En Route to San Pietro Island?

If you are heading to San Pietro Island this year I want to tip you off to one of my favourite eating places. The location is good if you are travelling to the Island from the airport and heading to the ferry because it is on a strip of land that connects the mainland of Sardinia to Sant Antioco from where you get a ferry to Carloforte on San Pietro Island. There are actually two ferry ports, Portovesme which is closer to Cagliari or Calasetta which is always my preference. Firstly because you have to pass this restaurant to go there – and if the timing is right eat – but also because the town of Calasetta is cute and if you have any spare time it is easy to while away the hours with an ice cream, saunter in the town or shop at the little portside street stalls.

This is not the kind of place you come across by accident. From the street Ristorante de Silvana looks pretty uninspiring and frankly like a truck stop. Plus you pass it in the blink of an eye so keep a sharp lookout.

However once inside you are in for some pleasant surprises.

The format here is a fixed menu. Your only real choices are do you want red or white wine – which are included in the price of 24 euros per person.

The restaurant is named after the owners wife, he was a fisherman in a previous life and has clearly made the most of his contacts as the consistency and quality of fish is remarkable.

Actually there are several remarkable things about the place. Firstly it seats about 600 people – yes thats not a misprint! On a Sunday you will find the place crammed to the rafters with families and the place is buzzing, the atmosphere is just electric and when you have just landed at the airport and stepped in here it’s a total immersion experience right from the get go as they say in the US.

However the place is split into several rooms so if you visit at a quiet time you will never be seated in an empty soulless space.

For instance last time we visited on a cold day in April and they used the fish BBQ indoors which was lovely.

The Traditional Indoor BBQ

In the summer they use a giant outdoor fire pit. The wood for this is very carefully sourced from near Milan and shipped in and so if you look at the store the back of the restaurant you will get some idea of the quantity of wood it takes to keep this BBQ running.

So now to the menu. Obviously it changes a little with the season but generally consists of a soup – this time it was chickpea – very earthy – served with grilled bread, followed by mussels in a tomato sugo.

Then there are two types of pasta, a red and a white version, typically spaghetti vongole (clams) and another seafood based pasta.

That is swiftly followed by the main course of grilled fish, maybe eels – one of their specialities, juicy calamari and some hefty grilled prawns.

If you can manage a pudding for a few extra euros you can sample the traditional Seada dessert – a deep fried semonina dumpling filled with pecorina cheese and smothered in honey, sugar and sometimes salt.

Not for the feint hearted!

So if I have tempted you to go to Carloforte let me tell you a little more. To give you an idea of prices I checked out the prices for the first week in July and found that car hire started at £81 per week and flights from manchester at £102 both found on Skyscanner

As I mentioned you must get the ferry to the Island which takes approx 40 minutes from either Portovesme of Calasetta and you can buy tickets on the day. All the details you need to plan your trip can be found at www.delcomar.it

My three favourite hotels in Carloforte are all in a great location with sea view rooms available.

The Lu Riviera Hotel – was on offer from £146 per night in July.

I love this because it has some really big rooms with massive balconies looking straight out to sea. They have recently been redecorated and they have added a much needed sunshade to the rooftop bar (although it is in progress so I can’t sneak a peek) I know that the view from the rooftop is unsurpassed. They also often have jazz nights with canapes – very enchanting…

The Nicotel was on offer from £111 per night in July.

I love this because the rooms are very well appointed and it is right in the centre of town. The top floor rooms have fantastic views from the balconies of both the port and the town from where I watched hordes of birds sweep through the town when dusk fell. Fascinating.. There is no restaurant on site but this hotel also own Nico Restaurant which is just around the corner. Great breakfast on site.

Rooftop Room in The Nico Hotel

The Heiracon Hotel was on offer from £94 per night in July.

I love this because it is full of atmosphere with antique furniture and a kind of shabby chic olde world charm. It only has three sea view rooms but it has a gorgeous and shaded garden where you can sip a drink in the evening.

You could drive to Carloforte by driving to Marseille and geting the overnight ferry to Porto Torres – such fun – I am going to do a blog about it soon. At time of writing you can get a one week trip with two people and your car for £128 return with Direct Ferries.

I hope you enjoy Carloforte, I can often be found bobbing around Sardinia cooking Italian food on our little ship. Please email me on carole@carolemason.co.uk if you have any specific questions I will try to help you.

Carole Mason

Freelance food writer - Author of Mae's Ancient Thai Food

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Carole Mason

If you would like to work with me or try my food please get in touch with me at carole@carolemason.co.uk