Noto / Crocifisso: (almost) starred local food
Few streets away from Noto city center, walking uphill to the Church of Crocifisso, you will encounter a cozy restaurant, elegant but not pretentious, with an interesting wine list and, most of all, renowned by many guides for the great use it does of local ingredients.
The highest recognition, the first michelin star, is the only one missing, but we believe that it will not take too long with such an excellent selection of starters and the wise use of fresh fish combined to seasonal ingredients.
We are talking about the Ristorante Crocifisso of chef Marco Baglieri: a self made chef, who learned the job by working next to his parents in the family Osteria.
Here we had an unforgettable dish: pane e panelle (bread with fried slices of gram flour, typical of Palermo street food, enriched with red prawns and burrata flavored with green lemon zest.
An absolute delicacy, to be grabbed and bitten without hesitation... And hesitation was not there in our case and almost didn't give us time to set up the plate for a pic!
Bottura would have probably called this dish: 'the arancina not arancina'! Our apologies to the chef, but this is to say that sometimes things (or food in this case) are not what they look like.
This arancina - the famous fried Sicilian rice balls filled with meat or mozzarella and ham - does not contain a single grain of rice!
It is instead a millefeullie of eggplants and caciocavallo ragusano (the star of the area): you would expect a taste that pokes your tastebuds, bitter and salty.
On the contrary, the result is rather mild, pleasant and absolutely in line with fine dining experience.
Ps. The menu at Ristorante Crocifisso is very affordable and extremely generous: we order a tuna steak, coated with nuts and served on a fresh caponata, and it was really huge.
We know that some people may think it differently, but we believe that smaller portions are equally able to satisfy the senses when prepared with high quality ingredients and sophisticated combinations of tastes and flavors.