Visiting Catania? Guide to common foods & their pronunciation

La Fiera Market, Catania. 



So, you’re coming to Catania and you want to eat. Bravo!


This is a great place to be a foodie – food is cheap, plentiful and really, really good.

However, it can take some time to work out what you want to order. With that in mind, in the first part of a 2 part series on cheap eats in Catania, guest cheap foodie Kate Bailward gives us a quick guide (along with pronunciation) to some of the most common foods that you might see on menus or hear mentioned when you’re visiting here.

In the second part coming up on Thursday, Kate will share her favourite cheap eats from Catania. Stay tuned!




Arancino (ah-ran-chee-no) = breaded, fried rice ball filled with …

– ragu (rah-goo) = meat sauce (plus mozzarella)

– spinaci (spee-nah-chee) = spinach (plus mozzarella and often ham – not guaranteed vege-friendly)


Caponata by Kate Bailward


Starters (antipasti):

Caponata (kah-poh-nah-tah) = sweet and sour aubergines



Alla Norma: with aubergines, tomatoes and salted ricotta (a bit like feta) cheese



Bianca (bee-an-ka) = white (without tomato sauce)

Rossa (ross-ah) = red (with tomato sauce)

Formaggio (for-madge-oh) = cheese

Tuma (too-mah) = type of melty cheese, a bit like a mild raclette

Acciughe (ah-chew-ghey) = anchovies

Peperoni (pep-eh-row-nay) = peppers, NOT salami

Salsiccia piccante (sal-see-cha pee-kan-tay) = spicy sausage (closest equivalent to peperoni sausage)


Grigliata mista di carne


Meat (carne):

Maiale (my-ah-lay) = pork

Cavallo (ka-val-low) = horse

Vitello (vee-tel-low) = veal

Cipollata (chee-pol-lah-tah) = spring onion wrapped in pancetta

Polpetta (pol-pet-tah) = burger

Cotoletta (cot-oh-let-tah) = cutlet

Salsiccia (sal-see-cha) = sausage

Grigliata mista di carne (gree-lyee-ah-tah mees-tah) = mixed grill (will definitely include horse)

Involtini  (een-vol-tee-nee) thin slices of  pork or veal rolled around a central filling, skewered and barbecued


Fritto Misto


Fish (pesce):

Sarde (sar-day) = sardines

Vongole (von-goh-lay) = clams

Cozze (cot-say) = mussels

Fritto misto (free-toe mees-toe) = selection of breaded, fried fish

Grigliata mista di pesce = mixed grilled fish

Pesce spada (peh-shay spa-dah) = swordfish



Vegetables (verdure / contorni):

Melanzana (mel-an-zah-nah) = aubergine / eggplant

Zucchini (zoo-kee-nee) = courgette

Cipolla (chee-pol-la) = onion

Patate (pah-tah-tay) = potatoes

Patatine fritte (pah-tah-tee-ney free-tay) = chips

Insalata (een-sah-lah-tah) = salad

Pomodoro (poh-moh-dor-oh) = tomato

Involtini – as for meat above, but the outer layers are usually zucchini or melanzane rather than meat




Sweet stuff (dolci):

Cornetto (cor-net-toe) = croissant

– Crema (cray-mah) = cream

– Marmellata (mar-may-lah-tah) = jam (apricot in croissants)

– Vuoto (vwo-toe) = plain

Gelato (jel-ah-toe) = ice cream

Granita (grah-nee-tah) = sorbet

– Cioccolata (cho-koh-lah-tah) = chocolate

– Limone (lee-moh-nay) = lemon

– Mandorla (man-dor-lah) = almond

– Pistacchio (pee-stak-ee-oh) = pistachio



Kate Bailward (aka Katja) is a cat-loving, trifle-hating, maniac driver, writing and eating her way through life in Sicily as a straniera.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+


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