Catania! I have to yell its name because I have a love hate relationship with this city. If thats possible. It has such beautiful sights, but has graffiti nearby. It is pretty close to where we live, but yet so far away due to the possessed Fiat drivers and triple occupied scooters trying to run me off the road. Tremendous food and market options, but nowhere to park. Or if you do find parking you need to haggle with the guy who waved you into the completely free parking. Catania is so close to being a great city, but it hangs onto its dark side. At the same time I love Catania for this because it has refused to give into the mainstream “Italian City” and yield to the roving tourists of the world.
Now that my relationship with Catania is covered 😉 , back to the food at hand. Blanc a Manger was a place that we wanted to try. All the stats checked out and I just couldn’t believe there was a French place that somehow snuck into Catania or Italy for that matter. So we set out on our mission and I call it a mission because literally it feels like a mission. Multiple checks of online maps and entry strategy prepared. My iphone locked and loaded with the GPS location and Google map ready. Because once the car engine is started and I exit our driveway, I have officially entered the battlefield. Im being a little dramatic, but I need to entertain you guys 😎 . This drive into Catania wasn’t so bad. I feel great because I barely even use my Google map. I didn’t stop at red lights, which is rookie move in Catania. In fact I sped up to take advantage of a rookie who stopped. Providing me with a lot of space on the road, a luxury that doesn’t last long on these streets. We even find a parking spot!
We eventually find Blanc a Manger. The only street presence is a small hanging sign. This is probably an attempt to keep the French-ness of the name relatively quiet so as to not cause a stir with the locals. We walk inside what appears to be a mini mall to find the restaurant sprawled out into the main lobby area. The first thing we notice are the pastries and cakes stacked everywhere in glass stands, in glass cupboards, in glass refrigerators, everywhere. Then I notice the kitchen behind, which is super organized and looks brand spanking new. We sit down and the menu is awesome. (Some pictures below) Burgers, club sandwiches, pastrami, and croque monsieur & madame! I can’t believe they dared to slap French sandwiches right in everyone’s face! I looked out of the corners of my eyes expecting a Italian flagged mob to march in here and ransack the place, but instead locals were sitting down for lunch too! Is this some kind of black hole within the middle of Catania that would allow such bizzaro behavior?
I asked the waiter to order me his favorite, which is my usual course of action on a first try of a restaurant. Luckily he and I were on the same page with the “Bam Burger” and Jess got the Club Sandwich. This post is already getting way too long so I have to cut to the chase. Needless to say the food was great. Imagine living somewhere for 2 years and not finding a good burger. That pent up hunger made this burger probably one of the best I have ever had. Granted if I had this burger side by side with some of my favorites from back home in the States it probably wouldn’t win, but I think it would come pretty close. It is great to know that we have this place around and I plan on trying almost everything on their menu over time. It all looks great. Blanc a Manger has definitely earned a spot in the top 5 places this side of the island in my opinion.
Following that awesome lunch we were flying high with Catania only to return to our car and find ourselves blocked in by someone double parking us on the street………….. AGGHHH Catania!!!
A couple notes: “Crispy bacon” as described on the menu is not so crispy to the dismay of Jessica. We may ask for doppio (double) “crispy” next time. Some of the burgers are described as using American beef… I will have to investigate this. 🙂
Via Martino Cilestri, 75 95129 Catania