It may come as a surprise, but traditional Sardinian food doesn’t contain lots of seafood as one would expect. Sardinia’s coast has been for long centuries a victim of invasion, so in search of shelter, people withdrew to the mountains. That’s why their food was more influenced by the land.
So don’t be surprised when the main course ingredient on a menu is a lamb or a suckling pig. But don’t get scared away all you seafood lovers. Nowadays a lot has changed and most of their dishes come with precious gifts from the sea. Spaghetti with clams and fish eggs, a seafood soup, and an octopus salad are now served regularly - don’t worry. Now let the journey through Cagliari’s cuisine begin!
Here they come as promised - special local food and dishes from Sardinia
- Bottarga is a “truffle from the sea” or a “Mediterranian caviar”. Commonly graded over dishes, salted and cured fish roe of the grey mullet.
- Zuppa Gallurese - its name is confusing because this is not a soup. On the contrary, it resembles more to lasagna. Zuppa Galluresse is basically baked bread with lots of cheese. Simple!
- Seafood Fregola with Saffron is a traditional Sardinian pasta. A major saffron producer in Italy is no one else but Sardinia. Saffron goes well with almost any kind of dish, but this one especially. A rich sauce is made of fregola, olive oil, garlic, chili thyme, clams, white wine, squid, cherry tomatoes, mussels, basil, and saffron. Fregola is a must!
- Agnello con Carciofi is a Lamb with Artichokes - another culinary delight from Sardinia served as the second course - fresh and tasty!
- Su Porcheddu or Suckling Pig is the most famous dish of Sardinia. The weight of the pig must not exceed 6 kg. Meat is fresh, full of flavor, less fatty than you’d expect and accompanied by crispy rind. Yummy.
These were a few of the typical dishes from Sardinia. Now that you can imagine the gourmet scene in Sardinia and are ready to fly to Cagliari, we need to have a word about Italian dining, so that you won’t make a complete fool of yourself.
First of all, keep in mind that restaurants aren’t opened from 10 am till 11 pm - like some of us are used to. Opening times are from 12 pm - 15 pm and from 19 pm till 11 pm.
Second, we need to look at their menu or dinner’s courses:
Italian Dictionary - Menu (Liste Delle Vivande)
Antipasto - a small tasting plate of meat, seafood, cheese or vegetables
Primo - starter or a first course - usually a pasta
Secondo - entree or a main course - meat or fish with vegetables
Dolce - dessert (Cagliari is very fond of serving cheese pastries with honey for dessert)
Caffe - last but not least here comes coffee.
Best Agriturismo in Cagliari - spotted by locals
Sardinian cuisine is outstanding. Enjoy it! For traditional Sardinian dinner, you need to visit traditional Sardinian people - those who own a farm and grow their own products. Simple as that! According to the locals best agriturismo you’ll find near Cagliari are these local farmers and cooks:
- Agriturismo la Sorgente: Check out their menu/website here.
- Agriturismo Su Boschettu: Check out their website here.
- Agriturismo Montecresia: Check out their website here.
- Agriturismo Riu Sa Murta: Check out their website here.
A bite of Sardinia - Cagliari food recipes
Francesco and Riccardo - our friends from Cagliari showed us how to prepare the best Seafood Fregola with Saffron:
- Mix white vino with crushed saffron and set them aside. Warm one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot.
- Add the saffron and vino you've mixed before.
- Then add the fregola, chopped tomato, 6 prawns, fresh green chile, thyme and 2 cloves of smashed garlic.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add about 1 kg of cockles and mussels.
- Cover the pot and steam for 2 minutes.
- Discard the clams that failed to open, sprinkle with parsley and basil.