I’ve been a little slow writing this post which is clearly due to the extreme heat of the last couple of days. This was on our way to Catania a few days ago:
During the day the heat was unbearable and even at night temperatures didn’t go below 30°C. As we heard locals repeat all the time: fa caldo da morire. We stayed in a B&B on the seaside in the Ognina district of Catania not far from the city center. The building itself was somewhat decaying, but the view we had from our terrace was amazing and made up for the small inconveniences in and around our room.
We’ve been to Catania many times before and this time we had stopped by for the weekend to shortly visit friends. The rest of the time we were at the beach as the heat made any other activities difficult. Etna obviously dominates the view around Catania, but it also shaped the land and the beaches. The greyish-black lava rocks along the city coastline are quite unique and remind you just how far the lava had reached once:
The only color popping up on the black tuff is the vibrant green of these very large capers that grow wild on the beach:
Friday evening we chose a restaurant not too far from our B&B that had very good reviews on various internet sites partly due to the organic ingredients they use and to its great location with a terrace on the seaside. This was the night of the full moon, it was hot and sticky, dining on the waterfront seemed like a soothing idea.
Cutilisci has a large, inviting terrace but unfortunately the quality of the food and of the service does not measure up to the reviews. We had almost all waiters stop by our table at one moment, one to seat us, another to hand out the menu, a third to take our order, a fourth to hear our complaint why there were no ice cubes in our drinks, and again another to explain that the ice machine was broken… They were all disinterested, inattentive like factory workers. In fact, given the size of the restaurant it did resemble a huge factory but unfortunately the mark of a good restaurant is not its size. As antipasto my husband went for a caponata leggera, that is the light version of the typical Sicilian dish made up of eggplants, tomatoes, celery, capers, olives and almonds that was so bland and boring it never should have dieted to become light. I had a millefeuille of eggplants which was accompanied by an arancinetto (a small arancino) and some of the insipid caponata leggera. The millefeuille was two times average, the arancinetto – this deep-fried ball of rice and meat, another typical Sicilian food – was at least crispy and tasty. As primo piatto I ordered a spaghetti with shrimp that made no long-lasting impression on me and hubby had a fish couscous. Fish couscous is again another typical dish of the island, you’d only find couscous made with fish in Sicily and among the North African countries in Tunisia. Unfortunately Cutilisci’s version turned out to be so salty that no other taste could be discerned as saltiness dominated everything. Maybe our daughter had the best time who was excited to have a rabbit shaped pizza:
We didn’t have any desserts as no one ever came to take our orders…This place will certainly not be treasured as a gem and we won’t be returning on future visits. Lesson well-learned: next time go for those small restaurants with much less hype.