Vegan Advegtures: Taormina, Sicily, Italy

It has become a bit of a summer tradition that every year, @thebigjolleyvegan and I meet my parents somewhere in Italy for my birthday 🎈 Last year, we visited Naples, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast & Capri. This year, we decided to visit Taormina in Sicily

I’d never been to Sicily before but had heard great things! We really wanted to use this holiday to relax so we didn’t do much travelling around. Therefore, this blog post is very Taormina focused. I’d love to return and visit other areas of Sicily another time as we were blown away by how pretty and quaint yet buzzy Taormina was!
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Having visited Italy before, I have a good idea of the types of dishes I can order and the the ingredients I need to remove in order to make a dish vegan but I always hop on @happycow & @tripadvisor before I fly for extra tips and ideas ✈️⁣⁣ Some of the places we visited were places I found on that site and others were places which we found on our travels and which we thought looked beautiful.

I would start by saying that Taormina is not the cheapest destination generally but you can find cheaper meals.

Here’s the list of places we visited in the order we visited them:

🌱 Licchio’s Bar

🌱 La Gelateria

🌱 Unahotels Capotaormina

🌱 La Zagara

🌱 Ristorante Rosmarino Taormina

🌱 Gambero Rosso

🌱 Il Gabbiano

🌱 Timoleone

Here’s a map showing the location of all of the restaurants:


So, down to the nitty gritty. Here’s what we ate and what we thought:

1. Licchios

Where is it?

Largo Santa Caterina, 7, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy

What’s it like?

This is a busy spot positioned near the start of the town so it appeals to tourists as it’s one of the first places you find. Most of the seating is outside and it’s a good spot to people watch! The service wasn’t great as it was a little rushed. This is an omni restaurant but they’ve got a very small section at the back of their menu with three vegan options in: Soya lasagna, soy cutlets with quinoa and salad and vegan arancini. They had run out of the soya lasagna so instead, they made us a vegan spinach ravioli dish with a tomato sauce. Chris wanted a pizza on this night and the staff were able to offer us a custom made pizza to suit our needs. They did understand veganism and were happy to help us.

What did you eat?

  • Vegan arancini balls – 4 Euros (£3.60)
  • Aubergine, mushroom, courgette & tomato pizza⁣⁣ – 10.50 Euros (£9.45)
  • Spinach ravioli⁣⁣ – 10 Euros (£9)

What did you think of the food?

  • Vegan arancini balls – These were lacking in flavour and were quite tough and dry. I wish the tomato flavour had been stronger and that they had been a bit more moist
  • Aubergine, mushroom, courgette & tomato pizza⁣⁣ – The base of the pizza was alright but the toppings were lacking in flavour, especially the tomato. The courgette was cooked really well though. Wanted juicier mushrooms!
  • Spinach ravioli⁣⁣ – The ravioli was cooked well and the spinach filling was nice but it was very oily and I wanted the tomato to be more of a sauce with a stronger flavour

More information:

Check out their instagram


2. La Gelataria

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Where is it?

Corso Umberto, 135, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy

What’s it like?

This is just your average ice cream shop with some seating inside. The main offering is dairy ice creams but they also have a range of soy ice creams which is an absolute treat!

What did you eat?

  • Hazelnut soy ice cream – 2.50 Euros (£2.25)
  • Pistachio soy ice cream – 2.50 Euros (£2.25)

What did you think of the food?

  • Hazelnut soy ice cream – Beautiful flavour, super creamy
  • Pistachio soy ice cream – Again, very creamy but flavour needs to be stronger

More information:

No website / social media


3. Unahotels Capotaormina

Where is it?

Via Nazionale, 105, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy

What’s it like?

This is a four star hotel overlooking the sea. We spent most of our time at their pool which is infinity style, overlooking the water. It is so stunning! The hotel itself has a variety of restaurants. Mostly, there aren’t many vegan options, apart from their poolside restaurant at lunchtime where they have a whole vegan menu! Breakfast is buffet style and the vegan offering could be stronger but you can get by.

What did you eat?

