July 5, 2014
They were strolling hand-in-hand down the street like extras in some Sicilian film. They stepped into the tabacchaio and when they emerged, I went in pursuit. How was it that I’d never seen them before, in this dinky place of 2500 people?
Concetta handed me her card. Turns out she runs a restaurant called U Saracenu, in the heart of Ragusa Ibla. I haven’t eaten there since those days when my house was a kitchen-less mess. The place seemed then like a throwback to a much earlier era, and when I popped in today, nothing in the decor had changed. The previous owner, built like a fridge, used to tell me exactly what I wanted to eat.
“I’d love a big salad, please.”
“Oh no. This no weather for salad. You need hearty fare in this rain.”
And he’d lumber from the kitchen balancing a steamy bowl of minestrone, or ricotta ravioli doused in ragú.
But he has retired, and the chef (Concetta’s hubby) and Concetta are now the proud owners, serving the same old-style, no-nonsense, no-pretense Sicilian fare at prices you’ll like.