Thursday, September 13, 2007

Taormina, Italy

We went to Sicily for an end-of-summer holiday. We stayed on the beach at Giardini Naxos but, one day, we went up to the rarefied heights of Taormina.One claim to fame for this town is that D.H. Lawrence wrote "Lady Chatterly's Lover" there in the 1920s. He was reportedly inspired by an Englishwoman who liked to frolic naked with a Sicilian farmer.

We had a good time, despite being fully clothed. The locals appear to want to encourage this trend. The streets are now lined with high-end clothes shops.They are also filled with crowds of people. Our short visit was rather, shall we say, pedestrian.

We walked around and took in some of the sights as evening approached. It reminded me slightly of Capri.Based on a recommendation from our Lonely Planet guide book, we thought we might eat at Il Duomo. But tables were only available inside, not on the terrace, so we passed on it.There are a lot of nice looking places, and I'm sure the execution and quality differ, but almost all the menus look the same -- the same spaghettis, risottos, pizzas, seafood, scallopinis.

We decided to eat at La Taverna dell'Antiquario because its menu looked a little different. It had a nice terrace.The restaurant looked stylish and modern inside.We started off by splitting an order of risotto marinara. This is actually a picture of a half serving.It is made with mussels, clams, prawns, calamari, freshly chopped parsley, and cherry tomatoes. We had this dish many times during our stay in Sicily, and this was one of the best versions.

However, every time we got this risotto at this and other places, we always asked for lemon to squeeze on top to punch up the flavor.

V got the grilled prawns. She thought they were excellent.I ordered beef cooked in balsamic vinegar. It actually looked like veal to me. It was nice, but there was only the slightest hint of the balsamic and I wished for more.The potatoes on the side were good, and V particularly liked the treatment of the eggplant. I'm not sure how they cooked it, but it was almost custard-like.

We shared a bottle of wine and enjoyed the view of the stony peaks above the town. I think, in the end, the total bill was around 60 euros.

Taormina is an expensive little playground town, but it is possible to have a very nice dinner without it costing you the shirt off your back.

La Taverna dell'Antquario
Piazza San Domenico 2B
Taormina, Italy
Tel. (+39) 0942 24490

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