Sardinia’s love of good food is clear when you consider how many food festivals take place throughout the year, from La Festa dei Ricci (sea urchin) in the small town of Buggerru in April, and Girotonno (tuna) in San Pietro in June, until the Sagra delle Castagne (chestnut) in Aritzo in October. Due to Covid, some festivals may have been cancelled, so whenever possible, check here first.
Dishes vary widely around the island – Alghero is famous for its Catalan lobster and Sassari for its use of snails and artichokes, albeit roasted over wood. porceddu (suckling pig) and Pecorino cheese are practically ubiquitous. Some foods don’t exist anywhere else, like the unmissable pompia fruit, which only grows in Nuoro, and the infamous (and now illegal) cazu marzu (worm cheese).
For more inspiration, check out our guide to Sardinia and the island’s best hotels, nightlife, beaches and things to do.
Rafe cafe and shop
In the heart of Cagliari, Rafe it’s a great stopping point for anything from breakfast (try the bacon and avocado ‘special’ on toast), coffee and a cake, to a full lunch. Inside the elegant interior, you’ll find a selection of local produce, from honey to quirky ceramics, but most grab a table on the street-facing terrace. If the handmade culurgiones (typical stuffed pasta) are on the menu, don’t hesitate, and if you’re around in the evening, order a cocktail or crispy glass of Vermentino and enjoy complimentary appetizers as you watch the world go by.
Contact: 00 39 070 753 8032; facebook.com/rafecagliari
Opening hours: Mon-Wed, Sat-Sun, 8am-12pm; Thu to Fri, 8am-1pm
best table: On the terrace
You’ll smell delicious pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven long before you come across this much-loved local restaurant. Head to the sun-shaded terrace overlooking the sea and order one of the meter-long pizzas made with seasonal ingredients. Opt for ‘Balsamica’ with smoked and balsamic ricotta, or ‘Carcioffi’ with roasted artichokes. In summer, Fiori di Zucca (zucchini flowers) are an unmissable specialty. It is essential to book in advance the Catalan paella or lobster and the traditional Sardinian ‘porceddu alfor’ – oven-roasted suckling pig.
Reservations: Book if you want one of the specials
best table: On the terrace overlooking the sea
La Nuova Torre restaurant
Facing a Saracen tower overlooking the sea, the no-frills La Nuova Torre is one of La Caletta’s most beloved restaurants, not least because the food is freshly prepared and the bill is usually surprisingly low. The simple family restaurant specializes in fresh seafood and offers a long list of quality wood-fired pizzas: the tuna and fries is remarkably well received. Order decent local wine by the bottle to cut the bill even further, and try to leave room for homemade desserts like creamy tiramisu or wild berries with yogurt.
Reservations: book in advance
best table: on the covered terrace
Agriturismo La Colti
a traditional station (local farm) serving a wide range of specialties including cold cuts, artisan cheeses and Galurese vegetable soup, most of which are created from the produce of the surrounding farmland. The dishes are many, so don’t overdo any of them or you won’t have room for desserts, which include the famous seadas (a large ‘raviolo’ stuffed with ricotta and drizzled with honey). The highlight is the roast suckling pig, which is spit-roasted over an open wood fire in the courtyard, then served on myrtle leaves.
best table: Outdoor terrace overlooking the fireplace
Blù Restaurant, Gabbiano Azzurro & Suites
Even if you’re not staying here, you can still experience the luxury of Gabbiano Azzurro’s à la carte restaurant. Run by chef Daniele Sechi, Blù was awarded an Espresso ‘chef’s hat’ – one of only six in Sardinia. Making the most of local produce, Sechi creates traditional Sardinian dishes with a modern twist. do not miss the brazilian (sea bass) roasted with salt, and fregola preta (artisanal Sardinian couscous blackened with grilled vegetables) served with prawns and asparagus. There are also two terrace bars overlooking the sea that are ideal for sundowners, aperitifs and lunch.
Best tables: With sea view
The à la carte restaurant at this splendid boutique hotel is exceptional: everything from the breads to the pastas and cheeses are homemade, and the vegetables are harvested from the vegetable garden. The restaurant’s terrace offers wonderful views of the mountains and candlelit tables overlooking the pool. The suckling pig, roasted on a skewer over an open fire, is the main highlight, but vegetarians won’t be disappointed with the artisanal potato stuffed with cheese. culurgiones. The Magico Tablao bar is perfect for a pre-prandial aperitif, and on most Fridays you will have the opportunity to listen to typical Sardinian polyphonic folk singing. There are four smaller restaurants for tapas, roast meats and focaccia.
Best tables: Overlooking the pool; essential reservation
Agriturismo su Connottu
What this stone-built agriturismo lacks in size, it makes up for in heart. On the outskirts of Sorgono, Su Connottu offers excellent farm-to-table dining, specializing in homemade pasta and grilled fresh fish and meat. Homemade wines and grappa are also available. Service is warm and friendly, and watch out for the occasional musical night.
Contact: 00 39 340 326 1495; facebook.com/agriturismosuconnottu
Opening hours: Mon-Sun (closed on Thursdays), from 12:30 to 14:00. Fri-Sat also open from 7:30pm to 9pm
Best tables: Outside, overlooking the vineyards
Capo Comino, Nuoro
The location, overlooking the sea and the island of Isola Rossa, is fantastic. Before heading to your table, head out with your camera for an aperitif – your Aperol spritz will likely match the amazing colors of the sunset. The cuisine specializes in local foods, especially fish and seafood, including crayfish caught in nearby La Caletta, mussels from Olbia and local paranza fish from Capo Comino. Highlights include tuna carpaccio, with fennel and pecorino from Siniscola, and spaghetti alle vongole (mussel).
best table: In the window overlooking the sea
A five-minute walk from the Museo del Costume, the delicious Monti Blu is an all-in-one restaurant, bar, and shop. With outdoor seating, it’s ideal for a lunchtime drink with snacks, while tables inside the quirky (two-story) restaurant are surrounded by a small selection of stylish clothing and handcrafted products made by local artists. The menu changes regularly, but the crumbled tuna (juicy and pink) is wonderful, and the desserts are dreamy.
best table: In the square overlooking the giant sculptures by Costantino Nivola