10 Things to eat in Cagliari and where

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Cagliari, in the Sardinian dialect Casteddu, is the regional capital of Sardinia and boasts a long historical tradition that has seen the succession of populations such as the Phoenicians, the Arabs and the Spanish; each of them has not only left (proudly) numerous architectural testimonies but also known and unique eating habits.

The proximity to the sea has contributed enormously to the growth of the culinary tradition of the city, which introduces the preparation of fish in different ways and strictly following the most ancient customs. This is accompanied by all the resources that this land offers, from the processing of bread to the preparation of meat-based dishes, such as porceddu.
The Sardinian gastronomic culture is truly vast and original and must absolutely be discovered for its importance, but before introducing yourself the 10 things to eat in Cagliari, we want to make one last recommendation: do not forget to end your meals with a glass of Myrtle Liquor, mouth-watering specialties!


  1. Fregula
  2. Cocciula and cozzas with schiscionera
  3. Burrida in sa casteddaia
  4. Scabecciu fish
  5. Su mazzamurru in sa casteddaia
  6. Panada
  7. Malloreddus
  8. Porceddu
  9. Papassinu
  10. seadas
  11. Where to eat in Cagliari: best restaurants, typical bars and street food
  12. User questions and comments

1 - Fregula

The fregola, or fregula, is one of the oldest traditional Sardinian dishes and it is one dry durum wheat semolina pasta in the shape of small porous balls and with normally irregular shapes, slightly larger than couscous, with which it is closely related for taste and preparation.

Some testimonies trace its birth to the period of commercial exchanges with Phoenicians or Punics, others affirm it is an invention exclusively fruit of the creativity of Sardinian craftsmen. The most famous variant is the one with cocciule or arselle sarde (true Sardinian clams), a traditional and ancient recipe that has made Sardinia famous for its uniqueness.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 15,00
  • Main ingredients: fregola, garlic, basil, spices, Sardinian clams

2 - Cocciula and cozzas with schiscionera

It is a traditional and tasty serving of clams and mussels prepared with natural ingredients namely olive oil, garlic, parsley and breadcrumbs.
The preparation involves first cooking the shellfish in a pan, then passed into another pan with the garlic, parsley and tomatoes, chopped and fried with a drizzle of oil. The secret of the dish lies in the addition of the water released by the fish, the white wine and the chilli pepper and only subsequently breadcrumbs and pepper. They usually come serve very hot with croutons or with homemade bread to perfectly savor the goodness of this dish.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 10,00
  • Main ingredients: clams, mussels, olive oil, garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, white wine, chilli

3 - Burrida in sa casteddaia

It is a tasty one appetizer based on fish and nuts, the main ingredient is the catfish, which looks like a small shark, very present in the Sardinian sea. It is a dish that has "poor" origins, but which today is served in the most important luxury restaurants for its refinement; there are many variations of this dish and the recipes are jealously guarded especially by the fishermen of these areas. It is a fish that is perfect for stewing since it has no bones and comes cooked with plenty of vinegar, walnuts, its own livers, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and parsley.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 14,00
  • Main ingredients: catfish, walnuts, oil, garlic, parsley, vinegar

4 - Scabecciu fish

It is a typical specialty of Sardinian cuisine: a fried fish dish, preserved in an onion, tomato and vinegar sauce (sweet and sour sauce).
Normally the type of fish used for this dish is the fatty one such as mullets, eels, dogfish and longlines.

In the frying phase, the fish used is first deprived of the head and bone and passed in semolina flour and then fried in boiling oil, then immersed in the sweet and sour sauce. After several hours of rest (tradition even has it that they stay in the fridge for almost a day), these fish come eaten cold especially as a second course or as an appetizer.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 8,00
  • Main ingredients: fish, vinegar, tomato, onion, semolina flour, oil

5 - Su mazzamurru to sa casteddaia

It is a poor dish but really rich in flavor, prepared with the main intention of recovering stale bread that otherwise would have been thrown away and therefore gave the possibility to save. The ingredients to prepare this delight are stale homemade semolina bread, tomato sauce, grated cheese and homemade broth. Over time, many recipes and different preparation methods have followed, today the bread is cooked in the broth, and is then baked in the oven, alternating with layers of sauce and cheese, like a lasagna!
Many use it to be consumed hot and with a good full-bodied wine such as Monica Doc di Sardegna Atzeni.

  • Recommended to: lunch, dinner, snack
  • Average cost: € 6,00
  • Main ingredients: stale bread, tomato sauce, shallot, broth, grated cheese

6 - Panada

In Sardinian Sa panada, it is a delicacy that has made the Sardinian culinary tradition: the word panada refers to those recipes that included foods wrapped in bread dough. Practically is a savory pie whose inside can be filled with meat or other condiments and the version with eels is the most widespread in Campidano because, especially in the past, the subsistence activity of the populations of this place was precisely fishing. Today the most popular variant is certainly the one filled with lamb meat (but also chicken or pork), while the "vegetarian" ones contain peas, broad beans or artichokes.

