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Most interesting things to eat in Cagliari, Italy

Most interesting things to eat in Cagliari, Italy

by George Black 6 months ago
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Table of contents

  • 1. Parmigiana to start strong
  • 2. Ravioli to stay classy
  • 3. Spaghetti carbonara to get to the top
  • 4. Crostini to lighten up
  • 5. Prosciutto to stay balanced
  • 6. Carpaccio to maintain balance
  • 7. Focaccia to be alternative
  • 8. Spaghetti vongole to be original
  • 9. Panna cotta to finish great
  • 10. Gelato for a sweet aftertaste
  • Conclusion
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Everyone knows of sardonic humour, but fewer people actually care to learn that the term derives from the name of the island of Sardinia, which is currently an autonomous region of Italy. The capital of this region is the city of Cagliari which itself has a long history barely touched upon by researchers. Under the buildings of the modern city there is a continuous stratification attesting to human settlement over the course of some five thousand years. Modern Cagiliari boasts one of the biggest ports in the Mediterranean Sea, an international airport, and one of the highest income levels in the country. It's easy to see that people here have both the culture and the means to eat well.

1. Parmigiana to start strong
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La Cantina
#174 of 1551 restaurants in Cagliari, Italy
Via dei Mille, 3, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
ClosedOpens at 8:30AM
Parmigiana
Parmigiana

It's one of the most popular Italian dishes made of thinly sliced, floured and deep-fried eggplants. Parmigiana is layered with eggplants, cheese and tomato sauce and then baked in the oven. Try it with zucchini or artichokes instead of eggplants.

Naturally, some of the essential Italian dishes will be on the list, as the Italian people is unique in the way they preserve and develop their national recipes without diluting them with modernized mass production. Despite that fact, dishes like parmigiana are very common, because there's nothing overly complicated in making them - the "eggplant parmesan" is basically fried, sliced eggplant layered with cheese and tomato sauce, then baked.

La Cantina would be a good choice for this kind of dish.

2. Ravioli to stay classy
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MIAN Ramen House and more
#5 of 1551 restaurants in Cagliari, Italy
Via Nuoro, 56, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
ClosedOpens at 12:45PM
Ravioli
Ravioli

This dish dates back to the 14th century Venus and means 'to wrap'. It's a type of dumplings and it's pasta in the form of small dough cases with a savory filling - meat, cheese or vegetables. Ravioli are usually served with broth or sauce.

Another classic dish that doesn't need a lengthy introduction and can be found in most Italian restaurants both in and outside the country. The filling of ravioli varies according to the area where they are prepared. In Sardinia, ravioli are filled with ricotta and grated lemon rind, but there are other available options in local restaurants, including ricotta cheese, spinach, nutmeg, and black pepper. Sauces are available with the dish, but not too necessary.

MIAN Ramen House and more has a surprising Italian-Asian mix.

3. Spaghetti carbonara to get to the top
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Antica Cagliari Bistrot
#22 of 1009 Italian restaurants in Cagliari, Italy
Via Sardegna, 63, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
ClosedOpens at 12:30PM
Spaghetti carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara

It's a classic Italian pasta made of spaghetti or other long pasta, guanciale or pancetta, parmesan, olive oil, salt and pepper. Carbonara means 'in the manner of coal miners'. There are different theories for its origin. The dish could be the main meal for charcoal workers or just the black pepper flecks look like coal dust against the creamy pasta.

Eggs, hard cheese, cured pork, and black pepper - as raw and gritty a recipe for an Italian dish as it gets, yet still classy and rich in both taste and pedigree. This is spaghetti carbonara, one of the absolute classics of pasta. Guanciale is the most commonly used meat for the dish in Italy, but pancetta and pancetta affumicata are also used. Naturally, in different countries, there are different variations of the classic Italian formula.

Antica Cagliari Bistrot has great carbonara.

4. Crostini to lighten up
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L'infinito
#9 of 699 seafood restaurants in Cagliari, Italy
Via Santa Gilla, 39, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
ClosedOpens at 11AM
Crostini
Crostini

It's a well-known Italian starter consisting of small slices of lightly fried or toasted garlic bread and a variety of toppings. Crostini can be slathered with olive oil and topped with tomatoes, fresh basil, tangy cheese or meat. This appetizer is usually served with soups.

Since we started so strong, it would only be natural to rewind back a bit and enjoy lighter dishes. For example, the classic Italian appetizers called crostini can save you from eating too heavy. It's as simple as an appetizer gets - small slices of grilled or toasted bread and toppings such as different cheeses, meats, vegetables and condiments. Simpler variations just have olive oil and herbs or a sauce. Crostini is perfect to start or finish a meal.

L'infinito is as good a choice as any, not to mention it has wonderful offerings to get after the crostini.

5. Prosciutto to stay balanced
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Novantasei
#149 of 1551 restaurants in Cagliari, Italy
Viale Bonaria, 96, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
ClosedOpens at 11AM
Prosciutto
Prosciutto

Try this sweet delicate ham that is made of dry-cured hind legs of pigs. Eat prosciutto raw or add it to pasta or risotto. The recipes of Italian prosciuttos differ in various regions. The most famous is Parma ham, or Prosciutto di Parma, that is salted and air-dried for 8-24 months.