We ate at the hotel a lot here, mainly for breakfast and lunch but also once for dinner.

Breakfast

  • Breakfast buffet – This is included in the price of the hotel stay

What did you think of the food?

  • They offer a range of vegan options including fruit, various salad items, soy milk,  vegan croissants, cooked tomatoes, cooked mushrooms with herbs, chips, toast, cereal. The options are basic so Chris and I ended up buying avocados in town and bringing them into the restaurant every morning! What I found super helpful about this hotel is that they list all of the allergens for every dish so that even if you’re unsure, you can work out what you can and can’t eat

Lunch

  • There’s one restaurant by the pool and between the hours of 1-3, they offer a whole vegan menu! Again, they list all of the allergens. The only allergen they listed on all of the pasta dishes was gluten.
  • Potato dumplings with chickpea cream and aromatic herbs – 17 Euros (£15.30)
  • Linguine pasta with asparagus cream – 17 Euros (£15.30)
  • Taglioni pasta  with lemon flavour – 17 Euros (£15.30)
  • Trofiette pasta with tomato and lemon flavour – 17 Euros (£15.30)

What did you think of the food?

  • Potato dumplings with chickpea cream and aromatic herbs – This dish was alright but lacking in flavour
  • Linguine pasta with asparagus cream – This was my second favourite dish. The flavour wasn’t very strong but the texture was lovely
  • Taglioni pasta  with lemon flavour – I was so impressed by this dish that I had it about five times! It was SO GOOD. I was a little worried that the cream was so realistic that perhaps it was real cream, but the allergens listed didn’t mention anything about milk, so I was in awe of how they made this dish so good. I tried to ask them how it was made but the staff were unable to tell me which was a shame!
  • Trofiette pasta with tomato and lemon flavour – This dish was nice but I preferred the lemon dish

Dinner

  • OK, so we took a bit of a risk eating at this restaurant one night because La Scogliera Restaurant is beautiful and overlooks the sea but it’s a fish restaurant with absolutely no vegan options. We really loved the location and wanted to test our luck so we popped down and luckily, they were willing to offer us the same vegan pasta menu they offer at the poolside restaurant at lunch so we had the lemon pasta dish again!

More information:

Check out their website


4. La Zagara

Where is it?

Taormina via San Pancrazio 3

What’s it like?

This is a cute, traditional trattoria style restaurant. It was very busy when we visited and most of the seating is outside with a small cover overhead. The staff were very friendly and they offer a whole page of vegan options! Most of them are pastas and salads but still, it’s nice to have so much choice.

What did you eat?

  • Sweet & sour Sicilian dish made of fried aubergine, pepper, tomatoes, potatoes & pine nuts⁣⁣ – 9 Euros (£8.10)
  • Pasta with pesto sauce (basil, pine nuts, garlic & olive oil)⁣⁣ – 10 Euros (£9)
  • Thin tagliatelle w/ mushrooms & tomatoes⁣⁣ – 14 Euros (£12.60)

What did you think of the food?

  • Sweet & sour Sicilian dish – This was really tasty and fresh but we didn’t get any potatoes in ours which was a shame!
  • Pasta with pesto sauce – This was beautiful. It had a nice garlic flavour and the pasta was cooked al dente
  • Thin tagliatelle – This was lovely too. Again, it had a strong garlic flavour which I liked. The portions were generous too!

More information:

Check out their instagram


5. Rosmarino

Where is it?

Via Bagnoli Croci, 88, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy

What’s it like?

This is a really pretty, intimate spot opposite a park. It’s also extremely busy so I recommend booking! Their vegan options were, by far, the most modern and creative we found on this trip.

You’ll have to forgive me as I forgot to take a photo of the menu and can’t remember the prices!

What did you eat?

  • Spaghetti “Aglio e Olio” with mushrooms, garlic, small red chillies and black truffle flakes
  • Roast potatoes
  • Vegan sharing board with a chickpea burger, aubergine mille-fuielle, lentil fritters, mini arancini, vegetable caponata with almonds & cocoa
  • Aubergine & chickpea balls roasted in lemon leaves

What did you think of the food?

