Sardinia is sometimes described as a continent within Italy because of its diverse landscape, with terrain that ranges from rugged mountains and wild coastline to pristine seas and fine sand. The food of Sardinia is equally diverse and also quite distinct from more familiar Italian cuisine like lasagne and tiramisu. This guide to the best restaurants in Sardinia lists the best spots on the island for a delicious meal.
Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Italian, Barbeque, $$$
The posh Su Gologone Hotel
may be a bit too pricey to stay at, but a meal on their colorful terrace or beside the open fire at the exclusive Corte De Su Re (King’s Court) should be a must-do. The most popular item on the menu is porcheddu, spit-roasted suckling pig, which is an island specialty. This delicacy is slow roasted for hours over an open fire of myrtle or juniper wood. The restaurant also has its own vegetable garden so you are guaranteed that your side dishes are fresh and local.
Restaurant, Italian, Seafood, $$$
For 50 years, this family-run institution with Neapolitan roots has been serving some of the freshest seafood on the island of La Maddalena. Lobster, sea urchin and grilled fish are the best things to order here. You can try the native Sardinian spiny lobster in chunks on pasta or, better yet, order the restaurant’s signature dish, L’aragosta alle Sette-Otto, where the lobster is cooked whole with tomatoes and seasonal vegetables. This cozy restaurant is in the center of town, not far from the main port.
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
The calm gray décor is a welcoming sight at this fine dining establishment in Olbia. Chef Massimiliano Villani heads the kitchen here, beginning his day at the market and with the fishermen to gather the freshest ingredients to cook with. Simple staples like rigatoni, pancetta and fava beans are artfully arranged to create a series of Instagram worthy dishes. The wine list features products from the area that further compliment the fresh and local essence of this restaurant. If you are celebrating something special, book the bistro’s private room or arrange for a private cooking class with the chef.
Restaurant, Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, $$$
Franco Tonelli is a famous name on the equally famous Porto Cervo on the emerald coast. At his iconic restaurant Il Pescatore, the freshest seafood is served at tables that offer unparalleled views of the water. Start with an amberjack tartare and continue with freshly made pasta topped with saffron scented lobster. Share a grilled catch of the day, which you can select fresh yourself. Save room for dessert with choices like a fresh champagne parfait or the more traditional saedas.
Restaurant, Contemporary, Italian, Mediterranean, $$$
Luigi Pomata is an award-winning chef and the restaurant bearing his name in Cagliari is just near the city’s port. You can dine from a set menu that features innovative twists on classic Sardinian dishes, including imperial shrimp and Oristano wild rice, and vanilla pumpkin ravioli with clams and bottarga. Slurp oysters and sea urchins from a seat at the bar or relax at a table in the one of the restaurant’s three rooms. In good weather there is outside seating as well. There are regularly scheduled cooking courses that can be booked directly and include subjects like fish, desserts and Japanese cuisine.
Restaurant, Contemporary, Italian, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Irish, none
Masterchef Eoghain O’Neill’s celebrated restaurant in Alghero is located inside an artsy, 14th-century palazzo. There is also an outside terrace where you can have a signature cocktail or an after dinner drink with a sea view. This Irish-Trinidadian affair brings a global sensibility to local ingredients with dishes that mix elements. The appetizer of tempura and ceviche with a red pepper and saffron coulis is just the beginning. The carbonara is made with wild boar pancetta and the risotto is sprinkled with gold. Order the tasting menu and let the chef surprise you with his creativity.
S’Apposentu di Casa Puddu
Restaurant with Rooms, Italian, $$$
Enjoy the tastes of Sardinia in this Marmilla countryside restaurant, located about an hour’s drive from Oristana on the island’s south western coast. Simple raw materials like homemade pasta, pecorino cheese, and wild edible flowers are artfully plated. The extensive wine list certainly makes this place worth the trip and its Michelin star. There is a meat or fish tasting menu that is paired with carefully selected wines, really giving you the chance to taste chef Roberto Petza’s vision.