You don’t pass through the Terrazza Costantino Restaurant by chance. In the tiny hamlet of Sclafani Bagni in the Madonie mountains, perched on a bluff which dominates a valley which was green up until a few weeks ago and will shortly become a golden yellow, you will find a restaurant which you do not expect, a cellar which you do not expect, and a chef who you do not expect.
Giuseppe Costantino is a young Sicilian who, like many others, apprenticed in the north, far from his origins. But it was only a “see you later”: last year he moved into the place which had, for twenty years, been a family-run bistrot and transformed it into somethingdifferent, something of his own. The cuisine has changed as well: the territory has remained, as have of local products, sourced right from the spot itself as well, but there are many ideas and much inspiration from his work away from Sicily.
Costanino’s dishes have been studied, continually perfected in order to become a proper compromise between “comfort food” and “wow”. Interesting his “chopped” dish: Ragusa beef from the Ibleo breed, a cheese fondue, and a raspberry sauce; the aromatic part is vegetal: fragrant verbena, daikon leaves and “Sulla coronaria” (or Hedysarum coronarie).
Not to be missed are the potato dumplings with sumac, Madonia mountain truffles, and mint, an extraordinary plate, totally unexpected when you enter a restaurant high up in the Madonia chain. The leg of lamb should also be mentioned, prepared with a cream of Jerusalem artichokes, a sweet sauce of foie gras, and artichokes, a succulent and balanced dish. And then the chocolate dessert: a play of different consistencies made even richer by a “caviar” of hazelnuts, truly excellent.
A search for the new, therefore, and high level ingredients are the key to interpreting Terrazza Costantino, a strong desire to surprise both in the kitchen and in the dining room: an attentive service and a wine list with 270 different offerings, many from outside Italy, French and German. A lovely series of vertical offerings as, for example, the Nozze d’Oro or Rosso del Conte of nearby Regaleali which clearly had to be available. An ace in the hand, clearly, this proximity to such very important houses as Tasca d’Almerita and Castellucci Miano now that, today, wine tourism is becoming of significant importance for the Sicilian economy.
All that remains, therefore, is to try the place, immerging yourselves in the flavors and aromas of a remote part of Sicily which wishes to grow, a territory with its eyes wide open towards the future.
Rione Sant’Antonio, 24
Sclafani Bagni (PA)
(B&B: 2 rooms available)