Some time ago HF and I spent a very relaxing week in Sardegna, staying in the village of Capoterra. We stayed at the charming Hotel Santa Lucia. The grounds of the hotel are lovely, and the multi-lingual staff could not be more helpful.
There were only three restaurants within walking distance of the hotel (apparently there are seven total), and one of them was a mostly take-out pizzeria. Happily, all were very good, because we got to know them well.
Sa Cardiga e Su Schironi is well known, often appearing in lists of the best restaurants in Sardegna. Sa cardiga and su schironi is Sardu for “the grill and the skewer”. At one point during dinner, a waiter walked around the dining room with a skewer of grilled eels. (I’m sorry that we were too full by the time that happened even to split one, because they looked surprisingly delicious.) The meal began with a complimentary glass of bubbly for each of us. While we were reading the menu, the waiter appeared with a trolley full of antipasti: a plate with pane carasau, olives, cheese, sausage and bottarga. Having never had bottarga, I needed to try it. Once again I demonstrated my preference for peasant food – I’m not fond of caviar, but bottarga I loved. It was served simply, to be spread on the bread and perhaps drizzled with olive oil. We skipped the pasta course, and for dinner I ordered langoustines and my friend ordered prawns. Both shellfish dishes were perfectly grilled. We also ordered what seems to be the typical side of vegetables. You get an enormous amount of whole vegetables, just slightly blanched, and served in a metal bowl. We both grabbed for the fennel every time, then went for the carrots, after which it got random. For dinner, we asked the waiter to bring us a local white wine, dry and mineral-y, and he did. For dessert we had a bottle of sweet Monica di Cagliari.
Despite the previous restaurant’s obvious charms, we actually enjoyed La Bottega del Mare (Warning: website has annoying music) more, eating dinner here three times. When you enter the restaurant, as is common there, you see a display of that day’s fresh fish and seafood. When you let the restaurant order for you, that’s what you’re getting. The first time we ate there, we did just that. Quantities were enormous. First we had a number of antipasti. Then came the seafood and squid ink risotto. Next was a main course which was a mixed grill of three different types of shellfish, squid, and two kinds of fish – along with the jumbo bowl of vegetables. To drink we had their excellent house white wine. For dessert, we were served sebadas, a traditional pastry filled with fresh pecorino cheese, deep fried and served with honey on top. Afterwards, we pretty much had to roll ourselves back to the hotel! For the insane amount of food we ate, the restaurant is also a good bargain. However, the other two times we ate there, we ate considerably less food. One time we ordered just some grilled seafood, which came with the by now ubiquitous bowl of vegetables, and drank the same house white. (Two bottles of it that night.) The third time we ate there, we tried their pasta, which was also very good. That night we drank one of their house reds, the Monica. I liked that wine less than their house white; if I were there a fourth time and wanting red, I would have ordered something from the wine list.
Finally, twice we had dinner at Pizzeria Goblin, a largely locals hang-out with terrific pizza and a choice of over 40 toppings. Some days, a pizza and a beer is precisely what you want for dinner, after all!