Italy: Cento Passi wine bar and restaurant | Planet Berlin - The global tourist guide for Germanyʼs booming capital | DW | 16.05.2019

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Planet Berlin

Italy: Cento Passi wine bar and restaurant

The restaurant and bar in Friedrichshain sources products for its Sicilian and Sardinian cuisine from areas that used to belong to the Sicilian mafia. Its name symbolizes the fight against organized crime.

The wine bar Cento Passi, owned by Fabrizio Frau and Francesca Balistreri, has a patron. His name is Giuseppe ‘Peppino' Impastato and his face can be seen on every menu. Born into a family active in the Sicilian Mafia, he spent his life fighting the organization, whose headquarters at the home of one of its chief administrators lay just ‘cento passi,' or one hundred steps, from his own. Marco Tullio Giordana's film ‘I cento passi,' tells his story. 

And it is in the tradition of Giuseppe Impastato that Fabrizio Frau and Francesca Balistreri stage their own resistance to organized crime; many of their products are purchased from Libera Terra, a Sicilian organization that has transformed fields once belonging to the Cosa Nostra, or the Sicilian Mafia, into free agricultural land, or "liberated Mafia land,” as they say. The pair know just what they're up against; Francesca Balistreri comes from Palermo and Fabrizio Frau is Sardinian and knows similar structuctures from his homeland. 

Their vision of a Mafia-free Italy, a truly free country, permeates the entire establishment. All the same, the bar doesn't give you the explicit feeling that you're part of a political movement. The couple, who met in Berlin in 2010, make their shared passion seem so natural.

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Sicilian and Sardinian fusion

The restaurant simply reflects the self-assuredness and mature elegance of its owners. The space is bright and unpretentious; furniture consists of long benches paired with small tables. And, in the summer, you can enjoy a cool white wine at a table outdoors. 

Since 2014, Cento Passi has been a steady presence in the neighborhood surrounding Krossener Strasse in Friedrichshain, a fun and lively district. Fabrizio Frau and Francesca Balistreri have built up a regular clientele there. Their guests love the wines they import from Sicily, Sardinia, and Apulia. 

And the food – a sophisticated, enticing fusion of Sicilian and Sardinian dishes – is a hit, particularly the Caponata Siciliana, a sweet and sour eggplant dish served with Pane Carasau, a thin, crispy flatbread from Sardinia. This deserves a toast: Alla salute della vita libera! 

Author: Carolin Weidner

Krossener Str. 36
10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain

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