Sardinia has many tasty morsels on offer, but due to a lack of online information, it's not always easy to plan ahead or know where to go! While we love the romance of stumbling upon hidden gems on holiday, if you've got a large group of hungry friends, it's nice to have a few restaurant tips in your pocket. We were lucky enough to have a few days to explore the coastal towns before our guests arrived, and have gathered a list of our restaurant picks for when you sail around La Maddalena.
We started our trip in the scenic La Maddalena archipelago of Sardinia. Our boat was moored in beautiful Cala Dei Sardi, a tiny floating marina where guests can swim right off the jetty in the warm Sardinian waters.
A bus took us the 1.3 km distance to the town of Portisco where there are several cafes and restaurants. Our favourite restaurant was Matt’s, situated in the marina overlooking the sea. Matt’s offers an interesting mix of casual and elegant dining. The upper level comprises a large terrace where delicious pizza and pasta, locally caught fish and steak are served. Due to the large size of our party, Matt’s staff offered us a special 4-course meal, including wine for the reasonable price of €50 per person. Excellent value! After dark, Matt’s turns into a nightclub with live music--another great bonus!
We continued our journey up the Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) to Cala Di Volpe just in time to admire a stunning sunset while a piano player serenaded us. The hotel, famously designed by Jacques Couelle, is a great spot for people-watching the jet-set as waiters in tails serve you cocktails.
A short drive from Cala Di Volpe, nestled in the hills overlooking Porto Cervo, is a local gem called I Frati Rossi Ristorante. Known for excellent homemade cuisine, its culinary delights feature fresh seafood, pasta and steak. Keep an eye out for a delicious Sardinian favourite called bottarga (dried mullet roe). Dinner here is a little more expensive: expect to pay about €70, which includes wine.
Our next two nights were spent on La Maddalena island, the main island in a group of 60 islands, islets and rocks. On our first evening, we discovered La Terrazza Ristorante, located in the heart of town and run by a wonderfully hospitable family. We feasted on a delectable selection of antipasto, fresh seafood grill and local wine—all for €40 per person. The next evening, we dined at Trattoria Vecchia Ilva well situated in the main square. There is no website but you can make a reservation by telephone—if you call well ahead. We were served a traditional Sardinian feast of fresh pasta primavera and Sarda pig. Absolutely delicious!
In the square across from Trattoria Vecchia Ilva is a little establishment that serves the best gelato ever (we consider ourselves connoisseurs)! As a special treat, you may even be entertained by a concert in the square whilst you’re feasting on your gelato.
Some other restaurants worth mentioning that we didn’t get to try but will definitely be on our “must do” list next time are:
La Mola Restaurant (Porto Cervo) was one of the first restaurants to open in Porto Cervo, over 30 years ago. It boasts a huge terrace overlooking the Gulf of Porto Cervo. The restaurant is family-run and features a Sardinian culinary tradition of fish and meat dishes as well as several local Sardinian wines.
La Scogliera (Porto Massimo) is known for its local produce, fresh fruit and meat. Fresh fish, including shellfish are provided by the local fisherman. The restaurant looks over the gorgeous port of Porto Massimo. (I’m especially looking forward to eating at this restaurant.)
Il Pescatore (Porto Cervo) is one of the most renowned seafood restaurants in the region, located in the harbour of Porto Cervo. This restaurant specialises in fresh seafood and is known to host many Italian celebrities.