Between Liberty and Baroque

At Locanda del Monsù in Ispica two architecture styles inspire the tasting menus

Stracciatella di bufala, smoked meat, mussels, cri

Stracciatella di bufala, smoked meat, mussels, crispy bread and powdered squid ink. This is a dish by Corrado Parisi, chef at Locanda del Monsù, inside Mercato di Ispica (Ragusa), tel. +39.0932.951632 (photo credits fashioncooking)

It is between the theatrical staircases of the Chiesa Madre and the polychromatic decorations of Palazzo Bruno di Belmonte in Ispica, Corrado Parisi that lives and reigns. He’s the chef and patron of Locanda del Monsù, second edition and he’s ready to repeat the splendour of the first Locanda, the one opened a few years ago in Sant’Agata di Militello.

Spaghetti with squid liver, lemon zest and shrimps

Spaghetti with squid liver, lemon zest and shrimps

The chef’s passion for pots and pans comes from afar: as a child, our protagonist didn’t ask his parents for toys, but for recipe-books; at 11 he designed the menu of his father’s trattoria and during the weekends he decorated the cakes of a pastry shops in his village. In other words, he was an enfant-prodige.

Over the years, of course, the game turned into a strong and precise vocation, a creative and stubborn professionalism, a wise and refined technique. This was also thanks to Corrado’s globetrotter attitude: “Miami, Ibiza, Parise and Lugano – he says – are only some of the cities in which I learnt to move around in the kitchen". It is also thanks to his studies - he graduated from university in Food engineering. So tradition, research, experiments are the pillars of the cuisine at Locanda in which local raw materials are the bases for intriguing and delicious dishes. The daily catch, organic vegetables, selected meat, igp and dop products, local wines are enthusiastically used by Corrado and his staff who created a menu which, undergoing a continuous metamorphosis, is transformed day after day, following the seasons, the passing of time and what’s to be found on the market.

Corrado Parisi, 35 years old

Corrado Parisi, 35 years old

And while the tasting menus refer to the artistic history of Ispica (the fish-based Liberty menu and the meat-based Barocco one) the à-la-carte menu is an ode to territory and creativity. It starts with a tray of homemade breads (made, of course, with mother yeast): black, with walnuts, with cereals, with dried cherry tomatoes… Then the party begins: Parisi pays attention to content, raw materials, presentation – always perfect and never affected and so come the entrées, pardon, iPrincìpi, which range from a Crudissimo (five types of raw fish made in different ways) to Nero nero (Nebrodi pork marinated and chargrilled, with a Ragusano dop cheese cream and a prickly pear jam), from Albus (squid ink gnocchi, black lentils, potato and mint salad, squid liver sauce) to Uovo griffato (a cream of buffalo milk mozzarella, poached egg, wild asparagus and a foam of Bengal pepper).

How about the Prime Vivande? This is home-made egg pasta, such as Fettuccine allo zafferano, with saffron, the Tagliolini cacio e mare (squid ink, anchovies and pecorino cheese), Ricotta and mussels ravioli and Tagliatelle alla cannella with cinnamon. The Seconde Vivande list ranges from fish (tuna skewer, a fillet of silver scabbard-fish) to meat (black pork fillet in an almond crust, lamb shoulder). As for the desserts, the choice is huge: first of all, with or without dairy ingredients? That is the question! Dark chocolate mousse with Mozia salt and oil or Cheese Bavarian cream? Green apple confit or Custard ravioli? After solving the dilemma, you can enjoy an after dinner in the relaxing lounge where you can appreciate some precious spirits and excellent cigars.

La Locanda del Monsù
corso Umberto I, 24
Ispica (Ragusa)
Average price: 46 euros
Tasting menu: from 35 euros



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