The island of Pantelleria is known as the Black Pearl of the Mediterranean for the lava flows that characterize the landscape. The origin of the island is volcanic, and it is for this reason that once you enter its environment you will feel very hot gusts of wind and a climate different from all the others.
On the island you can find the "dammusi", typical houses built in the Arab era in respect of the surrounding environment and therefore a clear example of sustainable architecture. Pantelleria is home to many cultures, as it is located between Sicily and Tunisia. The suggestive atmospheres are created also thanks to the archaeological sites of the island but also the Roman acropolis found in not too distant times.
Here you can find a lot of marine culture linked not only to traditions but also to food. There are many typical dishes and special places to eat them. Today at WillAge we want to guide you through them.
Typical food in Pantelleria
Cous Cous Pantesco. Cous Cous is a dish of Arab origin but has been adopted by Sicilian culture. In Pantelleria it is known as "Cous Cous Pantesco" and is a dish based on fresh fish and fried vegetables. Then it is moistened in a sauce made from the cooking of fish and according to personal tastes it can be or less spicy. The average cost is around 20€ and is a dish that you can find both at lunch and dinner throughout the island.
Pantesca salad. When it is too hot it is advisable to eat something fast, fresh and nutritious. What is better than a salad? It is a light dish, simple but with strong flavors: Pantesca salad is made of fish, boiled potatoes, raw onion, tomatoes and capers accompanied by cold salad. The dish has earned the IGP mark from Europe and has therefore become a real institution. The average price of this delicacy is 15€.
Pasta con l'ammogghio. It is a very special pesto based on fresh tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt and oil. Sometimes almonds are also added. This pesto is mainly used to season pasta but it is not difficult to find it in appetizers as a condiment to bruschetta. In souvenir shops you can buy different jars, and it turns out to be the winning choice for a souvenir to take with you.
"Bitter" ravioli. The name is only used to distinguish them from sweet ravioli, but we assure you that these ravioli are not bitter at all! They are characterized by a thin paste with inside local ricotta and mint. They are often seasoned with tomato sauce even if the typical recipe includes butter and sage. The average price of these ravioli is very low, a dish costs only 9€!
Bacio Pantesco. These are made of stuffed dough with ricotta and chocolate chips, a sweet that winks at the Sicilian tradition made of cannoli and cassate. The Pantesco kiss is a dessert loved by everyone and served on any occasion. Its low cost (not exceeding 2€) makes it perfect and tasty.
Murena e Cipollata. The murena (which can be translated onto moray eel) is a fish that is not easily found in Italian restaurants, but that has a very intense flavor. This dish gives the fish a much loved sweet and sour taste, in fact it consists in breading and frying the slices of moray eels and accompanying them with an "cipollata", that is a mixture of onions, capers of Pantelleria, white wine vinegar, chili and bay leaves. It is a very sought-after taste recommended only to true fish lovers.
Tumma. In the Italian tradition it is known that cheese has a fundamental and important place. Pantelleria is certainly no less, with a tradition of dairy products that does not fear comparisons and rivals. On this island it is absolutely obligatory to try the fresh cheese made from raw cow’s milk just milked, known as "tumma".
Where to eat the best food?
The beauty of Pantelleria is that it is an island suitable for everyone. With a different budget you can find restaurants and trattorias ready to meet the needs of all. Here is a list of some of the restaurants that we at WillAge consider to be the best to stop for lunch or dinner!
In the center of the island you can find the Risacca, a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the port and offering traditional dishes.
Located on the eastern side of the island there is the Osteria il Principe e il Pirata with a cellar and a terrace overlooking the sea offering typical fish dishes.
For those interested in street food we recommend the Terremeto bakery located in the town of Khamma. It is an oven that produces excellent croissants and sweets and typical salted products.
For those on a smaller budget, we recommend going to U Friscu, a fantastic place to make aperitifs while watching the sunset.
For dishes of land and sea at competitive prices, we recommend passing by the Restaurant Pizzeria & Wine Bar U'Trattu, which has a wonderful location surrounded by trees and a breathtaking landscape.
For lovers of farmhouses we recommend the Agriturismo Zinedi 800 m from the sea and 5 km from the center of Pantelleria, for those who love an experience as traditional and authentic as possible. Here you can eat with fixed price menus excellent home cooking.
Finally, near the port and with a few seats, Strit Fud is born, perfect for quick takeaway food.