Alghero is the main town on the west coast of Sardinia. With its walled seafront old town and a cosmopolitan new centre, I had hoped to find a good restaurant for lunch.
The old town eateries are renowned for their seafood but they are also very expensive and, out of season, unlikely to be serving fresh produce. I followed a hand-drawn map on a chalk board which led me to the restaurant Teatro, close to the old theatre as the name suggests, and boards outside offered tempting Sardinian feasts, such as roast lamb on a bed of myrtle leaves. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any of the local specialities and the fact that the chef and waiter burst from the restaurant, armed with big sticks and chasing a rat the size of a rabbit didn’t really entice me to eat there.
The tourist office recommended a small restaurant called the Quattro Stagioni (Four Seasons – like the Vivaldi music and not the pizza!), but it was located down a dirty side road of the new town and wasn’t really any cheaper than the tourist traps in the old quarter.
In the end, as I walked back to the car park in defeat, I spotted some umbrellas and a sign for Taverna Catalana. The builder’s trucks parked outside told me that this would not be expensive and a blackboard offered a dish of the day with two side dishes for only €10. What I got was an enormous plate of steak, fries and grilled vegetables. The local Ichnusa beer was the perfect accompaniment.
By evening I had moved on to Stintino, a lovely fishing town in the far north of Sardinia, and was struggling to find a place to park for the night due to all the unwelcoming “no camping” signs. It was dark and I’d just decided to seek out the local Carabinieri for advice when I spotted a sign for the port (always a viable option), though the steep dirt track leading down to it almost put me off. Luckily, I was warmly greeted by Maximilliano who offered me a safe place to stay for the night and some welcome conversation. But I had a yearning to try the local liquor made from wine and myrtle berries.
It was quite a long walk from the Minolo Port into the town centre and the streets were deserted, except for a few fishermen down by the boats and a few fruit and veg shops which were still open. Eventually I found La Piazzetta Bar down a side street. A very bright, white and airy bar compared to most of the tabacchi I usually end up in. The mirto (which is available in red or white) was served from the freezer but it certainly warmed me up inside due to the alcohol content of 32%. It was the perfect end to a gastronomic day.