We are big fans of Sardinia, the north in particular, and after an amazing trip last year we wrote three great and successful posts: Discover Northern Sardinia in a week, Best beaches in Northern Sardinia and Best Traditional food in Sardinia.
This year, under very different global circumstances, we decided to spend eight days in one of our favourite towns, Alghero. So we explored many restaurants, bars, wineries, beaches, agriturismos and coffee shops in the area. Let’s start with a list of the first two.
Osteria Mandras Lentas
Osteria Mandras Lentas is our favourite restaurant in Alghero. It is an innovative gourmet restaurant located in the heart of the historic city centre. They offer a combination of Sardinian recipes with a modern and sophisticated touch.
The restaurant is small (8 tables inside plus 4 outside) but elegant and comfortable. The kitchen is right there so you can see the whole preparation of your dishes. The original sandstone walls are also intact, giving it a touch of authenticity.
Like many other restaurants in Italy, they proudly practise Km 0 cuisine (slow food), which essentially means that all the products are organic and produced locally. Their chef waits for the catch of the day and the products that come from their farm in order to prepare the dishes.
We had the Parmigiana con Fonduta di Parmigiano e Croccante de Basilico and it was from another level. We also had Filetto del pescato del giorno in salsa agliata dello chef and traditional Culurgiones al pomodoro. All delicious!
They have a modern website in English where you can find more information, including a reservation system and the menu.
Musciora is a great restaurant metres away from the city centre. Its name tributes the owner and chef grandfather’s nickname, which was born among the stalls of the local market that derives from Muscio, a well-known local fish.
Their philosophy is “to offer something innovative but at the same time recalling tradition, preserving the love for good food and cordiality”.
The menu shows a good variety of dishes and local wines. It is also available online, in Italian and English, and it is well organised differentiating Terra (meats) and Mare (fish).
We had two outstanding dishes that we can recommend: Mullet culurgiones, wild rocket pesto and garlic bread and Fish steak with Algherese sauce. We enjoyed it with a Karmis Cuvée, a sweet and fruity Vermentino.
Gior Osteria Pizza Gourmet
Gior Osteria Pizza Gourmet was an amazing surprise. We ended up there because we saw some tempting pictures online. If we doubted a bit was because they offer gourmet pizzas, which is, for being in Italy, a risky move.
However; besides what traditional Napoletano pizza lovers and defenders may think, their pizza gourmet is delicious. The one on the picture above with salmon, cheese, nuts, sauce and back dough was at a different level.
Their pasta dishes, such as the Risotto above, and the fish and meat were also tasty and with a special touch of sophistication. And for dessert, we recommend Tortino al cuore morbido di pistacchio su crema pasticciera.
Moreover, the customer service was one of the best in town. They were attentive, energetic, fast and always smiling.
And one extra advantage, if you like beer: they have the best Sardinian beer on tap, which is not easy to find: Ichnusa Non-Filtrata.
Azienda Agrituristica Sa Mandra
If you are looking to escape the town for one great dinner in a traditional Italian agriturismo, Azienda Agrituristica Sa Mandra is the place.
Their Menù di Degustazione costs €40 per person and includes aperitivo, antipasti, primi (pasta), secondi (pork or vegetarian), dolci, pane and drinks (water, wine -Cannonau and Vermentino DOC-, coffee and digestive -Mirto-).
All portions are more than generous. Be prepared for quality and quantity on a traditional Italian farm. The pork was cooked to perfection, tender and tasty. It gets very busy so better to book in advance. The full menu and more information are available on the website.
Ristorante Enhorabona is on the seafront, next to Spiaggia del Lido di Alghero and less than 10 minutes by car form the city centre.
It is a popular choice for fresh fish. Octopus, sea bass, tuna, seafood and more. The staff is attentive and can provide recommendations. Portions are generous and the ambience is more of a traditional Italian trattoria. Ravioli, spaghetti and catch of the day are some of the favourites. Last but not least, it’s great value for money, and cheaper than the ones above in this list.
It also gets very busy, especially during high season, so better to book in advance. They don’t seem to have a good booking system, so you may need to call.
Prosciutteria Sant Miquel
Prosciutteria Sant Miquel is, as the name indicates, a prosciutteria or deli which sells local wines, cheese and meat cuts.
However; the quality of all their products plus the outstanding attention from its owner make it an amazing pub and restaurant. I strongly recommend having dinner there, or at least a glass of wine.
It is located on a cute corner in the city centre, next to a big pizza restaurant. The ambience is relaxing, with only 6 or 8 tables outside and a good selection of music.
The owner is super attentive, and he takes the time to recommend the right wine according to your taste and the food you are having. All products are local and fresh. Expect to have delicious pecorino cheese, ham, salami, sausage, olives, artichokes, chutney and bread. The menu is simple and there are three sizes of boards: small, medium and large. The medium one is enough for 2.
