Opened just 9 months ago, Mastrarua has already become a culinary landmark on Syracuse’s island of Ortigya. It is owned and operated by a family-kids Melina and Andrea at the front of the house, mom in the kitchen. The entire staff is friendly and hospitable, characteristics honed in the B&B business (they also own a B&B next door). The interior design is contemporary with the occasional exposed masonry wall as a reminder that the restaurants location is a centuries-old building.
The menu features both meat and fish but since Mastrarua is only one block from the sea, I opted for fish. I began for the Isola dei Cani antipasto, a mixture of fried fish, one of the lightest I have ever eaten. Especially remarkable were the neonati (baby fish) fritters heavily seasoned to perfection with lemon and herbs. The day’s special was homemade pasta with sea urchins. I had seen piles of hollowed-out sea urchin shells in front of fisherman’s homes along the sea earlier that day, a reminder they are in season. How could I resist? My second course was the exceptional house fish dish, an almond encrusted filet of sea bass, and a wonderful juxtaposition of textures. For dessert, I chose a ricotta mouse which was light and fresh.
A complete meal with an appetizer, first course, second course and dessert will cost around 35 euros per person without wine.
Via Vittorio Veneto, 11