Eating out on holiday in Favignana is as much an integral part of your trip as sunscreen. You can’t truly relax and enjoy yourself until you’re sitting back with a glass of wine in one hand and a menu in the other.
There are few greater pleasures than the joy of having someone else, a true pro, cook for you. Often cooking in someone else’s kitchen can be confusing, so it’s far easier to avoid it all together by dining out or having a chef cook for you at home! During your time in Favignana you can watch the sunset from the peace of your garden overlooking the sea, drink in the views and the breeze. But when evening comes, consider heading to the charming town’s main streets for dinner or an aperitif. It’s good to know where to go and which place will suit your tastes and needs. With so much choice, here’s where and what to eat in Favignana.
Here follows a guide and recommendations for the Favignana food scene based on personal knowledge, experience and comments from our guests and visitors on holidays here.
You won’t go hungry in Favignana. If you’re a big seafood fan, prepare to be amazed. The sea around Favignana has an abundance of marine life, most of it delicious! You may have heard about the mattanza (tuna fishing) which, although banned many years ago, was a long held tradition around the Egadi Islands. The local recommended seafood restaurants have a daily fresh catch for you to choose from. You can even head to the fish market and buy your own. I’m sure some of the local fishermen will be only too happy to give you advice on the best way to cook it, and reveal some delicious local recipes. Or you might opt for an hassle-free solution and have a local chef to select, buy and cook it for you at your place!
If you don’t fancy seafood, there is a wonderous selection of Sicilian dishes to satify every palate. You’ll find delicious pastries for a mid-afternoon snack, great for those with a sweet tooth, and your usual fare of Siciliandishes, pizzas like you’ve never tasted anywhere else, and extradordinary pasta dishes unique to the region. Speaking of pastries, be sure to try the Cannolo Siciliano for a true taste sensation.
WHAT TO EAT
A few typical dishes of the island you’ll want to try are: Cous Cous with fish, tuna meatballs, busiate pasta, cannolo and cassatelle.
Grilled tuna fish is eaten simply with onions or sweet and sour. Try raw tuna in olive oil with salt & lemon as a striking alternative! May or June is when the tuna decide to head to Favignana in their droves, so this is perhaps the best time to get the freshest catch available on the market. Although there is no longer a Mattanza, tuna is still fished in the Mediterranean by fisherman from Trapani and Mazzara del Vallo. Thus, the tradition of tuna products remains strong and can be found in every corner of Favignana.
Busiata is a type of pasta typical of the Trapani area that was traditionally rolled around a wooden stick called busa which gives it a spiral shape. You must try it with Trapani-style pesto and fish. Trapanese pesto is a variant of pesto that includes, in addition to basil, also fresh tomatoes, garlic and almonds. In case you want to try it with fish, I recommend swordfish, amberjack or busiate with sardines and fennel, or with swordfish and aubergines, with tuna and Favignana seasonal herbs, or with shrimps and courgette.
Tuna meatballs are a historical dish of Favignana and of poor origins: in the last century those who worked at the Florio factory, in addition to their wages, received tuna scraps as a sort of payment in kind. Tuna meatballs were born: the scraps were brought home and reused mixed with breadcrumbs to make meatballs. Today the tuna meatballs are prepared with the choicest parts of the fish and you can find them in restaurants everywhere on the island. Tuna meatballs with tomato sauce and spaghetti with bottarga are very popular.
Cassatelle together with cannoli, reign in Favignana. Cassatelle are sweet ravioli filled with ricotta cream and chocolate flakes, fried and sprinkled with icing sugar.
WHERE TO EAT
You’ll find sit down restaurants generally around the two main squares in the centre of Favignana as well as down by the water which is where those delicious seafood restaurants tend to be, ready to grab the freshest catch to serve. Piazza Madrice is the main square, and probably the busiest, as well as Piazza Europa, where you’ll find Ignazio Florio’s statue. The central streets of Favignana are pedestrian so I recommend a walk on your first day to get your bearings. Typically, most restaurants are in and around the main streets giving you the perfect backdrop for a relaxing evening meal with friends and family.
For such a small island, Favignana is blessed with a remarkable number of restaurants. You couldn’t try them all in a week even if you put your mind to it. A heads up: the restaurants in Favignana that are located a little further from town provide customers with a free shuttle service. In short, they will pick you up and return you to town.
Here are the musts:
It is perhaps the most refined and renowned restaurant on the island, with a cost appropriate to the quality. The atmosphere is casual-chic at this welcoming osteria (tavern) with indoor and outdoor seating on Favignana’s main pedestrian street. It specialises in creative Sicilian cuisine made with local ingredients: busiate with a tasty squid ragù, tuna burgers and desserts like silky crème brûlée with local pistachios. This Osteria is an offshoot of the more upscale Sotto Sale restaurant around the corner.
Favignana’s favourite spot for a romantic dinner, Sotto Sale caters to a sophisticated crowd with beautifully presented nouvelle Sicilian cuisine. Savour creative appetisers like tataki tuna rolls with almonds, asparagus, miso and marinated fennel, followed by seared octopus or risotto with Mazara del Vallo’s famous red shrimp – all served in an intimate, low-lit dining room.
A start-up in town, it is considered by many to be the best restaurant on the island. Very refined location with few tables and the possibility to dine outdoors along a street just outside the centre. All the first and second courses (always fish based) are remarkable. Last but not least: a supreme Cannolo! The service is also excellent, courteous from start to finish.
