We could easily have missed it, writes Catherine Till, just back from a trip to Sicily. There was no mention of it on the map or in the guidebook, and no signs in the town. The honey-coloured building set in the corner of Giardino Ibleo in Ragusa, overlooking the ravine, does not announce its current identity loudly.
Catching a glimpse of the stone-vaulted corridor through the glass door we venture inside and, abandoning our earlier plans for dinner at the intriguing Sicilian-Slovak restaurant, we book a table at Cenobio. Dinner is served at the frescoed refectory of the convent, and the food, service and ambiance is of Michelin star quality, at about a fraction of the expense. The menu changes monthly, the ingredients used are organic, seasonal and local, guided by a zero kilometre policy, and the flours used are ancient varieties.
Highlights of the meal were an amuse-bouche, consisting of ricotta encased in a thin layer of crushed black olives, a playful take-on the traditional Sicilian cannoli; 4 kinds of oven-warm bread; Mediterranean falafels with Jerusalem artichoke and turmeric sauce; a pre-dessert of strawberry ice-lolly in the shape of a tomato quarter with a drop of cream inside; and a mille-feuille of cacao pasta and dark chocolate cream, with lemon curd and cardamon meringue topping. Highly recommended.
Via del Giardini, 1
97100 Ragusa Ibla
Tel. +39 0932 686750
Fax 0932 627431
Mob. +39 347 1472915