Flavors of Sardinia? Il Giardino restaurant and pizzeria
One of the most popular questions I get is “what is the thing you love the most when you travel?”, I’ll tell you a secret – it’s the food! 😀
I love to try traditional food, especially if I am in Italy or in Europe, which both hold the record for the best cuisines in the world.
Today I want to tell you about a restaurant surrounded by nature in Santa Teresa di Gallura, Sardinia: Il Giardino. It is located on the main street, Via Nazionale, but is far from the crowds that in summer invade this beautiful town overlooking the sea.
WHEN DESTINY COMES CALLING
You know that I love telling you the behind-the-scenes, even the most trivial. I believe that people, places, objects are not just that, they represent stories. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.
Roberta, one of the owners, decided to leave for London at the age of 20 since things weren’t going so great in Sardinia. She chose to change her life completely, despite her attachment to her native island, hoping to find a better future in the UK. And a better future she found. After a short time, she found a job, a house and a boy who loved her. Day after day this was her life, but Sardinia was always in her mind and that’s why she decided to come back home and set this restaurant up. Together with her cousin and her French partner they found this beautiful location and gambled their futures on this venture.
A place where nature is the protagonist. At this restaurant, each dish is a well-thought combination of farm-to-table ingredients. And their team is the embodiment of professionalism and expertise.
THE HISTORY OF THIS PROPERTY
The estate, up until about 50 years ago, belonged to the son of Gavino Gabriel, the famous Sardinian folk musician. At the time it was a working farm. Subsequently, it was turned into a restaurant and it remained that way for 30 years.
Traces of the old farm can still be found throughout the property, adding to the atmosphere. One corner, in particular, is quite picturesque and the current managers are thinking of setting there a private dining area for special occasions.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
One of the things I love to do when I arrive at a restaurant is to see how much attention has been paid to details: the tablecloth, the combination of colors, the glasses, the cutlery, the decorations placed on the tables and the presentation of the dishes. All things that can be considered trivial but that, in my opinion, really make the difference. And I must say that Il Giardino has pleasantly surprised me in any of the aspects mentioned above. The thoughtful flavor pairing between herb and ingredient made all the difference for me, each dish had a beautiful aroma thanks to the garden’s fresh picks.
A FARM-TO-TABLE ESTABLISHMENT
In the backyard, there’s a large vegetable garden where produce and herbs are grown. This alone makes this restaurant worthy of praise. When dishes are created and seasoned with 100% natural produce, you notice the difference in how they smell and, above all, how they taste.
We started our meal with some appetizers: squid stuffed with crab meat, octopus potato salad with olives, tuna and mango tartare, mussel stew, cream of red turnip with drops of orange cream.
The tuna-mango combo was one I never tasted before and I really loved it! A taste of the sea with an exotic flair, truly a one of a kind. Another really good combination was that of the squid with the cream of red turnip.
Our first course: paccheri pasta with calamari and Sardinian pecorino cheese, tagliatelle with scampi and brandy.
The first is a very unique dish, as fish and cheese aren’t usually paired together but it was precisely the reason that made me want to taste it. Delicious! The strong flavor of the pecorino marries very well with the fresh and delicate squid.
Our second course: tempura fish and vegetables with Sardinian cheese from Mount Linas on a bed of carasau bread, made with figs and pure local honey.
I love grilled cheeses, of all types and this did not disappoint me. On the contrary, the combination with fig jam, apple and honey made it even tastier than usual.
The fried seafood was light and delicate enough to underline, in the right way, the taste of the fish. The tempura vegetables nicely framed the dish and the flavor.
We ended our lunch with dessert: a trio of fruit baskets made entirely with homemade shortbread and a lime posset, a traditional Engish dessert.
Places like this are hard to come by and I can’t wait to go back, not only for their food but also their hospitality.
Should you go on holiday to Sardinia, I recommend dining at this restaurant in Santa Teresa di Gallura, I’m sure you will not regret it. Ah, in the evening this place also turns into a pizzeria and even though I have not yet tried their pizza, I’m sure it’s top-notch. Enjoy your meal! 🙂