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Taormina, being a historical tourist attraction, has plenty of restaurants catering to every price point. This was the best dinner of the entire trip, we all agreed, even better than one in the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo.

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Ristorante La Grotta Azzurra was recommended to us by our local contact. We even had a business card signed by the manager who promises a 10% discount.

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Simple kitchen and standard antipasti.

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The day’s catch was very attractively presented on the iced table at the entrance.

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The lobster was moving very slowly but the John Dory on the far right caught our eyes …

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Nothing to say about the decor except there were imitations of famous Renoirs and many photos of the restaurant owner holding various fishes that he caught in the 70’s ?

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For the starter, we shared a bowl of mussels and clams. Plump and juicy … very tasty.

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For the pasta course, we all had something different. I (Chris) ordered the Vongole, my standard favorite, despite the presence of clams in the starter. Excellent.

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Sue ordered pasta with shrimps and tomatoes, and enjoyed it enormously. She even complained that there wasn’t enough.

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And IT ordered one with a sea urchin sauce (al ricci di mare) – she is still talking about the dish – it was that good !

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Our main course is the John Dory also known as the St. Peter’s fish or St Pierre. The fish owes it’s name to its main characteristic, a clearly visible spot behind the gills. According to legend, over 2000 years ago, St. Peter dropped a coin into the Sea of Galilee and the fish caught it. St Peter picked the fish up and took the coin back, leaving his fingerprints on the skin of the fish.

According to a 1845 cookbook, the fish should be baked and our waiter had a reaction when we first suggested grilling it. Our dish was baked with fresh olives, olive oil and some herbs.

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The owner pretended he forgot the discount but we let it slipped. We had a great meal. Fresh, good quality ingredients cooked simply and traditionally.

We highly recommend La Grotto Azzurra and will definitely go back if visiting Taormina again.

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One Comment

  1. Oh so deicious!


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