Here we are again giving you advice on what to do and what places to attend when you arrive in our beloved Florence. As much as the products of our land and culinary tradition are part of the city’s heritage, this time I want to take you somewhere a little different than usual, but just as good and special. Today I’ll show you a Sicilian Restaurant, perhaps the richest and most complete cuisine in Italy, extraordinary and much appreciated for how it combines different flavours among them. Then come with me because I’m taking you at “Arà: è sud” (means “Arà: is south”), a refined restaurant located in the historic centre of Florence, in via Della Vigna Vecchia, where Chef Carmelo Pannocchietti wanted to bring the secrets and flavours of his original city, Modica, and make them available to the florentines and all tourists who visit our city every day.
“Arà: è sud” is a place to visit also thanks to its excellent selection of wines of an extraordinary land like Sicily: starting with the famous Arancini (or arancine?), the Caponata, the typical Pasta, both meat and sea (what an extraordinary Sea!) dishes and, to finish, the bakery, diamond tip of the Sicilian tradition and pride of Italy.
But of course Sicily and its culinary art are much more and at “Arà: è sud” you can also experience many other dishes of this lovely region. Considering that the first principle on which Chef Pannocchietti had based his florentine restaurant was respect for the raw material, for the history of Sicilian cuisine, its tradition and consequently, even for their seasonality, you must absolutely try Pasta with Sarde(sardines) or the one named “Alla Norma” and, I assure you, you will not forget them! You could also enjoy the typical “Pizzole of Pantalica” (extraordinary one with donkey bologna), fresh fish by day or the bittersweet rabbit. To show you the attention that is placed in the kitchen of this restaurant, I’m just telling you that eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, the scent of capers and basil, come directly from the garden of Chef Carmelo Pannocchietti’s brother.
Carmelo was born in Modica, a charming country near the city of Ragusa, practically in the southest part of the island, and has a deep passion for his origin land and with his excellent work, he made “Arà: è sud”” not only one of the most famous Sicilian cooking restaurants in Florence, but also nationally and more. In fact, it is also has been selected in the “Central market” in Rome, in the Termini Train Station, where all Italian gastronomic excellence are enclosed.
And to end the meal, also thanks to his partner, Francesco Agosta, passionate (who doesn’t) of Sicilian bakery, you could conclude in the best way, with desserts: from theModica’s chocolate, to the typical and delicious “Cassata” with frosting, passing for the spectacular “Cannoli” stuffed with ricotta and candies, nothing is missing.
And the attention to details here, is not only expressed in the menus, but also in the furnishings and warmth of its rooms, just recently reopened after a renovation, which made the place even more – if it’s possible – unforgettable.
As the matter of fact, anyone who has already been there for dinner, still has that positive experience in mind and can assure you – like me – that the atmosphere here is very pleasant, the crew is friendly and prepared, there is a perfect relationship between quality and price and, above all, is priceless the feeling that you can experience exclusive flavours such as those from our Mediterranean Sea, although you’re just a few steps from Piazza Santa Croce, in Florence.
And if you want to bring some of those perfumes and taste at your home too, inside the restaurant you can buy some typical products of the wonderful South of Italy.
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