A Window to the Bounties of Sardinia

Set on the large Italian island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea, provides a window to the bounties of Sardinian cuisine and wineries. From the local bottarga, known as the golden caviar of Sardinia, to the flat thin bread called pane carasau, this gourmet bistro boasts a bevy of Sardinian ingredients paired with wines and a mini-shop selling kitchen utensils.
Tagliatelle with cherry tomatoes, mussels, and ground bottarga.
Walking from the lively pedestrian street of Cagliari on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, I was voraciously hungry and excited to try what has in store for me. At 7 pm, the modern bistro just opened and was still quiet like many other full-service restaurants in the country that serves diners at a later time. After chatting with my server, Federico, about what I wanted to experience, I came out with a better knowledge of Sardinian cuisine. 

Initially, I thought my first entree was a deconstructed pasta or lasagna, but I got educated on what it actually was -- a layered pane carasau with sheep ragu topped with sous vide egg and pecorino cheese. Pane carasau is a local flatbread made by cooking a thin sheet of dough in a hot oven until it inflates and rises. What's more interesting is that on the island of Sardinia, which has a 1.6 million population, there are more sheeps, nearly 3 million, that produce the famed pecorino cheese. 

I thoroughly enjoyed savoring this dish because it reminded me of eating homemade lasagna but with a crunchy flatbread instead, giving the dish an interesting texture. This entree was paired by a glass of varietal white wine, Panzale, from the middle of Sardinia made from a rare, ancient white grape only found in Dorgali, a village on the eastern coast of the island. After learning that the Panzale is hard-to-find outside of Italy, I felt that the special narrative behind both the layered pane carasau and wine really elevated my dining experience.
Pane carasau
Pane carasau with sheep ragu topped with sous vide egg and pecorino cheese.
The second entree really hit a high note not only with a more familiar tagliatelle al dente pasta but also the surprising burst of savory, salty bottarga or mullet roe, one of the most renowned Sardinian foods, contrasting the milder mussels. So that the fishy bottarga doesn't overwhelm this entree, the hint of lemon brightens the overall dish altogether with the perfect pairing with a glass of Vermentino, the celebrated classic white wine of Sardinia from La Contralta. The only DOCG wine of Sardinia –the highest ranking among the 4-tier Italian classification, Vermentino is complex in flavors with bold and fruity tones, especially as it ages.

Venturing to the more familiar, the last entree, a sesame crusted salmon, embodies tangy, sweet and citrus flavors from the cream avocado, sundried tomatoes, and mandarin oranges, respectively; was able to combine these simple ingredients to a one powerful entree with provocative tastes and textures.
Sesame crusted salmon with sundried tomatoes, oranges, and avocado cream.
As the sun sets later at night during summertime in Sardinia, I witnessed a bevy of diners started to pile in and throttle up the chatter from my seat situated at the center of the bistro. I slowly winded down my meal with a piece of Sardinian cheesecake called Pardulas, as recommended by Federico. 

Originally a star-shaped tartlet,'s version is filled with ricotta and saffron, which gives its vibrant yellow orange color, shaped in a large circular cake. Because of the ricotta used instead of cream cheese, the dessert is a fruitier, lighter form of cheesecake that I favor rather than heavier desserts. Of course in true Italian style, I ended my meal at with a double espresso with beans from a high altitude area in Colombia, bestowing its complex flavors, and a big smile ready to face the night life of summer in Cagliari.
Best seat at in Cagliari, Sardinia.
Sardinian cheesecake
Sardinian cheesecake with ricotta cheese and saffron.

 Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary meal at in exchange for this honest review.

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