Food: Creative (mostly fish based)
Address: Duomo – Via Capitano Bocchieri 31, 97100 Ragusa, Italy
Phone Number: +39 0932 651265
Guide Michelin: 2 stars
What I paid: 162€ (per person including 9-course tasting menu, wine-pairing and water)
Visited: October 25, 2013
There are now three restaurants having two Guide Michelin Stars on Sicily and Ristorante Duomo is probable the most famous and well-reputed restaurant of them. Most people also rank Duomo as the best restaurant on the island.
Restaurant Duomo is located in the captivating town of Ragusa (on the island of Sicily in Italy).
Ragusa’s origin can be traced back to about 2000 BC. An earthquake in 1693 destroyed most of the town and also killed 5000 of its inhabitants. About half the citizens decided to build new houses on the ridge above the old town (this new part is named Ragusa Superiore – Upper Town) and the other half renovated the old town, Ragusa Ibla (the lower town). So Ragusa is a little special though it is divided into two parts. The renovation changed the face of Ragusa that now has a baroque architecture that has earned it a UNESCO World Heritage status.
Located on an ancient narrow street in Ibla (old town), just behind the cathedral (Duomo) it takes its name from and behind the walls of a Baroque building, chef Ciccio Sultano puts a modern twist on regional seafood dishes. Restaurant Duomo is also famous for vitalizing long forgotten recipes.
There are four tasting menus to chose from at Ristorante Duomo:
- Movimento (190€) – Kaleidoscopic Menu (about twelve dishes combined with an international wine pairing)
- Basileus Hyblon (135€) – Mixed Menu
- Siquilia (160€) – Wine And Food (about a nine-course meal with wine pairing of both regional and national wines)
- Vento e Passione (120€) – (about nine courses; the same menu as above but without wine package)
We opted for the Siquilia menu.
A little appetizer started the dinner:
First out was a dish with almonds and shrimps. Not bad, but on the other hand it did not taste that much either.
Next out was some “street food” from Palermo. I could not say this tasted better than what you actually could get on the streets of Palermo so I do not actually understand what those snacks do on a 2-star Guide Michelin tasting menu.
The bread was pretty boring. However, the Sicilian olive oil served to the bread, freshly pressed just a week before, was very good (maybe the best olive oil I ever tasted):
Next, one of few highlights this evening appeared. Actually it was two small dishes that should be eaten after each order and both were really tasty. First you should start with the Anchovies…
After the anchovies you had a really good shrimp served together with some caviar:
Next we had some pasta… Again not bad, but at the same time not that tasty either.
Squid with potato… I was not that keen in respect to the overall balance of this dish. Also, the squid itself was very rubbery which indeed is not that uncommon (for squid) but I was actually expecting it to be a little bit less tough on a restaurant like this.
Pasta with langoustine. The langoustine was good but a little bit to salty for my taste.
Next, a very tasty and good refresher was served:
Next, a dish constituted different parts of the lamb were served. It was pretty good but not outstanding:
I do not remember what the dish was…
The dessert consisted of a chocolate creation that was okay:
Petit fours (okay):
Ristorante Duomo is probably the most famous restaurant in Sicily but I cannot understand that it has two stars. I can unfortunately once again confirm that very different yardsticks are used by Guide Michelin in regards to different regions. Personally I have eaten on most of the top rated restaurants on the “50 best list” and I have always considered this list very subjective in comparison to Guide Michelin but now I have serious doubts about the Guide Michelin ratings. In comparison to other 2-stars restaurants like Frantzén, Noma and Mugaritz (to mention a few that are individually different in respect to both region and cuisine) it is just a complete mysterium that Ristorante Duomo also has 2 stars (in Guide Michelin).
There is no lack in creative, the technique of the cooking or in the presentations of the dishes. However some dishes lack balance and even though the dishes definitely not are bad, they were not that tasty either (with some exceptions).
All wines served were from Sicily and the wine pairing were really good and interesting. The sommelier was also good and described the wines and its history in great detail (unfortunately I did not take any notes or photos in regards to the wines, or ask for a list…).
I may sound very disappointed and in most parts I think this is “justified”. But I also have to admit that my eating buddy was extremely pessimistic during the full dinner (and honestly also before and after the dinner…) and have to be humble and admit that this affected both my overall dinner experience and “judgement” in a very bad way.