Where to stay, eat and shop in Palermo, Sicily

With Sicily's capital slowly being transformed into a vibrant, youthful city, built on a strong Italian culture, we take you through the best places to stay, eat and shop in Palermo.

By Jeni Porter
Osteria Mangia


Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa Constructed 10 years ago in a former convent and church, the hotel has a lovely bar around the old cloister and a great location near Quattro Canti in the historical centre. Via dei Cartari, 18, +39 091 320 075,

Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa.

Grand Hotel Wagner One of Palermo's few five-star hotels has an Old World charm with extensive wood panelling and marble. Close to Teatro Massimo and the new town's ritzy Via della Libertà retail strip. Via Riccardo Wagner, 2, +39 091 335 627,

Palazzo Brunaccini A chic conversion of a palazzo into a boutique hotel comprising 18 rooms and suites in the heart of the Albergheria district near the Quattro Canti and the souk-like Ballarò street market. Piazzetta P.ssa Brunaccini Lucrezia, 9, +39 091 586 904,

Palazzo Montevago Two suites inside a beautifully restored palazzo built around a courtyard. Guests can use some of the grand living rooms and take breakfast in the formal dining room. Via Maqueda, 92, +39 091 784 6277



Bisso Bistrot Dario Bisso's all-day bistro is all about being simpático. He keeps the food simple with classics such as pasta alla Norma and swordfish involtini. Via Maqueda, 172, +39 328 131 4595

Enoteca Butticè A lively wine bar and restaurant serving great wine by the glass, excellent aperitivi in the early evening, and a full daily menu later on. Try the baccalà a sfincione, salt cod baked with tomato and herbs. Piazza San Francesco di Paola, 12, +39 091 251 5394,


Friggitoria Chiluzzo This fast-fry shop serves freshly made chickpea fritters and other goodies such as deep-fried broccoli or artichokes, with street theatre on the side. Piazza Kalsa, 11

I Grilli Pietro Greco's downtown bar has a funky vibe with DJs or live music and good cocktails. Largo Cavalieri di Malta, 11, +39 091 334 130

Osteria Mangia e Bevi With just enough gingham to offset the starkness of exposed tufa stone walls, this osteria serves food "that speaks Sicilian". House specialty, pasta fritta, is a fresh take on leftover pasta. Largo Cavalieri di Malta, 18, +39 091 507 3943,

Ristorante Trattoria La Tonnara Without doubt the best spaghetti ai ricci di mare in a town that takes its sea urchin seriously. The secret is minimal intervention and freschissimi ricci. Piazza Tonnara, 18, +39 091 363 055

Cocktail at Tribeca.

Tribeca Greco's contemporary cocktail bar is the go-to aperitivo spot for the city's young professionals. Although inspired by its NYC namesake it specialises in sushi and serves cocktails with a Japanese twist. Via Mariano Stabile, 134, +39 091 332 963

Trizzano The terrace, overlooking Arenella fishing port, is a lovely spot in summer for aperitivi. Piazza Tonnara, 2, +39 091 637 3185


FPAC Gallery Francesco Pantaleone's cutting-edge contemporary art gallery has rotating exhibitions by Sicilian and other Italian artists. Via Vittorio Emanuele, 303, +39 393 435 6108,

Mariella Ienna Design The lawyer turned designer uses her insider knowledge and extensive contacts to create specialised tours for visitors interested in art, architecture and design.


Palazzo Abatellis Brilliantly designed by Carlo Scarpa, the regional art museum shows some of Sicily's greatest art treasures including the massive 15th-century fresco Triumph of Death. Via Alloro, 4, +39 091 623 0011,


FPAC gallery.

Panormus and Le Vie dei Tesori Two annual programs - Panormus from February to May and Le Vie dei Tesori in October - stage walking tours, events and offer access to sites usually closed to the public.;


GETTING THERE Etihad Airways flies to Palermo with two stops (Abu Dhabi and Rome) from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane with codeshare partner Alitalia.

  • Author: Jeni Porter