If a more meaty alternative to small dishes like crostini are preferable, then you can always go with ham. Dry-cured unsmoked ham, for example. The classic prosciutto is made from either a pig's or a wild boar's hind leg or thigh, which makes the quality of the meat quite high and very suitable for processing and storage. Luckily, Italian chefs have lots of imagination when it comes to adapting prosciutto to their own tastes and ideas.

Novantasei has many interesting ham options.

6. Carpaccio to maintain balance
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Il Brigantino
#3 of 1009 Italian restaurants in Cagliari, Italy
Via Domenico Alberto Azuni, 56, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
ClosedOpens at 12:30PM
Carpaccio
Carpaccio

It's an Italian appetizer made from thinly sliced raw meat or fish, drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil and served with onions and capers. Carpaccio was introduced in Venice in 1950. A restaurant owner cooked it for a countess who couldn't eat boiled meat for medical reasons.

Meat can be consumed in many forms, both excessive and exquisite. For example, it can be thinly sliced or pounded thin, and served raw, typically as an appetizer. This kind of dish invented in Italy is called carpaccio and can be made from beef, veal, venison, as well as salmon or tuna if you're feeling original. The classic recipe from the mid-20th century requires lemon, olive oil, and white truffle or Parmesan cheese. 

Il Brigantino will have you covered.

7. Focaccia to be alternative
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Il Dante
#22 of 589 pizza restaurants in Cagliari, Italy
Gallerie Ormus) di fronte al Teatro Lirico, Via Sant'Alenixedda, 111, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
ClosedOpens at 12PM
Focaccia
Focaccia

It's traditional Italian flat oven-baked bread that is cooked in flat sheet pans, flavoured with olive oil and rosemary and topped with herbs and vegetables. Focaccia is regarded as a pizza's precursor. It derives from the Latin word 'focacia' which means 'hearth' or 'fireside'.

If meat is not to your liking and you don't want pizza or pasta, there's always the simpler thing. Like bread. Not any bread, however, but a special Italian flat bread called focaccia. It's very similar to pizza, actually, and can be prepared with cheese, meat, and other ingredients if the chef at your restaurant is feeling inventive. Naturally, focaccia can be combined with other, more hefty dishes to make a substantial meal.

Il Dante is a great place to start with focaccia.

8. Spaghetti vongole to be original
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Trattoria Lillicu
#7 of 699 seafood restaurants in Cagliari, Italy
Via Sardegna, 78, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
ClosedOpens at 1PM
Spaghetti vongole
Spaghetti vongole

This delicious Venetian clam pasta started life as peasant food, and has become an Italian classic. The main ingredient for a ‘real’ pasta alle vongole is ‘vongola verace’ commonly known as the cross-cut carpet shell clam, found both farmed and wild all over Italy.

Let's get a little more heavy and a little more exotic at the same time. How about spaghetti but not with meat or cheese but with clams? This is basically what the name of spaghetti vongole translates as. There are two main ways to prepare this kind of spaghetti, the first is called in bianco, i.e., with oil, garlic, parsley, and sometimes a splash of white wine; the second one is called in rosso, like the former but with tomatoes and fresh basil.

Trattoria Lillicu has spaghetti vongole that's being praised in particular.

9. Panna cotta to finish great
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Da Artan
#136 of 1551 restaurants in Cagliari, Italy
Via XXIX Novembre 1847, 28, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
ClosedOpens at 12:30PM
Panna cotta
Panna cotta

An Italian dessert of sweetened cream thickened with gelatin and molded. The cream may be aromatized with coffee, vanilla, or other flavorings.

It's about time for great desserts, and panna cotta is probably the classiest and most famous dessert of them all. It's a dish of sweetened cream thickened with gelatin and molded into a shape that the chef prefers. Although the name means 'cooked cream', the ingredients are only warmed enough to dissolve the gelatin and sugar, so panna cotta is not a hot dish and can be consumed separately or with any kind of soft drink.

Da Artan is a good place to try some panna cotta.

10. Gelato for a sweet aftertaste
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Kremet Gelateria
#3 of 198 restaurants with desserts in Cagliari, Italy
P.za Yenne, 22, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
ClosedOpens at 11AM
Gelato
Gelato

It's traditional Italian ice cream acknowledged to be one of the best frozen desserts in the world. Gelato was introduced by the Italian chef in Paris in 1600. This dessert contains 3.25% milk and sugar. It has a lower percentage of fat and less air, that's why it boasts of a richer texture.

If you want something colder and sweeter than your average dessert, and ice cream is not your thing, there's always the Italian alternative, gelato. To be perfectly honest, in Italy, "gelato" is the word for almost any kind of ice cream, but when you get technical, real gelato contains a lot less air and more flavoring than other kinds of frozen desserts, giving it a density and richness that distinguishes it from alternatives and similar products.

Kremet Gelateria is one of the best places to have some gelato.

Conclusion

As you can see, the food scene in Cagliari is essentially Italian and combines the classics with modern takes on them. Therefore, local restaurants should be as interesting to explore as the city itself.

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