Our cuisine is distinguished by the constant search for new harmonies between different types of tastes.
La Brace is a cosy restaurant in the heart of Cefalù’s historic town centre, just a stone’s throw from the famous Arab-Norman cathedral, which offers a wide selection of interesting dishes and an excellent quality wine cellar at competitive prices.
The restaurant was born out of the love of a couple of foreigners (he is Dutch and she is Indonesian) who remain enchanted by Cefalù which is where they have decided to make their new home.
How did the story of La Brace come about?
We arrived in Cefalù after a long series of trips. The calm atmosphere of Cefalù, the warm hospitality of the locals and the delicious Sicilian food impressed us so much that we were inspired to stay here and open a place of our own. Initially, my husband came to Cefalù in the seventies and built this place from scratch. It was originally a stable. And then I came and joined him here some eight years later. We saw an opportunity to unite not just a passion for cooking but also the chance to experiment with a new way of life by adapting to the Sicilian culture.
Does your kitchen aspire to combine typical Sicilian dishes with the cuisine from your own respective countries?
Our cuisine is characterised precisely by the quest to find new harmonies between different types of taste.
Indonesian cuisine actually has some similarities with the Sicilian cuisine, above all in the use of vegetables, fruit and fresh fish. The secret is to succeed in combining different ingredients, thus generating a creative mix of flavours and traditions whilst at the same time, ensuring that the local Sicilian tastes are also catered for. Some examples of the perfect fusion between the two cuisines, Sicilian and Indonesian, are things like salads with a mango sauce or baked rabbit with a sweet & sour sauce.
The fundamental objective at La Brace is to convey a sense of intimacy to the customers, to make them feel at home. How is this translated into practical terms?
Without any doubt, courtesy and the staff’s availability are at the forefront of the relationship with our customers because we seek to enable them to breathe in a familiar atmosphere making them feel completely relaxed and at ease.
We do this both through the selection of dishes on the menu and the way we work in the dining area: establishing an informal relationship with the customers enables them to feel as if they are eating in a large dining room. Our special talent is the genuine and affectionate attention that we pay to our customers.
“ Courtesy and the staff’s responsiveness are on the top of our list when it comes to the relationship with our customers ”
How much has the venue changed over time and how is it likely to change in the future?
Trends have undoubtedly changed, not just with regard to taste, but also, above all in respect of eating habits: in the past, people ordered a complete meal with an appetiser, a starter and a main course.
It is no longer like that. People eat differently and tend to be a lot more critical because they are better informed about food in general.
We have been here for forty years and the older generations still come to our restaurant with their children and their grand-children. But we have recently noticed that we have a lot more young people coming in to eat. And for that reason, it is important to always retain a good balance between price and quality.
What is the easiest way to book a table at La Brace?
Even though we recognise the importance of the new trends in social media, what we always prefer is to have direct contact with the customer, therefore, a telephone call is still the best way to book a table. Booking is always recommended, particularly during the high season and at weekends when there are definitely more people wanting to eat out.
Which dish would you recommend to a new customer?
Without doubt, during the winter months, one of the most popular dishes is either onion soup or baked rabbit. However, in summer we endeavour to offer more typical dishes, especially for the tourists, using plenty of fish: swordfish rolls, tuna and tagliatelle with pesto and prawns.
How have you adapted to new eating habits such as catering for vegetarian or vegan customers?
We are equipped to meet the personal needs of all our customers, cooking in a particular way and using proper fresh ingredients from amongst which, we offer a wide range of vegetables. Our menu is strongly linked to the land and, what is even more important, to the seasonality of the produce that is available.