Palermo – Mondello – eating cheaply and well

Most of the cheaper restaurants in Mondello can be found clustered together in the central square, Piazza Mondello. Street view here, Google map here . There is one in particular that stands out…

Trattoria Marinara da Piero, 13 Piazza Mondello,

In September 2021 this fish restaurant was #1 on Tripadvisor, as well as being recommended by Giorgio my AirBnB host, Lonely Planet, the Guardian newspaper, and now me! I liked it so much that I came three times in a week! It’s very popular so you need to be on the ball with your reservations.

I guess the high turnover allows them to sell fresh seafood at a lower price than other restaurants. The impressive display of seafood and the typical Sicilian decor also add to the ambience. There are a few characters amongst the staff as well, in particular my waiter Fabio who many mistake as the owner of the restaurant, such is his presence.

On my first visit I was in full treat mode so I ordered the Plateau Frutti di Mare, a glorious pile of mussels, clams, sea snails and oysters, topped with a huge octopus tentacle. The whole restaurant stopped and turned to watch this mountain of food being delivered to my table. There were doubters, but I scoffed the lot…

…and followed up with the Busiate Gamberosa, the local coiled pasta served with the typical preparation of Pesto alla Trapanese (made with almonds and tomato rather than basil and pine nuts) but here with the addition of shelled prawns.

On other visits I allowed Fabio to choose for me, and he responded by plying me with medleys of small plates. One standout was the Insalata di Polpo (made with olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and parsley) which is the speciality of the house.

Another house special is the Souté di Cozze e Vongole (with olive oil, white wine, garlic, lemon juice, peperoncino and parsley), also highly recommendable.

The Sarde Impanate (fried breaded sardines, here served with spaghetti), were a regular feature too. They were okay, but not my favourite.

Other dishes included Ostriche (oysters) and Gambereto Lesso (small boiled prawns), the latter being the only disappointment (I’m half Norwegian so I know a good prawn). These were presented in the small pans they were prepared in, each costing only €5 or €7.

A cannolicchi (small canolo) with a complementary digestivo from Fabio was the usual way to end things.

By the end of the week, Fabio and I were good pals. I’ll definitely be back as soon as I can. Ciao Fabio!

Posher nosh next…

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