Make a meal of fresh sea urchin at Osteria Antica Marina among the bustle of the fishmongers in Catania. This appeared in the August/September 2013 issue. Image courtesy of Osteria Antica Marina
Eat fresh oysters in Catania's fish market
One of the most disappointing things about visiting a market as a traveller - particularly one on a cruise ship - is seeing all that beautiful fresh produce and knowing that you can’t take it home and cook it. Well, at Catania’s fish market you can go one better. The Osteria Antica Marina in the corner of the market is a fairly low-key affair, and that’s all it needs to be. Because the fish you’re eating comes straight from the stalls in front of you. I ordered oysters from the waiter and he asked how many I’d like. Due, per favore, I answered. He shouted over my head to the oyster monger next door. “Due!” The oysters didn’t even bother to go via the kitchen - I watched as the market trader sluiced, shucked and plated them at his stall, and brought them straight to my table. The sea urchin pasta I asked for was just as fresh and tasted quite deliciously of earthy seabed. If the weather’s good - and when, in Sicily, is it not? - sit on an outside table on the square. That way you get to take in the sights, sounds and everyday theatre of the market as you eat. You might even, if you’re lucky, get to witness a noisy Sicilian row between traders like I did. Perfect dinner entertainment.