It gets very busy in summer, so better to book in advance one of the tables outside. Reservations can be made from their website, which at the moment simply sends an email.
Mon Bar Bistrot
Mon Bar Bistrot was another favourite, so we went a few times during the trip. It is located in one of the cutest tiny streets in the historical centre. The tables outside are relaxing and accompanied by a good music selection.
The owner serves the drinks and food himself, explaining its type and origin in detail, either in Italian or English. Super attentive and knowledgeable. If you doubt which wine to have, he will give you some to try until you decide. They also prepare good cocktails and aperitivo, and there are 3 types of beer on draught, including the new local beer called Isola, which I recommend.
They are not currently serving other food than the cheese and meats platter, including the mozzarella. But it could be enough for dinner if you are not expecting to have hot dishes.
L’altra vineria is another great wine bar in the heart of the historical centre, just around the corner from Prosciutteria Sant Miquel.
Their hosts, Luca and Sonia, are also highly attentive and charismatic, helping with your selection and explaining the origin of all products. They serve nibbles/tapas (aperitivo) and had a great selection of local wines and 3 beers on tap. If you don’t know what to try, just ask for a recommendation. We had a delicious Cannonau red wine that Luca brought us.
The seating space is comfortable either inside or outside. The street is not as narrow as others in the city centre so there is plenty of space, although some cars may pass as well. The inside is also spacious, and both the decoration and the music selection make a relaxing atmosphere.
Riservato Beach Bar
Riservato Beach Bar is a less traditional, and maybe more posh or sophisticated pub right next to the sea. Its location is unique and the sunset view is stunning.
It’s a gorgeous and unique spot, funky and lively. Sunbeds are available for hire during the day, and although there are rocks all around, you can also swim from there.
The atmosphere during the evening makes it a great spot for cocktails and some music, and there is normally a DJ playing next to the tables outside. It also gets busy so better to book in advance.
Quintilio is also on the other side of the town, on the way to Bosa, and even further south from Riservato.
It may seem it is far away, but it is not. If you are driving, there are many places to park right next to it.
The location is also unique, right next to the sea and on top of a hill, with stunning views of Alghero, the sea, and especially the sunset. They have a good variety of local wines and many dishes, from which we tried the fish platter as shown in the picture above.
This side of Alghero is slightly less touristic, and Quintilio seems almost outside of the town. However; is no that far and it is worth visiting.
Recommended Sardinian Wines
Vermentino is the most popular grape variety in Sardinia. It’s a white wine that can be dry and also fruity. It’s normally aromatic and tastes of peach, lemon peel and a sort of saline minerality. The minerality is acquired from the salty wind present close to the coast in Sardinia.
Some brands to try:
- Karmis – Contini (fruity/sweet)
- Die – Delogu
- Spera – Siddura
- Vign’angena Vermentino di Gallura – Capichera (pricy)
Cannonau (also known in other regions as Grenache or Garnacha) is also quite popular in Sardinia, although is very common even outside Italy, and it is actually one of the most widely planted red wines grape varieties in the world. It is a light-to-medium-bodied red that tastes like ripe berries, plum, cranberry, and white spice.
Some wineries in northwest Sardinia blend Cannonau with Merlot or other varieties, and this is because the pure Cannonau seems to be better in inland areas such as Nuoro.
Some brands to try:
- Indolente – Asinara
- Ginjol – Leda d’Lttiri
- Riviera – Vigne Rada
- Riserva – Poderi Parpinello
- Barrosu – Giovanni Montisci (pricy)
Cagnulari is considered a local variety of northwest Sardinia, and the Alghero area in particular. It was officially recognised as DOC Alghero in 1995. It’s a ruby red wine, fruity with hints of berries on the nose, and structured and complex to the palate. It also has an elegant salinity, a slight tannicity with a finish of ripe cherry and tobacco.
- Cagnulari – Delogu
- Arsenale Alghero Cangulari – Vigne Rada
- Cagnulari Isola dei Nuraghi – Cherchi
- Beranu – Galavera
Additionally, I would recommend trying Geo from Delogu, a delicious blend of Cannonau, Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Last but not least, as many wineries also produced extra virgin olive oil, I recommend trying and buying San Giuliano Cuor d’Olivo Fruttato, which won a Gold Award at the 2020 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, and therefore it is considered one of the best in the World.
It is cold-pressed with granite millstones, and the taste is spicy with hints of artichoke and has a medium-intense aroma with grassy tones.
Additional travel tips and recommendations
- This time we stayed in a private flat. However; we can recommend Poseidon B&B where we stay the last time. It is well located, clean and tidy. The rooms are spacious, the staff (thanks Severine!) is friendly and knowledgable, and the breakfast is tasty.
- If you are looking for a bigger hotel with a swimming pool and facilities, I recommend Alma di Alghero, right in from of the town’s beach.
- To discover more about Sardinia, visit our posts: