San Domenico Palace Hotel - Les Bougainvillées Restaurant
Les Bougainvillées Restaurant in Taormina (Sicily), Italy is situated within the San Domenico Palace Hotel in the town's historic centre. Built on the original structures of a former Dominican monastery dating back to the 15th century, the San Domenico Palace was transformed into a hotel in 1896 by a nobleman from Catania, Damiano Rosso. Since then the hotel has become the most famous of its kind in the world.
There is always a first time for everything, in this case we had our first dining experience in what was a monastery dating back from the 1400's. The original structure is still in excellent condition, with a garden surrounding the building with an extraordinary adorableness of flowers. Everything around us recalled monastic life in a blatant, yet fascinating contrast with the hotel amongst the ancient walls.
The fact that we weren't far from Mount Etna's misty radar was ever more fascinating. It was an overall exotic sophistication with spectacular views from the ground floor of Taormina's bay and the Greek theatre.
The ambience was luxury and classic, therefore we dressed to impress. We made reservations for a tasting menu and the arrangements were as expected. Les Bougainvillées serves very well prepared food, with the highlight being Sicilian specialties and some classical mediterranean dishes. Outside of the tasting menu you have a choice for an international menu as well if you would like to indulge in something closer to home.
In the warmer months there is the option of dining on their terrace with the view of the sea. We wanted to take in the historical atmosphere of the monastery's former refectory, therefore we sat inside.
The wine from the soil of Mt. Etna's went down deliciously well with our pizzaiola style scabbard fish with parsley sautéed potatoes. We enjoyed a dish of carnaroli rice creamed with wild fennel and pistachio which we haven't found anywhere else and from the time the plate hit the table the aroma itself was something else, with the scent of the wild fennel traced us back to the exotic flavours of Morocco. The cheese board consisted of an assortment of both Sicilian and Italian cheese with a specific honey from Mount Etna. We devoured the food whilst listening to a live band play classical Italian music from the bar area of the hotel.
It is no surprise that Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor vacationed at the San Domenico during the start of their famous love affair. They were immortalized in Taormina for the first time publicly as a couple. The likes of Truman Capote, D.H. Lawrence, Salvador Dali and even Oscar Wilde sought peaceful respite within the walls of this haven for food, sights and beauty. We will definitely love to go back to Les Bougainvillées Restaurant for another fine dining experience.
Les Bougainvillées Restaurant | Sicilian specialties and classical international dishes | Open everyday from (lunch) 12:30 to 15:00 & (dinner) 20:00 to 22:30 | 75 € tasting menu with 5 courses and wine | Piazza San Domenico 5, 98039 Taormina, Sicily, Italy | +39 0942 613111 | Restaurant Manager Giuseppe Melita | email: firstname.lastname@example.org | http://www.san-domenico-palace.com/restaurants.html