At Bar Idda owner and chef Alfredo 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 a number of dishes. That's 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. 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 aperitivo 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.

A recipe from Bar Idda is featured in The Broadsheet Italian Cookbook. Buy your copy at

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Updated: June 23rd, 2023

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