The location is unique and evocative: seaside, about 5 Km from Town. Here you can enjoy the sunset and the moonrise. The tables are outdoors and the whole is decorated with candles and gazebos. The service is courteous. The formula is that of a menu/aperitif: a series of small bites can be ordered from a very varied list. The small size of the dishes is like tapas. The prices are higher than average but are justified by the special atmosphere of the place. During high season advance reservations are advised, at least 2-3 days ahead or (if they do not answer the phone due to being fully booked) you can try a walk in and enjoy an aperitif watching the sunset while you go on a waiting list.
It is located in the Scalo Cavallo area, close to Cala Rossa, and can be easily reached by bike. It looks like a fairly nondescript place, but has the best busiate on the island. It offers traditional dishes and Sicilian dishes at lower prices than the island average. The restaurant has a quiet and relaxing atmosphere as it is surrounded by a beautiful flower garden. The staff is fast, attentive and dynamic.
In downtown Favignana, it offers exceptional fresh sandwiches stuffed with bluefin tuna to eat in or takeaway. While visiting Favignana, you cannot miss tasting the delicacies of this Kebabberia. Very courteous staff.
Situated on the sea, somewhat reminiscent of the restaurant in the TV series Inspector Montalbano. Fresh bream, sea bass and amberjack fillet cooked perfectly, octopus, anchovies and tasty caponata. The desserts are also excellent, especially the broken cannolo. The prices are higher than other restaurants in Favignana but the quality of the products justifies the price.
Situated outside the centre of Favignana in a beautiful garden that creates a lovely atmosphere. Spoiled for choice with a menu that offers dishes of excellent quality. Free shuttle service offered.
Located in Piazza Europa, open for lunch and dinner. Try the raw red prawns. Prepare yourself for heaven when you ask for the bill, they’ll bring you a free pudding that’ll change your life forever. Spaghetti with sea urchins is a classic here, so too in the Trapani region and is super popular. If you dine late it is often sold out but try again as it’s worth the wait. In many restaurants you can pre book it, which I highly recommend.
This restaurant is located outside the bustle of the central streets. It has a large and pleasant garden where you can sit while they prepare your table. The tables are situated in two small courtyards adjacent to the building. There’s an interesting pizza menu with some gourmet pizzas and special combinations. The pizza is an excellent, thick crust but fluffy in the Neapolitan style. Top quality ingredients.
Located a little outside the centre, inside a stylish resort. It is a beautiful Arabesque décor-style restaurant. Very courteous and attentive staff, excellent quality dishes for all palates. Strong and tasty combinations.The desserts are a must. Excellent value for money
Family-run restaurant that gives on to the south coast of Favignana, equipped with armchairs, day beds with comfortable mattresses, gazebos furnished with cushions, tables and chairs. Here you can relax and take in the sensational view. Excellent dishes and a good selection of cocktails. The owners give added value to the place recounting a thousand stories to make you travel through time.
Gastronomia: serving cheese and chacuterie boards of all kinds and local specialties. Here you can try excellent tuna and burrata, as well as rich and tasty pane cunzato (stuffed bread) to take away for your outings on the beach or boat.
Dodge the tourist crowds and duck into this traditional eatery, complete with fishing net wall art and B&W action shots of island fishermen working their trade. Fresh fish is brought to the table on platters for diners to view and choose, the abbreviated menu features many fish based first and second courses along with a dozen variations of busiate.
The restaurant is a seaside trattoria and retains a simple, no frills atmosphere. Considered a staple on the island, and with a very decent cuisine. The indoors dining room is intended to resemble an open rocky cove in the centre of the village while the sea laps the shore not far away. The kitchen boasts only local and seasonal products from land and sea. Fresh fish (obviously also Egadi red tuna) and local meats from Favignana farms. The raw prawns (or the cooked ones if you’d prefer) are also excellent! The fritto misto and the local, Moor inspired, pistachio pesto with clams are a must; as is the seafood carbonara. And don’t even think about skipping dessert when pistachio tiramisu is on offer!
The Agriturismo L’Alencio is surrounded by nature in a wonderfully privileged position overlooking the island of Marettimo. It offers meat and fish dishes at affordable prices. The vista from the restaurant is truly superb. Go for an aperitif at sunset and enjoy a beautiful view of Marettimo. It offers tourist menus at surprising prices and the staff is polite and friendly. Free shuttle service offered.
The restaurant is managed by a large family, some of whom are fishermen who fish for the catch of the day which they cook for their guests. The quality of the fish is faultless. It is worth a trip to Marettimo to taste their lobster soup which is the best in the entire region. (to be prebooked).
Everyone will advise you to try the sweets at Pasticceria FC, but with the hot weather, a granita will go down well at Bar Uccio or Gran Café Florio in Piazza Madrice. Try an Ericina (the shortcrust pastry with cream or ricotta) at Café Mazzini in Piazza Europa (the square with the Town Hall) or at the Café Aegusa, near the main church.
FOOD OVER, TIME FOR SHOPPING
Grocery stores, veggie markets, bakers, butchers’ and fishmongers, wineries and much more are available mostly in town and walking distance from the main squares. The best place to get fresh fish is down from where the ferry and hydrofoils dock. Here the local fishermen sell their catch from the previous night. The best time to go is early morning, but post 12.00 will be too late.
Everyone loves a bit of retail therapy. Favignana has quaint stores which are always much more interesting. One large boutique, Stefania Mode (right off the harbour) is particularly worth visiting if you fancy quality designer pieces from shoes to handbags and clothes. Be prepared to pay the prices however! Most of the shops on the island tend to be more in the souvenir vein, selling trinkets and mementos of your time on the island, as well as jewellery and clothes to wear on the beach. If you really do want a major shopping hit then why not try the shops in Trapani or Palermo on your way to Favignana?
I know this post is meant for those planning on visiting and eating out in Favignana. . . but why not file it away for a rainy day when sun drenched Sicily beckons.