Eating at an agri-risto out in the countryside of Sardinia is an absolute must if you’re visiting the island or live here. An agri-risto (agri-restau in English) is a picturesque, agricultural restaurant that offers high-quality dishes with food that has been locally produced using eco-friendly farming techniques.
I’ve lived in the island’s capital, Cagliari, now for twenty-five years. So, I’ve been to a few of these ‘in-the-sticks’, rustic restaurants in my time. But last Saturday 1st February, for my birthday, I struck gold.
‘Il Bombo d’oro’, translated as ‘The Golden Bumblebee’, is an agri-risto just outside Cagliari.
In just a few minutes, you find yourself in the characteristically idyllic countryside of this beautiful Mediterranean island. By the way, the restaurant is also ideal for families with children. Though close to the main road, it is tucked away nicely for your little ones to play safely.
Run by Viviana, the restaurant’s convivial chef, you get everything you want on your menu for a great lunch out: fantastic food, quality ‘Monica’ Sardinian wines, and service par excellence of the friendliest order. Viviana is Estonian and has been cooking Sardinian cuisine for years. And the word going around is that she’s mastered it better than her local counterparts!
Okay, so let’s talk turkey! The menu.
Everything you eat is locally produced Sardinian fayre. Viviana is a firm advocate of eco-friendly produce, all naturally bred and grown.
Last Saturday, this is what me and my friends got on the menu; slices of cheese, cold meats, aubergine parmesan, mint-marinated courgette, tuna carpaccio, mussel soup, malloreddus alla campidanese, seafood scampi fregola, and roast piglet. Red/white wines, and beer. Fresh fruit, coffee and liquors (e.g. Mirto, Limoncello, grappa).
Malloreddus alla campidanese is a typical Sardinian pasta dish with sausage/tomato sauce while fregola is a seafood pasta-based soup, again typical of Sardinia. My friends, who are a mix of English teachers and Italians/Sardinians, gave both dishes the thumbs up; ‘The best I’ve ever eaten’ was commonplace round the table.
The litmus test for any Sardinian restaurant is its roast piglet. This is the island’s signature dish, and it was cooked to perfection by Viviana.
I asked her how the agri-risto got its name. “There used to be tomatoes grown here. Bumble bees help polinate tomato plants, hence the name Il Bombolo d’Oro.” Though not used anymore, the greenhouses by the restaurant add their countryside charm too.
I will always remember my 56th birthday thanks to my friends, and Viviana and her great staff. We paid €30 each, which included all drinks and liquors.
I’m trying to find something to fault. I can’t. Even the weather for February was gorgeous – blue skies and sun. Oh, and if you are vegetarian or vegan, Viviana will come up with a delicious menu for you too.
I’ll be going back as soon as possible, and thoroughly recommend you follow the buzz to the Golden Bumble Bee.
Best book for lunch or dinner.
You don’t want to be buzzing outside without a table now, do you?
Il Bombo d’Oro, Telephone (Italy 0039)344 241 2745, Via Leonardo da Vinci 115
09045 Quartu Sant’Elena, Sardinia, Italy. Follow il Bombo d’Oro on Facebook.
Note; You may also hear the term’ agri-turismo’. This is the same as an ‘agri-risto’ but the difference is it breeds its own animals and grows its own vegetables too. It may also offer accommodation.