Not too long ago, Ortigia housed a prison and most of the houses on the island were inhabited by the families of prisoners. Then, over the past, thanks to the interest in the policy that has financed a large part of the restructuring of Ortigia and Ibla, Siracusa has become an almost obligatory stop for those who choose to spend their holidays in Sicily. Here the offer of restaurants will give you a headache and the choice will not be easy.
We spent a very pleasant evening at Al Mazarì, a restaurant in a small street behind the Duomo, set up by a friendly family of Mazzara del Vallo: Papà Ludovico in the dining room helped by his son Sommelier Peppe, Mamma Silvana in the kitchen assisted by her other son Enzo. The environment is very warm and nice and all the strange contrast between a refined restaurant and its all-familiar management emerges: Al Mazarì you will with candlelight with a light background music… Because the other great passion of the Roccafiorita family is the Jazz which is played during the cold winter evenings.
Recommended by the Michelin guide, the restaurant offers dishes from western Sicily, where many of the dishes that make Sicily famous all over the world come from, dishes that are largely influenced by Arab colonization: “In these parts (Syracuse) there are 6/7 typical dishes, you can’t even compare the cuisine of Ragusa with the Trapanese “Ludovico tells us” If in those parts a stranger comes to cook you can be sure that nobody will eat from him … We eat too well in our homes to eat from one that does not come from there”.
Al Mazari offers mainly seafood dishes and is famous for the fish couscous prepared according to tradition. We have started the dinner with seafood appetizers, memorable for fried octopus, mussel soutè, sea meatballs and the unusual breed. A dish not easy to be prepared and very abundant. Then comes a welcome gift from the kitchen, a delicious Trapanese salad with potatoes, onions, olives, tomatoes and barzotto egg.
Among the first dishes are spaghetti cu la sàissa and fried milinciani, linguine with sardines, pasta with pesto from Trapani, with sword ragout.
The main dishes vary depending on the available fish but the main character is swordfish, matalotta or Trapani, then sardines a beccafico, and tuna. The dishes are well balanced and the flavors are not chaotic – as happened to me in several Sicilian restaurants – but they follow their path with determination. To end the evening, we turned to the excellent Cassata, a sweet of Arab origin, like so many of the restaurant’s culinary offerings. The price is not cheap but the restaurant is worth every penny.
Honestly I can’t wait to come back, maybe in winter, so after the excellent dinner I listen to a nice live Jazz concert …
PARKING: in Ortigia there is the ZTL, it is not easy to park
PRICE: 40 euros
CLOSING DAY: Sunday and Tuesday (for summer lunch – winter dinner)
TELEPHONE: 3336526900/0931 483690
ADDRESS: Via G. Torres 7 96100 Ortigia