Archive for the Alghero Category

Alghero – eating out

Posted in Alghero, Italy, Sardinia with tags , , , on March 16, 2016 by gannet39

There are heaps of good restaurants in Alghero and I was only there for two days and one night so please see this as just a brief impression rather than a definitive guide.

I did find a few nice places in the old town though. Here’s my Google map with all the places I mention.

Al Refettorio (High Intermediate A), 47 Vicolo Adami (parallel to Via Roma)

This is a modern wine bar located in a tunnel on an atmospheric cobbled street.

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I only came for an aperitivo but was sucked in by a friendly English-speaking waiter.

He introduced me to the concept of a ‘Negreddu’, a Negroni made with mirto, the Sardinian national spirit, instead of red vermouth, and mixed with Campari and Tanqueray and a mirto leaf garnish.

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I fell in love straight away (B+).

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I’m a sucker for oysters and couldn’t resist when I saw them on the menu. They were the biggest I’ve ever seen (B+).

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I had them with a glass of excellent Vermentino (B+) before heading off for my proper evening meal. The bill came to €19.

Interestingly the waiter described himself as Catalan and was supporting Barcelona in their Champion’s League final versus Juventus that night.

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Al Vecchio Mulino (Intermediate B+), 7 Via Don Deroma, www.alvecchiomulinoalghero.com

According to my rudimentary research this place seemed to have the best rep in town.

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The food is very good but I got poor service from the husband and wife team who run it. The female owner was very unfriendly and made me feel like a nuisance as a single diner.

Also her husband didn’t like me asking whether the mozzarella was made from cow or buffalo milk (you can’t get the latter fresh in Sardinia it seems). I’m guessing they were both a bit stressed by having such a busy restaurant on a Saturday night.

I had their signature dish of Spaghetti Al Vecchio Mulino; pasta with mushrooms, tomatoes and Parma ham. It was excellent (A) but so it should be.

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The total cost was €37 for a pasta course and a bottle of wine. Too much if you ask me but they were packed out, mainly with tourists I’m guessing, so lots of people must think they’re worth the money.

If I’d had a second night I would have gone to Al Tuguri at 113 Via Maiorca, www.altuguri.it. It’s listed in my Gambero Rosso guide and the menu looked really interesting when I walked by.

After this I wandered the streets looking for a bar to watch the final on TV and found this cosy place tucked down a nearby back street.

Birreria Sant Miguel (Elementarty B+), Via Raffaele Arduino,

Like the waiter at Al Refettorio the friendly barman here also considered himself a Catalan and was supporting Barcelona. All the bar’s customers seemed to be local Italians though and they were definitely on the side of Juventus who are probably one of the most disliked teams in the country.

Barca won the game 3-1 but the barman was quite restrained in his celebrations, perhaps for the sake of his custom.

A visiting Catalan-speaking friend told me that although many people define themselves as Catalan here, very few still speak the language, except for some of the old ones,  and it’s quite unusual to hear it.

After the match I kept walking and stumbled on this next place which seemed quite lively.

Sardoa (Intermediate B+), 4 Piazza Duomo, www.sardoadivino.it

Run by partners Igor, who is Basque, and Elenor, who is Sardinian, the concept seems to be a kind of fusion pintxo bar. The logo of the bar’s name plays on the Basque word for wine which is ‘ardo’.

Unfortunately the Italians don’t really do tapas so not much was being eaten this late at night but they were absolutely killing it on the gin and tonics.

I helped them out by having some of their great Jamon Iberico…

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…and some nice salami on Pane Carasau.

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Also a couple of glasses of their excellent wines; Cagnulari from Alghero (B)…

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…and Valserrano Crianza, an excellent rioja (B+) which outshone the local wine. It was nice to have some Spanish flavours out of context.

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Elenor is also an English teacher and Igor speaks English well so I stayed chatting with them for quite a while, eventually having a G&T made with Gin Mare (from Spain) and cherry tomatoes and basil, which was excellent.

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My bill came to €26.50 which wasn’t too bad. In a nutshell this is a friendly place with good quality food and wine that’s open Spanish hours i.e. when most other places are closed.

And that was my Saturday night in Alghero. Not sure what time I got home but it didn’t matter as I had the whole of the next day to sleep it off.

Santa Cruz (Intermediate B), 2 Via Lido

I came here for no other reason other than it was the nearest decent looking beach restaurant to my sunbed. The food is okay but not out of this world and the service is fairly brusque as they’re always busy.

I ate two lunches here. The first time I had their Risotto ai Frutti di Mare (more like a paella) which didn’t wow me that much (B-). Nor did the house white (C).

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The second time I had the Linguine ai Frutti di Mare and enjoyed it more (B+).

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It’s very popular so get your reservations in, especially if you want to sit outside on the coveted terrace. It’s probably the best place along the beach, or at least I didn’t see anywhere that looked better.

Alghero – stuff to see

Posted in Alghero, Italy, Sardinia with tags , on March 15, 2016 by gannet39

I had the weekend off while I was in Sassari but rather than stay in this landlocked town I persuaded my coordinator to let me swap hotels and go to nearby Alghero which is by the sea.

There’s a little train that runs between the two towns. It has its own platform and ticket office at Sassari station.

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Alghero is unique for a few reasons. To begin with I’ve been told it’s the only Sardinian town that has a beach within walking distance of its centre.

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Consequently it’s one of the island’s premier resorts and the population quadruples in July and August thanks to a huge influx of tourists. I was there in June when it was busy but not too crowded.

I stayed at this place on the recommendation of some locals…

Hotel San Marco (Intermediate B), 67 Via Lido, www.hotelsanmarcoalghero.com

Located on the seafront, this is a large, mid-range family hotel. The rooms and breakfast are nothing special but I was only there for one night so I wasn’t too fussy.

I spent two days at the beach. The hotel has its own section of sun loungers which cost €4, €6 or €8 a day depending how near the water you want to be. As you can see, the sea is beautiful and very clear but the hotel has a pleasure pool too should you prefer it.

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The old town is about twenty minutes walk along the beach. It’s really lovely and crammed with great bars and restaurants (see my next post).

The fortified port was founded by the Genoese in 1102 but fell to the Aragonese in 1372.

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The Aragonese expelled the local population and facilitated the arrival of Catalan colonists whose culture still dominates the town.

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Catalan is the joint official language, although only 22% of the population speak it nowadays.

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The old town is located on a small peninsula and is encircled by defensive walls with a series of towers and bastions dotted along them.

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The Catalan-Gothic Cattedrale de Santa Maria dates from 1570.

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Inside there are some nice late-Renaissance features.

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The lions guarding the altar are the happiest I’ve every seen in an Italian cathedral!

The ancient cobbled streets are very atmospheric at night.

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However this is mosquito territory so bring protection for the evenings if you are walking around.

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Alghero is a really special town and I’d love to come here again.

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There are lots of other places to explore nearby such as the Grotta di Nettuno, Nuraghe Palmavera and the secluded Lazzaretto beach. www.alghero-turismo.it

Here’s my Google map which has all these places on it.

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