Where to eat in Sardinia
Ristorante Flora – Cagliari
Did you know that Sardinia is one of the world’s Blue Zones – where the locals have unusual longevity. Some people attribute this to the food as well as the lifestyle. You can read more about it in my post about the Sardinian diet and what to eat in Sardinia here.
Fregola is hard to describe. I’d go with soft pasta pearls. Some people call it cous cous but I don’t think it’s anything like it. It’s usually served with seafood or with a simple tomato sauce and, you guessed it, pecorino.
Find out more here.
Sarpori di Sardegna, Cagliari
This restaurant has too many photos of A-Listers and the glitterati dining here that it can’t get them all up on the wall. Seafood and fish abound. Don’t be put off by the somewhat basic decor and unattractive frontage (honestly, I’d have walked past had it not been recommended). The food makes up for it. You are going to want to carve out some time for this restaurant as every dish seems to come with a story and the staff are very happy to chat to you about what is on your plate.
What to eat there: Fish and seafood are the specialties on the menu and, diving into another four course dinner, I can honestly say that everything I ate was top-notch. I was especially impressed with the seafood risotto which had coffee beans grated on top (curious but worked). However, risotto isn’t especially photogenic hence the picture of dessert (which was also heavenly).
I have written a separate post on the Sardinian diet together with a list of the many Sardinian foods to try – you can read that here. If you want some highlights, here are a few of my favourite, Sardinian dishes:
Ristorante Sardegna, Laconi
I stopped for lunch in Laconi and this was the spot that was recommended. It’s a family-run business that’s been going for generations and has great views.
Ristorante Flora is a beautiful, traditional tavern with an art deco style. In fact, I was torn between wanting to inspect the set up and wanting to eat. In the end, the scent of the food coming out of the kitchen rooted me to my seat. This is the kind of place where locals eat.
You can visit the restaurant website here.
Monti Blu, Nuoro
And here’s the book if you want to figure out how to eat like a Sardinian at home: The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.
What to eat there: Try the culurgiones or fregola (being a piggy, I tried both). For the uninitiated, culurgiones are divine, Sardinian ravioli stuffed with potatoes and pecorino cheese. You’re welcome.
Ristorantino Masiloghi, Oliena
If you do want to try this (why, why, why?), you’ll have to do a deal on the black market because its now banned: for health and safety reasons. Obviously.
What to eat there: Try the malloreddus alla campidanese for a pasta course and sebadas for dessert. Malloreddus alla campidanese are gnocchetti that are usually served with local sausage and tomato sauce.
As for sebadas (picture above), I request your trust once again. I was dubious too but these pecorino fritters, served with honey, defied my expectations.
Ristorante L’Essenza Bistrot, Olbia
Sardinian food – the blue zone
And what about one NOT to eat? How about Casu Marzu.
What to eat there: Seafood, all the way.
Ristorante Da Ugo, Castelsardo
- Antipasto – small tasting plates or platters of meat, fish, seafood, cheese and vegetables – nibbles, if you like, though fiercely proud Italian chefs would probably beat me to death with a leg of ham for such a vulgar description
- Primo – first course (or starter) – be prepared – this is usually something stodgy like pasta or rice and you will want to pace yourself as there’s a lot more food to come
- secondo – entree (or main course) usually comprising fish or meat together with potatoes or vegetables
- dolce – dessert
- caffe – always an espresso. Never anything long or frothy – you can read more about the complex etiquette of ordering coffee in Italy in my post here.
You can find out more in this TED Talk.
This restaurant doesn’t have a website but you can read reviews on Trip Advisor here.
If you’re in the mood for a modern bistro that serves up fresh seafood and fish, L’Essenza is a great choice. In fact, it was good enough that I’d go back. The food was beautiful both on the plate and in the stomach (not something that’s always guaranteed). While it’s still a bistro, I’d recommend this place if you have something to celebrate.
- Pecorino cheese
- Culurgiones – ravioli stuffed with potatoes and pecorino
- Su Porcheddu – suckling pig
- Sebadas – pecorino fritters in honey (trust me, it works)
Read reviews on Tripadvisor here.
You can find the restaurant website here.
What to eat there: Try the su porcheddu. What is it? It’s suckling pig that’s only one month old so you might need to let your conscience lapse for the night but if you do, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most tender pork you’ll ever eat.
So, that’s my guide to where to eat in Sardinia. Got any other recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.
It’s important to remember the length of a full Italian meal so you don’t stuff your gills by the end of the primo course (as I have done more than once). Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint.
What to eat there: you can often sample the produce before purchasing. Try the pecorino cheese, any of the cured meats and, of course, a bottle of Sardinian wine to wash it down.