In Ragusa Ibla, in the heart of the UNESCO Baroque, Locanda Don Serafino Relais & Chateaux, with its boutique hotel and 1-Michelin-star restaurant, offers the unique experience of living the charm of the caves dug into the limestone rock that made this small village famous all over the world.
The history of Locanda Don Serafino is, above all, that of the La Rosa family and of the legendary Sicilian hospitality. It was 1953 when Serafino and Elia opened Lido Azzurro da Serafino in Marina di Ragusa, the first and historic family restaurant where their children Giuseppe and Antonio grew up.
In 2000 they decided to start their own restaurant in Ragusa Ibla, the historic center of Ragusa where 14 of the 18 Baroque-style monuments declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site are housed, which, in homage to their father, they call Locanda Don Serafino.
True luxury is to “really” experience Sicily.(La Rosa family)
In 2004, a few km from the restaurant, among the narrow streets of the old city, it was the turn of the opening of a boutique hotel, located in a characteristic late 19th-century building. Recently restored, it is characterized by stone walls and 2 of the 11 charming rooms are carved into the limestone rock typical of the Iblei mountains (ask for the Experience Junior Suites).
The same allure is also found in the restaurant, one Michelin star since 2007, which is located in the ancient lowlands of the adjacent Church of Miracles, a UNESCO monument, with stupendous stone vaulted rooms.
At the helm of the kitchen is chef Vincenzo Candiano who nourishes his cuisine with the flavors and memories of the Sicilian tradition and in particular the Iblean one, a path of passion and hard work which since 2002 has led him to be the executive chef of the Locanda and achieving various awards including that of “Best Young Emerging Chef of Southern Italy”.
Recommended by the restaurant manager Gabriele Meli and the sommelier Carmelo Di Pasquale, a food tasting at the Locanda will lead you to discover the most intense flavors of Sicily with creative recipes that pay homage to the island’s history such as fresh black spaghetti with sea urchins, ricotta and cuttlefish or the catch of the day browned with cocoa butter with pork sauce mousse with cuttlefish ink, pistachio sauce and green olives, or the Dolce Tabarè.
A real treasure, unique in Sicily, is the spectacular wine cellar that Carmelo manages with the obsessive care of a museum curator, with over 2000 labels chosen from among the most important national and international producers, including extraordinary vertical collections such as that of Romanée -Conti and Dom Pérignon.
It is no coincidence that the Locanda is the favorite destination of many of the celebrities who come on holiday to Sicily, such as Mick Jagger who seems to be a big fan of D.o.P. extra virgin olive oil from Monti Iblei produced exclusively for the Locanda.
Another secret of the restaurant, right above the beautiful summer terrace, is the Luxury Suite carved into the rock with Kartell and LAGO design furniture and a private garden with outdoor whirlpool. This is the only experience in which breakfast is served, worthy of the atmosphere of the One Thousand and One Nights, in the restaurant halls.
While, for all the other rooms of the structure, it is served in a delightful lounge located in the building opposite the hotel, with a view of the Ibla hills and a vast sweet and savory choice of the best local products, from freshly made cannoli to freshly squeezed Sicilian orange juice.
Next to the restaurant, stands the Chiesa dei Miracoli which, according to tradition, was built around the middle of the 17th century, following the discovery of an image of the Madonna and Child. The finding of the icon was considered a miraculous event, hence the name. The temple, never completed, was closed to the public in 1951.
Luxury Suite from 423 euros, Experience Junior Suite from 208 euros, breakfast included
Tasting menus: from 120 euros, excluding wines
Wine tasting tours in the cellar: from 100 euros per person.