Maybe because it’s a warm summer evening, or maybe because the laughter and good mood of the locals lure you in, going to a wine bar when you’re in Sicily seems like an obvious choice.
And if you happen to stroll around the old historic centre, close to Antica Focacceria San Francesco, you’ll find a cozy contemporary wine bar called Arrè Gusto. As the Sicilian name suggests it, this bar is focused on the new: new flavours, new wines and artisan beers, all wrapped in a light and informal mood
The guys behind Arrè Gusto are in fact the owners of Arrè Lab, an upcycling and design lab in Palermo. Their love for interior design is visible in the smart way they decorated the establishment, giving old furniture an uplift and a touch of colour. In the hot summer evenings, the locals seem to love sitting at the outside tables with a glass of white wine. Via Alessandro Paternostro is a popular street for Palermo’s nightlife, so be prepared for a bit of waiting.
Since it’s a wine bar, their focus is on drinks: they have a solid selection of wines, with emphasis on local Sicilian varieties, as well as birra artigianale - both imported and Italian. To accompany it, they offer shareable and light dishes. Their menu is sparse: three different plates that are good to share: a carpaccio selection, a fish & shellfish selection, and a mixed plate of Sicilian charcuterie and cheese. Don’t be discouraged though, even if it sounds simplistic, the combination of flavours and textures is top-notch.
At the time of our visit, the carpaccio plate included smoked veal silverside with yogurt-lime salsa, beef carpaccio with mustard emulsion, as well as pork tenderloin treated with rosemary and pepper. We won’t lie, the fish and shellfish plate was the most impressive, as it included seven different samples, each with a distinguishable taste and character. Here is what the plate covered: prawns on a bed of stracciatella and crushed pistachios, Mediterranean shi drum with mint and oranges, Tuscan palamita treated with soy, balsamic vinegar and ginger, spearfish carpaccio with Greek yogurt dressing, squid with guacamole, mackerel carpaccio in cane sugar vinegar, yellowtail amberjack tartare, as well as marinated clams.
With its carefully curated wine selection and exciting dishes, Arrè Gusto seems to be an artful culinary playground that continues to develop.