The strength of Italian cooking lies in its simplicity and variety; at its best, the dishes are constructed around a single top-quality ingredient, with as many variations as there are regions in Italy – not to mention the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. For a true taste of Sardinia in Paris, head to the outer reaches of the 12th arrondissement and Sardegna a Tavola’s friendly blue frontage.
Inside is a room as pretty as a postcard of the Med: Sardinian pottery, rustic countryside furniture and olive-wood tables, dried herbs and hams hanging from the ceiling, nautical frescoes, black and white photographs and shelves of local produce. It’s not cutting-edge contemporary, but transports you immediately to a sunny island – an impression reinforced by owner Tonino Simbula’s accent, which you could cut with a knife, and waiters who delight in speaking nothing but Italian.
The cooking is full of surprises, with enormous richness and variety from one island. The huge menu covers pasta, of course (pumpkin ravioli with mountain pork fricassee, spaghetti with mullet and tuna bottarga, chestnut pasta with goat ragout), plus artisanal charcuterie including a lovely fennel sausage, and a number of solid traditional dishes like a farmer’s ‘in sa pinetta’, a mixture of Sardinian pasta, goat fricassee, pork, lamb sausage, chickpeas and baby onions, all scattered with grated pecorino cheese.
These are delicious and generous versions of the island’s traditional cooking – just be aware that the prices are rather less rustic, at around €20 for a starter and €25 for a main