The love of Sardinians for good food is evident if you think about how many festivals take place during 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, up to the Chestnut Festival in Aritzo in October. Due to Covid, some festivals may have been canceled, so where possible, check here first.
The dishes vary enormously throughout the island: Alghero is famous for the Catalan lobster and Sassari for the use of snails and artichokes, even if roasted with wood. porceddu (suckling pig) and pecorino are practically omnipresent. Some foods do not exist anywhere else, such as the unmissable fruit of the pompia, which grows only in Nuoro, and the infamous (and now illegal) cazù marzù (vermiform cheese).
For more inspiration, check out our guide to Sardinia and the best hotels on the island, nightlife, beaches and things to do.
Café & Shop Rafè
In the heart of Cagliari, Rafè it’s a great pitstop 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 pottery, but most take a table on the street-facing terrace. If done by hand culurgiones (typical stuffed pasta) are on the menu, don’t hesitate, and if you’re out and about in the evening, order a cocktail or glass of crunchy Vermentino and enjoy the free appetizers while watching the world go by.
Contact: 00 39 070 753 8032; facebook.com/rafecagliari
Opening time: Mon-Wed, Sat-Sun, 8-12; Thu-Fri, 8: 00-01: 00
Price: £ £
Best table: On the balcony
You will smell the delicious wood fired pizzas well before you stumble upon this popular local restaurant. Head to the umbrella-covered terrace overlooking the sea and order one of the meter-long pizzas made with seasonal ingredients. Opt for the ‘Balsamic’ with smoked ricotta and balsamic, or the ‘Artichokes’ with roasted artichokes. In the summer, Zucchini Flowers are a specialty not to be missed. It is essential to book in advance for the Catalan paella or lobster and the traditional Sardinian baked porceddu, roast suckling pig.
Price: £ £
Reservations: Book if you want one of the special offers
Best table: On the terrace overlooking the sea
La Nuova Torre Restaurant
Facing a Saracen tower overlooking the sea, the sober La Nuova Torre is one of La Caletta’s best-loved restaurants, not least because the food is freshly prepared and the bill is often surprisingly low. The simple family-run restaurant, specializing in fresh fish, offers a long list of quality wood-fired pizzas: the ‘tuna and chips’ one is very popular. Order a good local wine from the carafe to reduce the bill even further and try to make room for homemade desserts, such as creamy tiramisu, or berries with yogurt.
Price: £ £
Reservations: Book in advance
Best table: On the covered terrace
Farmhouse La Colti
A traditional stazzo (local farm) which offers a wide variety of specialties, including cold cuts, hand-made cheeses and Gallura vegetable soup, most of which are made with the products of the surrounding farmland. The dishes are many, so don’t overdo any of them or you won’t have room for desserts, including the famous one seada (a large ravioli stuffed with ricotta and seasoned with honey). The highlight is the roast suckling pig, which is spit roasted over a wood fire in the backyard, then served on myrtle leaves.
Price: £ £ £
Best table: Outdoor terrace overlooking the open fire
Blue Restaurant, Gabbiano Azzurro & Suites
Even if you don’t stay here, you can still experience the luxury of Gabbiano Azzurro’s à la carte restaurant. Run by chef Daniele Sechi, the Blù has been awarded an Espresso ‘chef’s hat’, one of only six in Sardinia. Making the most of local products, Sechi creates traditional Sardinian dishes revisited in a modern way. Don’t miss the European bass (sea bass) cooked in salt and black fregola (Sardinian handmade couscous blackened with grilled vegetables) served with prawns and asparagus. There are also two bars with sea view terraces ideal for aperitifs, lunches and evening aperitifs.
Contact: blue restaurant
Prices: £ £ £
The best tables: Overlooking the sea
The à la carte restaurant at this beautiful boutique hotel is exceptional: everything from bread to pasta and cheeses is homemade, and the vegetables are picked from the garden. The restaurant terrace offers beautiful mountain views and candlelit tables overlook the pool. Suckling pig, roasted on a spit over an open fire, is the main dish, but vegetarians won’t be disappointed with the hand-made, cheese-filled potatoes culurgiones. The Magico Tablao bar is perfect for a pre-meal aperitif and almost every Friday you will have the opportunity to listen to the typical Sardinian polyphonic folk song. There are four smaller restaurants for tapas, roasts and focaccia.
Prices: £ £ £
The best tables: Overlooking the swimming pool; reservation essential
Farmhouse on Connottu
What this stone farmhouse lacks in size it makes up for in the heart. Just outside Sorgono, Su Connottu offers excellent zero-km cuisine, specializing in homemade pasta, fresh fish and grilled meat. Own production of wine and grappa are also available. Service is warm and friendly, and watch out for the occasional music night.
Contact: 00 39 340 326 1495; facebook.com/agriturismosuconnottu
Opening time: Mon-Sun (closed Thursdays), 12: 30-14. Fri-Sat also open 19: 30-21: 00
Prices: ££ – £££ ££££
The best tables: Outside, overlooking the vineyards
Capo Comino, Nuoro
The location, overlooking the sea and the island of Isola Rossa, is exceptional. Before heading to your table, head out with your camera for an aperitif – your Aperol spritz will likely match the amazing sunset colors. The cuisine specializes in local foods, in particular fish and seafood, including shrimp caught in nearby La Caletta, mussels from Olbia and the local paranza of Capo Comino. Among the dishes stand out the tuna carpaccio, with fennel and pecorino di Siniscola, and spaghetti with clams (clams).
Best table: From the window overlooking the sea
A five-minute walk from the Costume Museum, the delightful Monti Blu is a restaurant, bar and shop all rolled into one. With outdoor tables, it’s ideal for a lunchtime aperitif with snacks, while the tables inside the quirky restaurant (over two floors) are surrounded by a small selection of elegant clothing and handcrafted products made by local artists. The menu changes regularly, but the crumbled tuna (succulent and pink) is wonderful and the desserts are to dream.
Prices: £ £
Best table: On the square facing the gigantic sculptures by Costantino Nivola