The Sardinian love of good food is evident 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 to the Girotonno (tuna) in San Pietro in April June , to the Sagra delle Castagne (chestnut) in Aritzo in October. Due to Covid some festivals may have been cancelled, so check here first if possible.
Dishes vary widely across the island – Alghero is famous for its Catalan lobster and Sassari for its use of snails and artichokes, albeit wood-roasted porceddu (suckling pig) and pecorino cheese are all but ubiquitous. Some foods can’t be found anywhere else, like the must-try pompia fruit, which only grows in Nuoro, and the infamous (and now illegal) cazu marzu (wormy cheese).
For more inspiration, check out our guide to Sardinia and the island’s best hotels, nightlife, beaches and activities.
Rafe Coffee & Shop
In the heart of Cagliari, Rafe is a great pit stop for everything from breakfast (try the “special” of bacon and avocado on toast), coffee and cake, to a full lunch. The elegant interior features an array of local produce, from honey to fancy ceramics, but most grab a table on the terrace overlooking the street. If the manual work kulurgiones (typical stuffed pasta) are on the menu, don’t hesitate and if you’re around in the evening, order a cocktail or a crisp glass of Vermentino and enjoy the complimentary appetizers while you watch the world go by.
Contact: 00 39 070 753 8032; facebook.com/rafecagliari
Opening hours: Mon-Wed, Sat-Sun, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.; Thu-Fri, 8 a.m. – 1 a.m
Best table: On the terrace
You’ll be smelling the delicious wood-fired pizzas long before you stumble across this popular local eatery. Step out onto the umbrella-covered terrace overlooking the sea and order one of the meter-long pizzas made with seasonal ingredients. Choose “Balsamica” with smoked ricotta and balsamic vinegar or “Carcioffi” with roasted artichokes. In summer, the Fiori di Zucca (zucchini blossoms) are a specialty not to be missed. Reservations are essential for Catalan paella or lobster and traditional Sardinian “porceddu al forno” – oven-roasted suckling pig.
Reservations: Book if you want one of the specials
Best table: On the sea view terrace
Ristorante La Nuova Torre
Overlooking a Saracen tower overlooking the sea, the no-frills La Nuova Torre is one of La Caletta’s most popular restaurants, not least because the food is freshly prepared and the bill is often surprisingly low. This no-frills, family-run restaurant specializes in fresh seafood and has a long list of quality wood-fired pizzas: the tuna and fries pizza is remarkably well-received. Order a decent local wine by the carafe to cut the bill even further, and try to save room for homemade desserts like creamy tiramisu or wild berries with yoghurt.
Reservations: Book in advance
Best table: On the covered terrace
Agriturismo La Colti
A traditional stazzo (local farmhouse) serving a wide range of specialties including cold cuts, artisanal cheeses and Gallurese vegetable soup, most of which are made using the produce of the surrounding farmland. There are many dishes, so do not overdo it, otherwise you will not have room for desserts, including the famous ones Seadas (a large ‘raviolo’ stuffed with ricotta and drizzled with honey). The highlight is the roast suckling pig, roasted on a spit in the courtyard over an open wood fire and then served on myrtle leaves.
Best table: Outdoor patio overlooking the open fireplace
Blù Restaurant, Gabbiano Azzurro & Suites
Even if you’re not staying here, you can enjoy the luxury of Gabbiano Azzurro’s à la carte restaurant. Led by chef Daniele Sechi, Blù has been awarded an espresso “chef’s hat” – one of only six in Sardinia. Leveraging the best of local produce, Sechi creates traditional Sardinian dishes with a modern twist. Don’t miss the Branzino (sea bass) baked under salt, and black fregola (handmade Sardinian couscous blackened with collard greens) served with prawns and asparagus. There are also two sea-view terrace bars, ideal for sundowners, aperitifs and lunches.
Best tables: Overlooking the sea
The à la carte restaurant in this sumptuous boutique hotel is exceptional: from the bread to the pasta and cheese, everything is homemade and the vegetables come from the garden. The restaurant’s terrace offers beautiful mountain views, and candlelit tables overlook the pool. The spit-roasted suckling pig is the highlight, but vegetarians won’t be disappointed with the handmade potato and cheese filling kulurgiones. The Bar Magico Tablao is perfect for an aperitivo before dinner and on most Fridays you have the opportunity to hear typical Sardinian polyphonic folk singing. There are four smaller restaurants for tapas, roasts and focaccia.
Best tables: Overlooking the pool; Booking absolutely necessary
Agriturismo su Connottu
What this stone-built agriturismo lacks in size it makes up for in heart. Just outside Sorgono, Su Connottu offers excellent farm-to-table food, specializing in homemade pasta and fresh grilled fish and meat. Homemade wine and grappa are also available. Service is warm and friendly, and watch out for the occasional music evenings.
Contact: 00 39 340 326 1495; facebook.com/agriturismosuconnottu
Opening hours: Mon-Sun (closed on Thursday), 12:30-14:00. Fri-Sat also open 7.30-9pm
Best tables: Outside, overlooking the vineyards
Capo Comino, Nuoro
The location overlooking the sea and the island of Isola Rossa is terrific. Before heading to your table, step outside with your camera for an aperitif – your Aperol Spritz will likely match the incredible colors of the sunset. The kitchen specializes in local foods, particularly fish and seafood, including crabs caught in nearby La Caletta, mussels from Olbia and local Paranza fish from Capo Comino. Standout dishes are the tuna carpaccio with fennel and pecorino from Siniscola and the spaghetti all vongole (clams).
Best table: At the window with a sea view
Just a five minute walk from the Museo del Costume, the delightful Monti Blu is a restaurant, bar and shop all in one. With alfresco tables, it’s ideal for a midday drink and snack, while the tables in the quirky restaurant (spread over two floors) are surrounded by a small selection of stylish clothing and crafts from local artists. The menu changes regularly, but the breaded tuna (juicy and pink) is wonderful and the desserts are dreamy.
Best table: In the square overlooking the huge sculptures by Costantino Nivola