In Catania, a traditional Sicilian restaurant and putìa, as the sign says, with the atmosphere of the romantic 1920s Little Italy of Once Upon a Time in America, among stalls full of artisan specialties, lace and fairy lights.
Me Cumpari Turiddu is located in the central Piazza Turi Ferro, formerly Spirito Santo and, from its entrance, takes us back to the charm of the putìe of the past, the neighborhood culinary shops where you could really find everything.
But who is Turiddu? As an inscription on the walls of the room says, Turiddu is “a little boy who grew up in America with the stories of his Sicilian grandmother”. A metaphor of every person, in every age, who has left Sicily to then return and decided to stay, sometimes with the heart, sometimes physically.
I wanted Me Cumpari Turiddu to recall family dinners where grandmothers and aunts took care of every detail with love, between antique laced tables and crystal chandeliers.(Roberta Capizzi, founder)
Like the owner, Roberta Capizzi, who at the beginning of the 2000s, formerly a lawyer based in Milan, decided to change her life and go back to her origins, opening a restaurant in her city that could represent a journey into the memory of an ancient Sicily to be relived and savored with small artisan productions and Slow Food Presidia.
Among Jazz music, soft lights, and recycled furniture, chef Gianluca Leocata rediscovers and reinvents the grandmother’s recipes, preferring organic raw materials with a short supply chain and very fresh vegetables, grown directly on Roberta’s family estate.
A journey that begins with the characteristic pedestal plate of Me Cumpari Turiddu and the amuse bouche based on different types of homemade leavened products and continues with traditional dishes such as Macco soup of broad bean from Leonforte, spaghetti alla Turiddu with masculina da magghia, spatula fish rolls with stimpirata vegetables, palermitana of donkey from Ragusa, biancomangiare with almonds and sweet couscous from the Convent of Santo Spirito.
Very well stocked, Me Cumpari Turiddu’s wine cellar presents a wide selection of labels from small island realities, mostly produced in an organic and natural way in respect of the sustainability of the valleys. While on the shelves, you’ll be spoiled for choice among the best Sicilian products, from Modica chocolate to Donna Angelica IGP Sicily oil.
Open for dinner every day, and also for lunch on weekends, Me Cumpari Turiddu, thanks to the gigantic open kitchen, the bar at the entrance and the smiling and friendly staff, is a place where you immediately feel at home, among “cumpari” (friends).
Truly a must-try, the sweet couscous is an original recipe of the nuns of the Monastery of Santo Spirito in Agrigento, the only Cistercian order that has survived in Sicily, which Me Cumpari Turiddu has revisited with a delicious mixture of semolina, Bronte pistachios, cinnamon, drops of chocolate and candied fruit on a bed of vanilla cream and strawberries.
Starters: 7 — 22 euro
First courses: 10 — 13 euro
Second courses: 13 — 23 euro