unusual suspects.
To kick off we went for a selection of appetisers to share. Octopus carpaccio, marinated anchovies and old favourite melon and parma ham (for my less adventurous brother) all washed down with the best of Italian bubbles, San Pellegrino. The only water I wouldn’t make into wine.
As you can see it was all phenomenal, but the highlight was certainly the wafer thin carpaccio. Soft and tender, it needed only a drizzle of good extra virgin and a squeeze of lemon to perfect it.
For main course we all jumped in headfirst for seafood. Dad opted for the Sicilian fish stew with clams, cockles, monkfish and prawns. Dash went for grilled gamberoni (large prawns) and I got the catch of the day. A couple of red snapper, flecked with capers and drowned in the best tomato and butter emulsion I have ever tasted. There was nothing overly fancified or gimmicky about any of the dishes they were purely a celebration of the finest and the freshest.
Cor blimey doesn’t quite cover it..
After trying hard, and failing miserably to eat like a lady (and not get food all over myself) we got to the pudding. At this point dad and I were full, but Dash went the whole hog… Hello you honeycomb semi-freddo with salted chocolate sauce.
And so the battle of the spoons begun. Can you guess who won?
…Only the wiley one. These Wards, they don’t share puddings.
The only think left for us was a lil espresso to perk us up for a little more perusing and undoubtedly a bit more shopping.
We ambled out of the place happy as any well fed tourists could be. Delighted at our new find.
I hope that if you get a chance to visit Taormina anytime in the future, you scope this place out. We certainly ordered well, but if the ummms and ahhhs on the neighbouring tables were anything to go by the towers of spaghetti were pretty alright too.
Although Ristorante L’Arco Dei Cappuccini doesn’t have a website (it is that damn exclusive) you can find their details here.
If you have any other Sicily recommendations, please do share by leaving me a lil message in the box below.