The Best Restaurants in Noto, Sicily

We were staying in Noto, Sicily for five days in February, and food was scarce.

Presumably the locals were cozy in their apartments, eating home-cooked Sicilian cuisine.  But we, the visitors, were looking for places to eat in Noto, and this proved far more challenging than expected. Eventually, we succeeded and found the tasty pasta that we dreamed about – here’s our list of the best restaurants in Noto, Sicily.

We arrived in Noto on a Monday, which was also a saint’s feast day.  There was a big religious procession in the evening, and everyone in the town seemed to be processing, so we weren’t shocked that all of the restaurants were closed.  

A saint day procession in Noto, Italy
The feast day procession was a big deal!

There was one open establishment, Frazzata Speedy Pizza, so we queued up for thirty minutes behind the Italians ordering their takeout pizza, and then guessed wildly when it was our turn to order, babbling nonsense in pseudo-Italian.  We managed to get some pizza, and we brought it back to our Airbnb. Not the end of the world, at least we had something to eat! And pizza is always great, let’s be honest.

The next day, we were prepared.  Before we even left the apartment in the morning, we did our research, picked a top rated restaurant, and made a reservation online, on a website called Quandoo (which seems to be the main Italian restaurant-reservation site).  And our reservation was successful!

We ate at the Trattoria Fontana d’Ercole.  Tasty, affordable Italian food and wine in a small, friendly restaurant packed with locals.  A reservation was definitely needed, since there wasn’t an empty table in the house. We loved it!  10/10.

Restaurant in Noto, Sicily.  Pasta and wine from the Trattoria Fontana d'Ercole!
Pasta and wine from the Trattoria Fontana d’Ercole. It was delicious!

We had figured it out.  The following morning, we selected a restaurant in Noto.  No online reservation was available for this one, but we were not to be dissuaded.  We stopped at a tourist information center on our day trip to Ragusa to ask the woman working there if she could call and make a reservation for us.  She spoke very little English, and was somewhat confused by our request, but was very gracious and did indeed appear to confirm that the restaurant would be open and we would be able to eat there.  Incredible!

When we arrived at the restaurant, however, we discovered that it was closed.  Not just soon-to-be-open. Very closed. Closed for the season, probably. Who had the woman spoken to on the phone?  What had they said? No one knows.

Noto is a small town, so we started walking from restaurant to restaurant.  Closed. Closed. Closed. Closed. Eventually we decided to just go back to the Trattoria Fontana d’Ercole to check if they might still maybe have a table open (fingers crossed).  CLOSED! Madness. It had been open just the night before! And there was no way to find this information, not online, nor posted or written anywhere. Baffling.

Eventually we found a restaurant that was open, apparently the one and only.  It was okay, but more expensive, not quite as tasty, and we were the only diners there.  Just us and the waiter.

Pasta from a restaurant in Noto, Sicily
Far less beautiful pasta and wine from a far less beautiful restaurant.

We were beginning to get concerned.  It seemed truly possible that it would be actually impossible to get food on a given night.  Luckily our Airbnb host had left us with some fresh fruit, but this could only get us so far.

The next day was our last in Noto, and we were in luck!  That morning, we made an online reservation with our favorite Trattoria, and in the evening we approached with bated breath.  Would there be lights? Would there be people? Sì sì!  Once again, we loved our meal.

Moral of the story: when on the hunt for restaurants in Noto, get an account with Quandoo, and make a nightly reservation with the Trattoria Fontana d’Ercole.  Every night, it’s worth it! And, should it be unexpectedly closed, there’s always takeout pizza!

Did we miss any of the best restaurants in Noto?  Let us know in the comments!

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