Cento 61 restaurant - Sicily, Italy
Palermo is that quintessential Italian city that so casually blends a long storied culture with a splendid spread of local fare, often within steps of one another. Case in point is the newly minted Cento 61 – its name is a clever wordplay of the Italian pronunciation of the street number – whose lovely plane tree-lined address on viale della Libertà is in the midst of a clutch of urban gems, including Villa Zito, the Teatro Massimo Palermo Theatre, and the 19th-century architect Giovan Battista Filippo Basile’s perfectly proportioned Parco Giochi.
Local studio DiDeA has breathed new life into an abandoned nightclub space by layering geometrically patterned walls and cobalt-blue sofas with Calacatta marble panels and suspended lamps by Flos, and finally softening the whole with a cloud of hanging greens of philodendrons and ficus. The latter is a particularly nice touch, a gentle segue from the bijou courtyard garden that’s dominated by a 200-year-old Cycas tree.
In the kitchen, Ciccio Scarpulla has put in place a brigade that works a Josper charcoal oven sizzling with slabs of American Black Angus, Australian wagyu and Finnish Scottona, alongside a surf menu that includes octopus tapas scented with ginger, and salmon tartare paired with pine nuts and fennel.