At Bar Idda owner and chef Alfred La Spina serves up home-style Sicilian food with generosity and heart. The decor is simple, the wine is served in carafes or duralex tumblers and the service is friendly – creating an intimate and welcoming environment. It’s the sort of place you could overhear someone saying, “Just like nonna used to make.”
The staff recommend sharing dishes; which is sage advice, as resisting the temptation to steal a forkful of your date's Mulinciani – layered eggplant, tomato and basil oozing with pecorino – would be impossible. Arancini are served in paper patty (cupcake) cases and reveal a gooey centre of soft-boiled egg, ragu and mozzarella. Salads such as the chicory, celery and sultana help cut through the richness of other dishes.
Dessert is a highlight. Don't be scared off by the lurid green of the pistachio and almond marzipan crowning the traditional Sicilian Cassata. Filled with creamy ricotta, it's mouth-wateringly good.
If you forget to book, pull up a bar stool, order an aperitif and picture yourself in the streets of Palermo while you wait for a table. From the food and the kitsch decor to the Sicilian coat of arms emblazoned on the business card, the authenticity is evident here: delicious food in a cosy neighbourhood restaurant.
Now open for Sunday lunch.