  • Recommended to: lunch, dinner, snack
  • Average cost: € 5,00
  • Main ingredients: potatoes, parsley, dried tomatoes, eels or meat

7 - Malloreddus

They are gnocchi in the shape of a striped shell typical of Sardinian cuisine and are made of water and semolina flour; they are typical of Medio Campidano, however they are also made with different techniques in other parts of Sardinia and are prepared both in the village festivals and by the best Sardinian chefs. From the dough, strips are obtained which are cut into cubes, tradition has it that the latter are pressed against the end of a straw basket called su ciuliri (the sieve) to give them the typical striped characteristic.
The malloreddus alla Campidese are the classic dish of the area del Cagliari and consists of a tasty portion of pasta with meat sauce made with Sardinian sausage, onion, tomato sauce, strands of saffron and finally Sardinian pecorino.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 10,00
  • Main ingredients: pasta, sausage, onion, tomato sauce, saffron, Sardinian pecorino

8 - Porceddu

Also called porcheddu, it is a traditional Sardinian second course and it is the Sardinian suckling pig or Sardinian suckling pig. The origins are rooted in the Spanish culture that influenced and dominated the island for over 200 years (from 1479 to 1713). It was originally a typical recipe of the Easter period. Nowadays it is prepared with a pig of no more than seven kilos e cooked on a spit, flavored and spiced with saffron, nutmeg, black pepper, thyme, myrtle and mint.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 15,00
  • Main ingredients: Sardinian pork, saffron, nutmeg, black pepper, thyme, myrtle, mint

9 - Papassinu

It is a typical Sardinian dessert, prepared especially during the feast of All Saints, which can be found in many clubs, pastry shops and supermarkets in Sardinia and obviously also in the city of Cagliari. The pabasinnas, so called in the Sardinian dialect, come prepared with a mixture of raisins, shortcrust pastry, walnuts, almonds, grated lemon zest, honey and various spices cooked in the oven.

Its name derives from the word papassa which in Sardinian means precisely sultanas; the dessert, as already mentioned, is prepared all over the island and therefore prepared in different ways and the ingredients may vary, however it is always used the determining ingredient which is raisins, which reaches its maximum ripeness in the winter.

  • Recommended to: always
  • Average cost: € 6,00
  • Main ingredients: sultanas, shortcrust pastry, walnuts, almonds, grated lemon zest, honey and spices

10 - Seadas

It is the Sardinian dessert par excellence and it is a round pocket, similar to ravioli, made with a semolina dough filled with cheese, fried and wrapped in honey. Its name has almost certainly Spanish derivation and would describe the two halves of dough that make up the dessert.

Originally it was a dish that was mainly part of the poor cuisine and was very common in the tables of shepherds and less wealthy families. Its ingredients make this dessert unique, that is the "violata pasta" made with lard and durum wheat semolina, and the manual processing that takes a very long time: the pasta must in fact be crushed, stretched and folded continuously until the smooth, homogeneous and elastic consistency. The filling is mainly of pecorino cheese flavored with lemon peel and soured to the point of making it stringy after cooking.

  • Recommended to: always
  • Average cost: € 8,00
  • Main ingredients: durum wheat semolina, lard, cheese, lemon zest, salt, oil, chestnut honey or strawberry tree

Where to eat in Cagliari: best restaurants, typical bars and street food

The Sardinian culinary culture is the result of a crossroads of cultures, it offers a menu based mainly on fish cooked in various ways, but always according to tradition, it offers the freshest local products, starting from meat up to cheeses and wines.

Cagliari in particular, thanks to its position and its importance, really offers a wide choice: it is full of trattorias that offer both locals and tourists the opportunity to taste the most authentic flavors without spending exorbitant amounts. However, there is no shortage of places of the highest level, awarded and recognized for their importance and where you can enjoy the simplicity of this cuisine according to new standards and recipes reworked by the most important chefs in Sardinia. Here are the best places to eat in Cagliari.

1 - Starfish of Montecristo

  • Description: spartan trattoria and very popular with Cagliari, it serves seafood specialties such as grilled seafood and shellfish served on special cork boards in a characteristic location with nautical photographs and paintings
  • specialty: local fish
  • Average price: from € 30,00 per person
  • Address: via Sardegna 140 - Get directions / tel: 347 578 8964

2 - Trattoria Gennargentu

  • Description: a place that boasts a long tradition where you can taste the main courses typical of Cagliari such as fish soup, cassulli with bottarga and artichokes and maccaruin with mussels, saffron and zucchini
  • specialty: fish soup
  • Average price: from € 30,00 per person
  • Address: via Sardegna, 60 / c - Get directions / tel: 070 672021

3 - Flora Restaurant

  • Description: managed by the hotel of the same name, this restaurant serves traditional Sardinian dishes including mainly fregula with arsette, legume soups with wild vegetables and pork rinds
  • specialty: fregula with arsette
  • Average price: from € 40,00 per person
  • Address: via Sassari, 45 - Get directions / tel: 070 664735

4 - Sa Domu Sarda Cagliari

  • Description: a place where you can immerse yourself in the true and ancient culinary tradition typical of Sardinian cuisine, in particular of sea and land in a rustic and well-kept location
  • specialty: fregula, frattau bread
  • Average price: from € 35,00 per person
  • Address: via Sassari 51 - Get directions / tel: 070 653400

5 - Trattoria L'infinito

  • Description: small restaurant where you can eat fresh fish cooked in innovative ways, even if you will also find traditional cooking
  • specialty: local fish
  • Average price: from € 30,00 per person
  • Address: via Santa Gilla, 39 - Get directions tel: 070 283261

6 - Dal Corsaro restaurant

  • Description: gourmet restaurant, elegant and refined serving refined dishes of the great culinary tradition of Cagliari
  • specialty: meat and fish dishes
  • Average price: from € 80,00 per person
  • Address: viale Regina Margherita, 28 - Get directions / tel: 070 664318

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