“When I think of my childhood in Palermo, I think of being out and about with my family,” Roberto Careri, owner and chef of Trinacria tells us. “I remember often being in cafes, bars and restaurants, looking up and around to see what was going on.” These culinary sights and sounds made such an impression on him that some years later, when a friend suggested he should design his restaurant in Munich “just as Italy used to be”, that’s exactly what he did.
Everywhere you look in Trinacria there’s something that grabs your attention: from retro light fittings and vintage Italian signs to beautiful black and white photographs of Sicilian food markets. For those that want to take something home with them, food and wine from the anti-Mafia initiative Libera terra (freed land) line the shelves.
“The table and chairs wobble a bit, but that’s not important to me,” he says. “I want people to come for the atmosphere and the food.” And they do. His menu, inspired by authentic Italian home cooking, has people queuing up outside waiting to try the pasta of the day (normally a choice of two), the daily meat dish or on Friday, the fish. Others have their heart set on a homemade panna cotta, a slice of pistachio cake or perhaps an espresso from Palermo-brand Tonaca di Monaco.
Buttering up the locals
Among his repertoire are dishes such as pasta alla norma (tomato and aubergine), spaghetti al pesto trapanese (tomato and almond pesto), linguine con la bottarga di tonno (tuna eggs), pasta con triglie e finocchietto selvtico (mullet and wild fennel) and barchette di melanzane alla siciliana (stuffed aubergines).
Interestingly, when it comes to traditional recipes Roberto is open to adaptation. Whilst all the dishes in his restaurant are based on classics, he continually improvises and experiments. “I cook with what’s around me,” he says. Take duck for instance. Whilst not so common in Mediterranean cuisine, the arrival of the season in Germany sees hearty stews with tomatoes and raisins appear on his menu. And then there is butter. “It was never used in Sicily due to the heat problem before fridges, but here I often add it to sauces.”
For Roberto, exploring alternatives is what keeps his interest and love of cooking alive: “It allows me and my customers to keep discovering new things.”
Working 9 to 5
Much to the disappointment of many, Trinacria is only open during the week, for breakfast and lunch. The reason is simple. Roberto needs to take a break for himself, for his family and for his cooking. Everything at Trinacria is homemade: from the jam in the croissants to the stock in his risotto – and this takes time.
Alongside weekends, the restaurant also closes its doors over Easter, Christmas and a few weeks in the summer. Normally heading back to Palermo to refuel, it is fair to say this chef splits his time between two islands: one in Italy, the other in Haidhausen.
Trinacria Feinkost, Balanstraße 25, 81669 München
Mon – Fri | 08:00 – 16:00