Trattoria da Tony, Catania-Sicily
We were “winging it” again!.
Last month, my husband and I were driving from Palermo to Catania, Sicily, mainly to visit Mt. Etna. It was his turn to find a hotel, as I took care of the lodging in Palermo. This was a last minute trip, and there were a million other priorities before we boarded our Alitalia flight in Nice, France. We were “winging it” again.
He fell behind schedule and by the time we got to Catania, late in the evening, we were still looking for a hotel. Visions of sleeping in our rental car crossed my mind and it didn’t appeal to me, especially in a city I had never visited.
I need food – now!
Traffic was unbearable, and we were going in circles and my nerves were shot. We didn’t have a proper lunch, and now I was getting grumpy with the thought of missing dinner. I couldn’t think, I had to eat ─ now!
While driving down a side street, my eye caught one word Trattoria ─ that spells food! We needed fuel for the brain. I knew the Sicilians ate late, and surprisingly, we were able to park the car down the street from the restaurant. We were the first patrons to be seated, and we saw welcoming smiles on the waiters. Tony was there too! We knew this because there was an entire wall mural with him in the middle.
We ordered melanzane for Antipasti, and Spaghetti cozze e vongle for the Primi; it just seemed to be the right choice. Perfect al dente pasta, perfect cozze and vongle, with a pinch of peperoncino! Absolute perfection. As usual, I ate way too fast.
My mind was racing and I asked our waiter “mi scusi, dove hotel?” and then I threw in a couple of French words, “Dormir ce soir!” He sent Tony over to our table. What a happy fellow he was, and he got the point real fast and went back to a table that appeared to be his “office”. His wife was there and she got on the phone immediately.
Fifteen minutes later, Tony came over with an address of a B&B. He wanted to show my husband the location and walked outside, he pointed in the direction, only three blocks away. It was a miracle ─ good food, and now we had a place to sleep! We finished with espresso. No amount of caffeine would keep me awake that night.
The bed never looked so good!
Finding the apartment house was easy, but we neglected to get the apartment floor. After pressing a couple of buttons, the front door buzzed for us to enter. A kind woman came out and said we needed to go to the 4th floor. This scene no doubt happened many times before. I knocked at the door and young Alberto came out and trucked our bags up five flights of stairs! He handed us the keys and we thanked him. The bed never looked so good. It was quiet and comfortable.
The following day was spent at Mt Etna. Returning to our room to freshen up, my husband announced, “Let’s try to find another place”. I looked at him and said, “Are you kidding me? Tony’s was fabulous last night, it couldn’t get any better!” We owe him!
This time, with a full buffet of antipasti ─ Caponata, fennel, legumes and artichokes, I was too full to eat dinner. My husband had Pesce Spada drizzled with EVOO and lemon.
We had unbelievable tasty food, again with exceptionally good white wine, and impeccable service. Oh what a night!
The man who saved us from sleeping in our rental car… Grazie Tony!
Trattoria daTony, 69 Via Sassari, Catania, Sicily