Typical delicacies from the tradition and the most sophisticated Trinacria atmospheres perfectly meld with the elegant ambience of 13 Giugno, which surprisingly entertains its guests with its musical after dinner.
Ambience at 13 Giugno
The brightly coloured Caltagirone potteries, the smell of orange blossom inebriating the atmosphere of the winter garden, as well as the symbols of the most authentic side of Sicily reveal the quality and the level of the delicacies the menu of restaurant 13 Giugno, located in the quiet via Goldoni, just 5 minutes away from the city centre, suggests to its guests.
“Here the real traditional Sicilian cuisine can be savoured” as owner Saverio Dolcimascolo states before going on: “I only choose top quality products, especially when it comes to fish and seafood. I avoid adulterating them with extremely long cooking methods or excessive processing to allow my guests to quickly recognise the ingredients and fully savour them. Quality food is the undisputed protagonist at 13 Giugno. All that is rest is a value added.”
Soon afterwards raw fish, sarde a beccafico – sardines filled with bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, raisin and pine nuts – eggplant caponata, swordfish rolls, pasta with sardines and fennel, sea urchin spaghetti, oven cooked spoonbill come out of the kitchen followed by cannoli, slush, zabaglione and cassata homemade daily by the nine chefs of the group alternating at the fires. The whole in a mix of flavours inebriating the senses paired by over 250 valuable labels among national and international wine.
13 Giugno Restaurant and Bistro
13 Giugno’s guests can choose between two different ambiences and atmospheres, which share the same kitchen: the bistro, born three years ago andfeaturing a more casual soul, where easy-chic tableware are set within a pretty winter garden surrounded by windows and a proper restaurant, featuring elegant and plain mise en place set within an exquisite and welcoming 30s inspired ambience adorned by a piano – the true protagonist of the after dinner. “We play live music every evening – Dolcimascolo, himself among the artist performing, continues – people don’t come here just to dine but also to ‘party’. At dinner time soft music is on, but at the end of the dinner the atmosphere changes and we actively involve our guests encouraging them to interact with each other and to make friends with the tablemates sitting on the nearby tables”. Though 13 Giugno is not all about dinner: the bistro is open to the city already from breakfast time and goes on for lunch favouring popular Sicilian specialities (from panelle – a fried chickpea pancake – to arancini and pasta alla Norma – pasta with fried eggplants, tomato sauce and dry ricotta cheese) and aperitivo featuting the tastiest specialities from the Trinacria, to savour comfortably sat at the table.
The history of the restaurant
13 Giugno is the successful completion of Saverio Dolcimascolo’s cosmopolitan career started from the catering college in Palermo and followed by some of the most renowned restaurants within the Sicilian county seat, from the Charleston to the Palace Hotel. Then he started travelling, at first around Northern Italy – where the Excelsior and Il Lido in Venice are among the most significant work achievements – and then towards foreign countries such as France, England, United States and Portugal, where he experienced important steps to grow in the world of fine dining.
In 1983 Dolcimascolo reaches Milan for the opening of the famous Calajunco, a Sicilian restaurant whose name is dedicated to the eponymous wonderful beach in Panarea, before becoming the director of two historical restaurants of the city: Osteria dei Binari and Aurora.
The purchase of 13 Giugno eventually occurred in 1988. To those asking for the meaning of the restaurant’s name Dolcimascolo tells: “I bought the restaurant from Adriano Celentano (Italian artist and singer particularly known in the 60s and fashionable even today, editor’s note) and the 13 June is his wife Claudia Mori’s birthday. As a coincidence, it is also my father Antonio’s birthday, who had 13 children whose thirteenth is me.” Thirteen is a recurring number and, above all, a number involving a good omen.
The restaurant has always had a Sicilian mark from its beginning as well as a particular attention for the freshness and quality of the ingredients. “ I’ve always wanted a high-quality restaurant and not a luxury one, based on the authenticity of the flavours. This means serving only the delicacies I like and those I know my guests might appreciate. At my restaurant an amberjack is an amberjack: I will never serve an ‘amberjack mousse’ as well as excessive or misleading processing” Dolcimascolo says.
Success is not long in coming and the restaurant not only is listed among foreign customers’ favourites , but also doubles its presence in the city: in 1996 Dolcimascolo opens 13 Giugno Brera in piazza Mirabello. The second restaurant follows the same format of the first featuring the same, top-level cuisine, the same distinction between a restaurant and a bistro – La Fattoria di Brera – though featuring a more bohemienne ambience. “The inspiration is always provided by restaurants of the 80s and 90s, when courses were sizeable and were put into dishes, when the ingredients mattered more than appearance, when people went to a restaurant to dine and not only to savour tiny gourmet specialities”.
Important guests at 13 Giugno
While at 13 Giugno you might happen to hear any language in the world, from Russian to Chinese and it’s not uncommon to spot some famous personalities from the show biz, from global politics and from the cinema.
“The first names that come to my mind? Cossiga (former President of the Republic of Italy, editor’s note), Putin, Medvedev, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro – who was not recognised by anybody as he entered. Even Clinton, who uttered in Italian at the end of the dinner ‘manciato molto bene’ (a misspelling of the Italian exclamation for ‘I ate very well’, ndr), Dolcimascolo continues, who has been working on food and wine consultation for the big names in overseas catering, especially in Russia.