  • Spaghetti “Aglio e Olio” – This was such a brilliant dish! The pasta was cooked al dente and there was a little bit of heat from the chillies. The truffle was nice without being overpowering. It was nothing fancy but it was just executed really well.
  • Roast potatoes –  These were cooked so well, I love potatoes with rosemary
  • Vegan sharing board – This was good. Half of it was brilliant, the other half needed a bit of work. The burger was amazing – the flavours were lovely and the pickles really made it. The arancini worked well with the mayo but the mayo was a little bland. There was also a little lasagna type dish on the board which was phenomenal!
  • Aubergine & chickpea balls – I quite liked the flavours in this. They were subtle but tasty. They were a tad dry without the mayo though

More information:

Check out their instagram


6. Gambero Rosso

Where is it?

Via Naumachia, 11, 98039 Taormina ME

What’s it like?

We chose this venue because of its location. It’s set on the most beautiful winding, cobbled street. It’s exactly what I pictured when I imagined a little Italian pizzeria. Stunning. The restaurant itself I think is quite basic but we decided on it because they offered customisable pizzas and also because we’d been walking around for ages and we were starving!

What did you eat?

  • Customised pizza – A pizza without cheese, topped with mushrooms, truffle oil pistachios and pineapple. Completely random but it’s what I felt like that evening! Didn’t grab the price, sorry!

What did you think of the food?

  • Pizza – Nothing special to be honest, probably partly due to my random combination of toppings, but it filled me up and did the job! The atmosphere was the main selling point.

More information:

Check out their instagram


7. Il Gabbiano

On this day, we decided to go for a little wander around the corner from our hotel to Isola Bella. We found this restaurant where the vegan options weren’t amazing but the view was to die for and so we decided to book in for lunch! It was incredibly hot on this day so we didn’t feel like eating anything too filling or hot.

Where is it?

Via Nazionale, 115, 98030 Isola Bella, Taormina ME, Italy

What’s it like?

It’s a bit more formal than other restaurants we visited and the view is just divine.

What did you eat?

  • Basil and tomato salad – 5 Euros (£4.49)
  • Caponata – 7 Euros (£6.29)
  • French fries – 5 Euros (£4.49)

What did you think of the food?

  • Basil and tomato salad – This was simple but just what I felt like at the time. Light, fresh and healthy!
  • Caponata – This was a really good version of the caponata dish!
  • French fries – I mean, who doesn’t love a French fry?

More information:

Check out their website


8. Timoleone

Where is it?

Via Timoleone, 6, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy

What’s it like?

I honestly don’t know how to explain to you how much I loved this place. We enjoyed it so much that we went two nights in a row. The setting is absolutely beautiful. It feels like you’re dining in someone’s back garden, surrounded by fairy lights and traditional Italian music. The staff are very friendly too! Be prepared for this to be extremely busy. Some people queue for hours just to get in. I recommend arriving as early as you can! Apart from some parmesan, this place is basically a veggie restaurant with a couple of vegan options. It’s also fully focused on pasta. This was my favourite restaurant and food of the trip by a long way.

What did you eat?

  • Penne Alla Carlo with pistachios, tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, olive oil and garlic – 18 Euros (£16.18)
  • Bruschetta – 5 Euros (£4.49)

What did you think of the food?

  • Penne Alla Carlo – Genuinely one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had. The portions were generous but I didn’t want it to end. The flavour were absolutely stunning. I could eat this every single day and never get sick of it. It’s clear to see why this place is rated #1 on Trip Advisor!
  • Bruschetta – We tried a few different varieties but my favourite was the classic. The tomatoes were so sweet and juicy. It was just perfection!

More information:

Check out their instagram


I hope that this blog post has helped you understand the vegan scene in Taormina a little better.

These are just some of the places we visited. Obviously there are lots of other restaurants in the town which offer customisable vegan options and tomato pasta dishes but I think these are the main ones which actually offer unique, labelled vegan options.

If you want any tips or just want to have a chat about any of the places we visited, head over to my Instagram page: @thelittlelondonvegan.

TLLV

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