Sardinia is a vibrant island in the Mediterranean Sea. It has kept most of its culture despite the ever-consuming western brands taking over most areas.
One way in which Sardina has kept its originality is through food. Where most of us eat processed meals or dirty takeouts, the classic Sardinian diet is still locally made and fresh.
You can expect whole grains, vegetables grown in a garden, fruits and beans from local farms, and fish caught that day.
Sardinia is a foodie’s paradise. Let’s break down what you can expect in a typical restaurant.
In almost every meal you will see a small layer of greeted pecorino cheese. Although this product is a common sight in most grocery stores, did you know that the majority is produced right here in Sardinia (read here for more information on how crops are produced and harvested in Sardinia)?
Pecorino is considered the oldest cheese in Italy, and it is used almost like salt on this island. It will be covered over pasta, eaten by itself, and even added to some desserts.
Pecorino isn’t the only cheese you can expect though. Fiore Sardo is also a popular choice, and more importantly, you are less likely to see it in any other location.
Fiore Sardo is a very strong cheese, and it will likely leave your mouth tingling. Make sure to try a slice as you’re unlikely to see this cheese again.
Cured Meats Are A Must
Meat is often reserved for Sundays or special occasions, however, cured meats are a common sight in most restaurants.
In the middle of the island, you’ll find a large collection of livestock. This means all areas have access to locally produced meats.
The curing time can be perfected, and the flavors don’t waste away after days or weeks of transport.
The cured meats you eat at home will taste nothing like the rich and delicate meats you can enjoy in Sardinia.
Offal Is A Popular Choice
Most people refuse to eat offal. Finding offal in a typical grocery store is normally impossible for this reason. You may need to head to a butchery to make a special request.
This isn’t true in Sardinia. All meat types are recognized as useful in this culture.
Offal is a catch-all term for the organs of a butchered creature. The heart, liver, and lungs are the typical choices, however, anything edible can be included.
Whether it’s tongue, stomach, or brain, the Sardinian diet can turn these offcuts into delicious meals not dissimilar to roast beef.
On your foodie travels, you should try offal at least once. Most people turn their noses up at this perfectly pleasant meat type, simply because they aren’t used to it.
But eating offal in Sardinia is the best chance you’ll have to taste a balanced and delicious offal meal.
Seafood Is The Best Option
Because Sardinia is an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, you can expect a lot of seafood on offer – mussels, squid, sardines, whitebait, shrimp, oysters, the list goes on.
The variety of seafood is matched by the unending dishes you can expect in a restaurant. In fact, we suggest buying a recipe book for seafood while you visit the area.
Here you will see unusual suggestions that you may not have thought of yourself. Try them at a local restaurant and attempt to replicate the delicious flavors at home.
All the fish in the area have a rich flavor. The sardines are more delicate, the squid isn’t chewy and the mussels hold their flavor for much longer.
The Best Restaurants In Sardinia
You’ll notice that most Sardinian meals are simplistic. They don’t overcomplicate the dishes and instead enjoy the flavors of their unspoil landscape.
Almost every meal will likely contain honey, cheese, wheat semolina, and either sheep meat or seafood.
This doesn’t mean the dishes are “samey”, instead the people of Sardinia allow their food to speak for itself.
Simply seeing the landscape and taking in the food on your plate, you will notice just how linked the island life is. Everything is connected, and everyone is working together.
To take in this atmosphere and see the beauty of Sardinian food, you should visit the restaurants below.
Da Renzo is a restaurant attached to the hotel Locanda da Renzo. You don’t need to be a guest to take a seat, however, we do recommend adding this hotel to any trip searches.
Da Renzo is particularly famous for their local seafood and pasta. The meals are so loved, that the restaurant allows you to buy their meals on a takeaway platter.
If you only have one meal in Da Renzo we recommend “Risotto alla marinara” or “Seafood risotto”.
Josto And Framento
Josto and Framento are two different restaurants, however, they are run by the same person.
That person isn’t simply an entrepreneur or a chain business developer – it’s Pierluigi Fais. Fais is considered the best chef on the island.
Both of his restaurants are designed for different aesthetics. In Framento, you can expect traditional pizza alongside some unusual options.
For example, don’t be surprised to see smoked salmon as a pizza topping. Framento gets its name from the slow fermentation process the Sardianians use to create their dough.
Josto is a little different. In this restaurant, you can see classic dishes from both Sardinia and other countries, but they will be reimagined.
The dishes are unique as Fais mixed unexpected combinations for a clever and eye-opening re-creation.
The first two restaurants we suggested are well-known and very popular. This third option is a local restaurant run by a father and his son.
To find it, you need to walk through a narrow alleyway, but don’t let the location fool you.
The food here captures Sardinia at its heart. The fish is caught locally, the wine is sweet and light, and the dishes are filled with culture and tradition.
The name “Sa Nassa” refers to the fishing nets used to capture the seafood on your plate.
Again this links back to the idea that everything in Sardinia is connected, and everyone is working together which can be seen in their story through food.
Da Marco is literally a shake cafe. It lives just off quarts beach, and you can expect sand to cover the floors. For a truly local meal, you should try the fregola pasta for your lunch.
In Marco, you will see genuine locals enjoying their day and you’ll be exploring the meals they eat every day.
Sardinia is an island full of culture. From the cattle grazing in the meadows to the anglers pulling in their recent catch.
You can see just where every meal comes from, and the freshness of each plate is a reflection of the clean and natural landscape.
You can expect cheese, pasta, seafood, cured meats, and offal alongside more traditional cuts such as lamb or mutton.
When you next visit this wonderful island, make sure to dive into the simplistic and rich food on offer. You will never taste a lobster as delicious or a pasta dish as fresh anywhere else.