Restaurant, Pizzeria and more: Eating out in Sardinia
Pizzeria? That is an option of course. But there are much better places to taste Sardinia. In many restaurants in Sardinia you will not even find a pizza on the menu. Eating out often means to go to a restaurant and there you will taste fresh sea food, meat, vegetables, bakery products, desserts and Sardinias wines. If you are out for a pizza, you need to search for Pizzeria. Mostly they are to be found in touristic areas. If you like to go to a restaurant it might happen that you end up with closed doors because of the timing. And you might miss the greatest tastes because the restaurants sometimes do not look like "great food". Plastic chairs are seemingly not interesing - but in fact they are. One of the most awesme concepts is to try a set meal with several courses that depends on daily offers. There you give yourself away to the cook and whats coming from the kitchen - you will not be disappointed.
Restaurants: Eating out in Sardinia
When is the right time?
An ample meal like a slice of pizza or something similar is not a problen for dinner or lunch - you only need to be near a bar or in the center of a town/city. If you decide to have lunch, take into account that most restaurants offer hot meals from 1:00 pm onwards and close the doors around 3:00 pm. In the evening restaurants usually open around 9:00 pm. Where it is touristy, one has adapted to the habit of northern Europeans or other guests. There you will find restaurants being open all day. But for restaurants that are a little further away from a touristic spot, you should stick to the usual meal times - otherwise you will find yoursel in front of locked doors.
In some restaurants you can order a set meal without knowing what exactly will be served. Usually the signs of those restaurants say something like "degustazione" or "Menu". It is a very interesting experience and I have never been disappointed by it. Usualy one can decide between sea food (mare) and meats (terra). Such a meal consists of at least four courses and some courses consist of several dishes. In very touristy places a meal like that is often being reduced to startes and pasta. That is of course also fine, but not the real Sardinian way to eat out. Set meals like this are usually coming with a package price that includes wine and water or a coffee and dessert as well. Pricing is usually about 30 to 50 euro per person, depending on the level of the restaurant.
It is quite normal to go into a restaurant or a bar and to just ask about any offers of the day. Of course one can simply eat a la carte (whats on the menu). But: If you want to taste what the cook has found on the market or what farmers nearby have brought in - then don't hesitate to ask for recommendations. Sardinians love food and they are great cooks. So you can very much rely on recommendations like this. This alos holds true for wine. In most cases the "vino de la casa" is a good choice if you are not too sure what to order.
Do not let plastic chairs and plastic tables stop you from testing a restaurant. Authentic Sardinian dishes and cooking does not much depend on how the place is being furnished. Sometimes restaurants like this offer a much better quality than the ones being out for tourists by putting beautiful furniture in the restaurant. It can also be the other way around, so there is no way to tell if a restaurant is good only be the look of it. Don't judge a book by its cover very much applies to Sardinian restaurants.
What do you eat in Sardinia?
The classic set meal in a Sardinian Restaurant
The first round consists of antipasti (cold starters). Along the coast, these are various dishes with fish or shellfish and crustaceans. The octopus salad is a classic that you will find on your table among other dishes. In the mountains it is usually a selection of cheese, sausage and ham selection. The second course is often made from pasta, usually with shellfish or other sea or meat products. Upscale restaurants offer one or two intermediate courses - such as soup, mussels, fresh octopus or the like. The main course then consists of fish, octopus or meat; depending on what you have ordered. The portions are usually quite large. The whole thing is completed by a dessert. The lemon sorbet is one of the most common desserts. Sometimes it is also a piece of cake or something else.
Four to six courses are part of classic set meals; then the obligatory espresso and also a grappa or a mirto is being served (more about the specialities of Sardinia). They are accompanied by bread. Only one course usually contains something with pasta or other filling side dishes. If you order a salad, you usually get it between meals, not as an appetizer. The entire meal is accompanied by wine and water. You can just order the house wine or a wine of your choice. As a rule, all restaurants have wines from the most popular wineries in Sardinia on offer.
What do you eat in Sardinia?
Some dishes that are common around Sardinia. Sure ... you can just order anything. But if you order the things that look familiar to you, you might miss the best things.
Very often you will find Malloreddus. Malloreddus is a pasta variety made of small noodles. They usually come along with a sauce made of tomatoes, saffron and meat. Also Spaghetti con Arselle are very popular (Spagehtthi with clams). Cozze are mussels and Seppia Grigliata is grilled sepia. The Maiale (Suckling Pig) is anther another dish of sardinian cuisine. Almost with every meal you will find Pane Carasau as a side dish. Pane carasau is a dry flatbread and it tastes wonderful. A salad made of ocotopus (Insalata di Polpo) is one of the favourite starters in Sardinia. The fritto misto is a mix of various deep-fried seafoods.
Last but noch least: Don't be surprised if no one comes to collect money after the bill or invoice has been brought to your table. It is often the case that you pay at a pay desk when you leave the restaurant. Watch the other guests in order to find out, how things are done in the restaurant of your choice.