Last weekend I spent a glorious few days in the idyllic town of Cefalu on the northern coast of Sicily. We were staying in the gorgeous Villa Borghetto about 6km out of the main town up in the hills. My sister and I were holidaymakers on a foodie mission and were hungry to try some local delights. We were lucky enough to have a guide to show us the sights of the town and also the good places to eat and drink.
We made our way to a restaurant for an early lunch. Cortile Pepe was the restaurant chosen by our guide Angelo who was a born and bred local. His choice of restaurant for lunch was based on his knowledge of Cefalu so Estella and I were happy! We were seated outside in the little courtyard which was perfect. The weather was just the right side of warm so no jackets were required! Angelo suggested we try lots of local specialties. We both said that fish dishes were at the top of our list. It was great to be served some local Sicilian wine too. This particular Nero D’Avola was divine.
Both Estella and I don’t eat meat but fish is a definite yes. So after a little consultation with the owner Angelo had ordered for us. Dish after dish came out for us to sample. Firstly a little sardine flan with pesto and tomato. Sardines are a very popular fish in Sicily. Then came three more dishes. A local fish pate on a broad bean purée and the highlight for me was slow cooked octopus that had been finished on the barbecue with a beetroot purée. It was so tender and delicious that I didn’t want it to end! There was also grilled aubergine on an aubergine purée finished with pesto and tomato. Delicious.
After our tasters of the fish course we moved onto the second course. Various pasta dishes were sent out for us to try. A big pasta tube with fennel and a local fish, a crescent shaped stuffed pasta with shrimp and a pancake filled with ricotta on a tomato sauce. Once again, all cooked beautifully and so tasty.
We were then offered dessert. A little pot of the creamiest tiramisu that I had ever tasted and a deconstructed cassata which is a local specialty here. Sponge with ricotta and candied fruit usually covered in marzipan. This was a modern twist on the original so the marzipan was left out. We finished our meal with the most delicious coffee and dessert wine made locally on a small island called Pantelleria just off the mainland.
We were blown away by the quality of the local produce and the hospitality of the restaurant owner. Everyone in Cefalu is so friendly, warm and welcoming. An absolute joy to be around.
If you happen to be in Cefalu please try Cortile Pepe. It’s a family owned restaurant in one of the friendliest places I have ever visited. I would highly recommend it. The food and the service is excellent. Thank you Angelo for showing it to us.
You can find Cortile Pepe at 9, Vicino Hotel la Plumeria, 90015, Cefalu, Sicily, Italy
Telephone number 00 39 0921 421630