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Pastries & Gelato
Sicily makes some of the world's best pastries and ice cream. This page lists the better ice cream and pastry bars in Palermo. (We hesitate to refer to these places as "cafés.") Here in Sicily, desserts are practically a way of life. Our criteria for selecting these cafés, apart from quality, is that they have tables where you can enjoy your pastries, ice cream or coffee. That is not to say that all of them have waiters; in some of these cafés you purchase what you want and then take it to a table. In Sicily, cafés are typically open all day from around 8:30 in the morning until around 10:00 or 11:00 at night, with no afernoon closing. Most are open Sunday, too. Our critics' collective opinion is that the quality of all the places mentioned is about equal, though some offer a wider variety of pastries or ice creams than others.
Spinnato. Practically a Palermitan institution, at Via Principe di Belmonte 117 off Via Maqueda, a block from the Politeama opera house. Serves pastries, drinks and ice creams at the tables on a street closed to traffic.
Ilardo. Open from May through October, this ice cream bar offers comfortable seating under shady trees across from the seaside park. It's in the Kalsa quarter at Foro Umberto I number 5, between Porta Felice and Via Alloro, partly built into the old wall (Mura delle Cattive) and not to be confused with a similarly-named establishment down the street on the other side of Via Alloro.
Accardi. On the corner of Via Piave at Via Alessi, off Via Basile, which borders the main university campus. The neighbourhood isn't much for scenery but Accardi's pastries are excellent.
Alba. Piazza Don Bosco. Located near Via Libertà and Viale Lazio, Bar Alba is often quite crowded, with standing room only.
Cubana. Via Pitrè 141. It's in the Altarello district near Via Regione Siciliana, the highway that loops around Palermo, but La Cubana is actually worth a small excursion.
Gran Nobel. Piazza Unità d'Italia. Located at the edge of the square, Nobel is elegant but more a bar/café than a pastry maker.
Mazzara. Via Generale Magliocco 15 at Via G. Vaglica. Near the Teatro Massimo.
Recupero. Via Malaspina 90. Though its neighbourhood is nothing special, Recupero is famous among Palermitans for its vast variety of ice creams.
Renato. Piazza Mondello. Located in the main piazza in Mondello, the seaside resort district of Palermo. Good selection of ice creams and granite (ices).
Santoro. Piazza Indipendenza. Near the Norman Palace in central Palermo, on the edge of a wooded square. A shady spot on a hot day of sightseeing.
© 2008 Best of Sicily Travel Guide. Used by permission.