If you think it was enough to have a 3-course meal during the day and eat a light snack at night, you’d be wrong. We were in Sicily for crying out loud and we’d been promised good food. The Italian and I had reservations at Marmoreo, a fish restaurant with excellent reputation. This seemed fitting since we stayed in Mazara del Valle, host to Italy’s biggest fishing fleet.
Marmoreo is hosted in an indoor fish market and the interior feels very Moors meets the Mediterranean. Tiled, wooden tables and mosaic decorations brought me back to Andalusia, but when the food arrived it was obvious we were still in Sicily.
The beauty of this restaurant is that it has no menu. How great is that? You don’t have to sit there with agony and wonder whether the lamb is better than the sea bass. First out was a big platter of raw fish; baby langoustines, red prawns, sardines and a fish with red scales, which the Italian couldn’t name in English, hovered in front of us like a mirage. It was a blow out starter, and we felt that even the olive oil base the fish and seafood so beautifully were placed upon, needed to be soaked with white, rustic bread.
We then had to brace ourselves as plate upon plate came and we didn’t know if it’d be the last one. At one point we had to fend off a waiter who tried to clear a plate with leftover olive oil, which was the only ingredient remaining from a warm octopus dish with tomatoes and parsley. Forget chewy calamari, this was divine.
After we saw dish four being cleared on the table, the Italian suddenly got nervous. Where was the pasta? Would they serve squid, fish balls, squid again and octopus without including Italy’s number one meal? The wrinkle between his eyebrows suggested he couldn’t completely relax. I, on the other hand, had clocked big, juicy langoustines from our neighbours’ table and couldn’t really concentrate until I knew we would get a taste of those too.
And then in they came. First the pasta, which was served with a meaty white fish that had the same texture as tuna. Again, we didn’t know the name in English. The Italian helped himself to 2 1/2 servings, and I surrendered after half, I think I would’ve preferred a less heavier fish. Il grande finale however, was the langoustines. Freshly cooked and still warm, the white flesh was salty and irresistible. I had four big ones and that sealed the nail in my coffin… Although I have to admit I also had a serving of cactus fruit as well as a marzipan treat filled with orange jam.
I can assure you that after such a feast there was only one position I could sleep in, belly up.