Winning tip: S’Imbiligu, near Bosa
Down a track between Sennariolo and Scano di Montiferro is S’Imbiligu – a family-run agriturismo. The people are friendly, the food is exquisite – fresh, simple and inventive, all produced on their own farm. For €25 a head we had a set menu of eight antipasti (zucchini fritters, wild asparagus sott’olio, panadas, two different cheeses, meats), ravioli made from purple potatoes, porchetta and cucumber and tomato salad, followed by seadas – a ricotta-stuffed pancake with asphodel honey. All eaten on a terrace under the stars, with the lights of the village in the distance, listening to the sounds of crickets and frogs.
Quintilio bar, near Alghero
Quintilio, south of Alghero, essentially offers two choices (meat or fish) but the lack of choice doesn’t stop it being a highly recommended trip for anyone in the area. The bar/restaurant seats around 120 and is always busy with locals. The meat and fish is all sourced locally and freshly cooked, generally on a barbecue, and changes according to the catch of that day and availability at the local market. The mussels starter is amazing – I am not sure how they do them on the barbecue but they are delicious and plump. The view towards the Capo Caccia peninsula is breathtaking – if you’re there at sunset the photo opportunities are worth the trip alone.
Località Calabona, +39 330 258 608
Daniel Salvatore Izza
Les Arenes, Alghero
From Alghero centre, follow the seafront north on via Lido until, on the corner of via Baleari, you pick up the scent of Ls Arenes’ wood-fired oven. Try its bubbling metre-long pizza with radicchio and gorgonzola or sweet roasted aubergine. Around the corner on via Cipro, a vine-sheltered patio, Alguer Mia serves a clingy arrabbiata flecked with chilli on perfectly al dente penne. At the Wednesday market on Viale Europa, mainland Italian tourists haggle with farmers for giant wheels of sharp Pecorino Sardo.
Su Gologone hotel for spit-roast suckling pig
For the very best traditional Sardinian cooking, do what the locals do: leave the beaches and head into the mountains, to the beautiful Su Gologone hotel. Rooms may be beyond most budgets, but go for dinner: its restaurant is justly famous for its superb roast meats, especially the suckling pig, which is cooked to moist perfection in a huge open fireplace. The kitchen also turns out gorgeous slow-cooked dishes (rabbit in wild herbs, olive oil and tomatoes, and baby goat braised in garlic, white wine and fennel) with wonderfully fresh vegetables. Portions are huge, service is outstanding and the setting couldn’t be better – the hotel is filled with original Sardinian art and its mountain views are spectacular (be sure to have a drink in one of the outdoor bars). If you prefer a more modern style of cooking, the restaurant does that, too – fine dining options include the freshest fish, beautifully cooked and presented, with garden vegetables.
Agriturismo Villa degli Ulivi, Oristano province
Agriturismo Villa degli Ulivi is a working farm where the food is so magnificent that it threatens to ruin your local Italian forever. On arrival we are greeted with shots of traditional Sardinian liquor made from wild myrtle berries. Invited into the family kitchen we knead fresh pasta with Michela’s (our host) mother. Tiny handmade ravioli bursting with spinach and delicate ricotta. We cook and laugh while downing homemade wine – potent but good. Dinner arrives and we sit with this gracious family to feast on course after course, fried artichoke antipasti and slow cooked lamb with prunes to name just two. Everything reared and grown locally in this simple farm, where the hospitality and food deserve to be celebrated aloud.
San Benedetto Market, Cagliari
It may be a hot, dusty walk through the city to get there, but this big and brash market is more than worth the effort. Crammed full of fresh produce – rainbows of fruit and vegetables, mountains of cheese and long counters of meat and fish – and busy with locals, it is purported to be the largest covered market in Italy and is a treasure trove for a holidaying foodie looking for local produce to cook or a delicious picnic. As well as the array of seafood that this island is known for there are some more unexpected finds – local bread and fresh ravioli stuffed with ricotta made from bufallo milk. And though there’s a long walk back ot the beach, you can munch on honey yellow apricots as you go.
Stroll through the cobbled streets sampling local oils, meats and cheeses. Stop by Durke at 66 via Napoli for Sardinian macaroons – try the fennel or orange almond cakes from their 100-year-old ovens. Grab a spot on a bench by the port to watch flocks of flamingos fly overhead in the evening before trying out local suckling pig: the super salty crispy crackling and juicy pork at Su Cumbidu (via Napoli 13, +39 070 670712) in the old town will not disappoint.
Sushi at Luigi Pomata, Cagliari
For some reason, Cagliari is a hotspot for Japanese-style restaurants; I counted seven! Luigi Pomata at the bottom of Viale Regina Margherita is probably the best. Have a long lunch at this amazing pavement restaurant serving top-flight sushi and sashimi, as well as thick grilled swordfish and other local fare, with a huge selection of craft beer to match their menu.
Su Furriadroxu, Pula
If you’re in Pula (around 30km south of Cagliari, with beaches, waves and great windsurfing), look no further than this place in a back street off the main square. It’s impossible to get the table without booking, but it is worth waiting a day for the place like this: you eat under a sky full of stars, the waiter is the same year after year and explains the menu with real passion. I’d recommend suckling pig on the spit, boar stew in red wine sauce, and homemade ricotta and saffron ravioli in cheese cream and orange sauce. And older lady is the proud owner, with her daughter and son running the business.
Via XXIV Maggio, +39 070 9246148, sufurriadroxu.it
Agriturismo L’Agliuledda, inland from Porto San Paolo, near Olbia
Make sure to arrive with an appetite and hollow legs – from the antipasti through the two pasta, two meat courses and huge desserts, there was always an overabundance of fabulous local food. With good, unlimited red wine, then grappa, mirto and coffee, the all-in €25 price was astonishing value. There were 18 things to try in the antipasti alone … The setting, tucked away in the hills, is magical – each outdoor table has a hammock! The service is friendly, informal and swift.
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