In the heart of Ragusa Ibla inside what was an ancient synagogue, I Banchi is a bakery and restaurant born from the desire of chef Ciccio Sultano, 2 Michelin stars, to create a reference point of “Sicilianness” in his city open all day.
Pane al pane (pane is bread in English), quotes the motto of the restaurant inaugurated in 2015 by the “sultan” in name and in fact of Sicilian cuisine, famous for having launched Ragusa into the Olympus of haute cuisine with the opening of his Ristorante Duomo among the baroque alleys of Ibla, the ancient historic center of Ragusa.
A location, the basement of Palazzo Diquattro, which represents the true soul of Sicily not only in its food and wine offer, but also in its complex history. Bakery, bar, restaurant and putìa (grocery store), I Banchi was born, in fact, among the stone vaults of what was first a synagogue and then, after the earthquake of 1693, it became the cellar and carriage house of a noble residence.
The cuisine of I Banchi is not just any proposal, it can be fast, but it is always “polite”, well-born, inspired by great cuisine and executed with exemplary care.(Ciccio Sultano)
Centuries full of events of which I Banchi retains traces, as can be seen from the ancient ablution tub in the suggestive “grotto” with mirrors at the back of the room, as well as, returning to the present day, in the works of art that decorate the first room and are inspired by religious themes and local folklore.
Led by executive chef Marco Corallo, former sous chef of Ciccio Sultano at the Duomo Restaurant, the gastronomic offer of I Banchi also tells of millennia of recipes, rites and traditions of Sicilian cuisine. Starting, obviously, with bread, the first “counter” (banchi means counters in English) you encounter as soon as you enter the place.
There are many varieties, based on ancient and selected flours, such as the bread from Perciasacchi, known as long spelled, the black one from Castelvetrano, mixed with three flours, Tumilìa, Biancolilla and Rossello, and the most famous focaccias such as scacce Ragusane, made of leavened puff pastry, or the revisited Palermo sfincione.
I Banchi is also a pastry shop, where local musts cannot be missing, such as cassata, cannoli, but also the delicious panettone to be enjoyed with pistachio cream. All around, many shelves where you can really buy the best of Made in Sicily products.
Once past “the counters”, you reach the heart of the restaurant which offers informal cuisine that ranges from dishes designed for a quick break, to various tasting menus. Many traditional recipes are proposed – such as pasta with sardines with saffron, raisins and fennel or that with three tomatoes, Palermo-style amberjack steak with vegetable caponata and San Bernardo sauce or pork coppa with chocolate sauce and candied pear – revisited with elegant contemporaneity from the Sultano chef brigade.
A place to truly experience all day, in the summer at the tables nestled along the street, and in the winter in the small vaulted rooms, perfect from breakfast to dinner.
In 1693 a terrible earthquake destroyed Ragusa which was partly rebuilt on the nearby Patro hill. This is how the two distinct inhabited centers of Ragusa and Ragusa Ibla, the oldest, were born, which only in 1926 were reunified in the current provincial capital city.
Via Orfanotrofio 39
97100 Ragusa Ibla
Tel. +39 0932 655000
First courses: from 11 euro
Second courses: from 14 euro
Desserts: from 11 euro
Focacce: from 4,20 euro
Tasting menu: from 32 euro