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Siracusa: l'Ancora

Reviewed by: Stefano from NY, review #1639

When: 2005

Thank you EVO from CA for recommending this winner!

Guide books and online reviews are often misleading, but EVO from CA really nailed this one. I almost don't want to spoil this place, but it's too good to keep quiet! We were the ONLY tourists in the place. No one spoke English. No one around us even looked at a menu! This was the BEST meal I ate in Sicily and I am an absolute food snob.

The fish was incredibly fresh. The dishes were simple and flavorful, with perfect ingredients. I had a seafood spaghetti that knocked me out. The grilled dourade tasted like lobster. We showed Giancarlo (the proprietor) EVO's review from SlowTrav. He smiled and had delicious lemon granita sent to our table in a snap. The scene around us was amazing too: all locals who knew Giancarlo. Food endlessly flowed to other tables, seafood fritti di misto, urchins, etc. It ALL looked delicious.

Reviewed by: EVO from CA, review #716

When: 2003

There is no question that the best meals we ate in Sicily were at líAncora on Ortigia Island in Siracusa.

Directions: The north-most point of the tiny island of Ortigia, is connected to the main city by a small bridge. Soon after the bridge is the open-air fish market facing the water. The restaurant borders on this market.

We were staying at the Albergo Domus Mariae (HIGHLY recommended: Right on the water, impeccably clean, Frette linens, heated towel racks, very nice breakfast. Way over itís 3 star rating & reasonable price), which is owned and operated by an order of nuns. The energetic desk clerk, Cinzia, decidedly not a nun, whispered sotto voce the name of líAncora to us, saying it was not sophisticated enough for the nuns, and they donít like the hotel to recommend it.

It is located on the edge of the open-air fish market near the top of Ortigia, and is packed every afternoon and night with locals, some in their muddy boots, some in suits and ties. We were the only foreigners. If you are there on a Fri. or Sat. night, donít miss it! They will probably have musicians singing Sicilian folk songs. Being Sicily, people donít show up Ďtil 10:00 and keep coming Ďtil midnight.

The food is totally unpretentious, impeccably fresh and lovingly prepared. A perfect example of East-Sicilian regional food. The very best spaghetti con sarde (sardines)- a Sicilian classic - we ever ate. Its memory still haunts me! The sweet & lively waitress Roxy, from Romania, kissed everyone, including us. Youíll get a kiss, too. The owner is Giancarlo and he will kiss you, too.

We ate in several other Ortigian restaurants, and wish now we had eaten every meal at líAncora. You wonít find it in any books. A substantial lunch cost the equivalent of US$90 and a lavish dinner with much wine and grappa cost $140, both for 2.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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