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Alghero: Mirador

via manno 16, Bastioni Marco Polo , Phone: 079.9734018

Reviewed by: michael albutt from UK, review #962

When: 2004

The first thing that struck us was the calm elegant atmosphere, with its cream coloured furnishings around spaciously arranged tables.

Although my partner and I make fequent visits to the Italian mainland, we had never visited Sardinia until June 2004. We wanted to be there for Italy's National Day on June 2nd. However looking at the restaurants on various web sites there appeared to be a dearth of recommendations for Alghero. So, when we arrived, it was a case of, so to speak, "suck it and see". Our first visit was to quite a famous small restaurant (not Lepanto) where we enjoyed an excepional meal but there was a certain tiredness to the service. It was like watching a well acted play with the sneaking suspicion that the performers would rather have been anywhere else.

However on the second day we were walking along the bastion walls when we came across Mirador. Following our rule of "trust first instincts" we entered by a door from the bastion that took us down some steps into a courtyard that was actually at street level. The courtyard was covered by removable roof. The first thing that struck us was the calm elegant atmosphere with its cream coloured furnishings around spaciously arranged tables. The staff were young, friendly and enthusiastic. We liked the restaurant so much that we ate there three times during our brief stay. Anongst the dishes that we ate were gnocchi in a light tomato sauce. When I saw the size of the plate and the quantity of the gnocchi I was a little dismayed as the main course was to come. However, these gnocchi were so light, delicate and soft that the plate was soon empty. On the waiter's recommendation I tried, for the first time, swordfish steak. White, meaty, seared othe outide and meltingly soft inside. This was a real treat. One thing that we discovered in Sardinia is that Sardinian wine must be one of Italy's best kept secrets; rich, with multi layers of soft tempting fruit. As my partner said, "It tastes like you thought wine tasted before you had ever tasted wine".

I do not usually have a sweet but on one occasion I asked for a sweet dessert wine. Perhaps it is fortunate that I did not ask its name otherwise my suitcase would have been full of it for the journey back. It was not oversweet but had a lovely nose of pear drops. I also had a Sardinian grappa that, unusually as not clear but golden.

Amongst other dishes we sampled was an antipasti misti of sardine, octopus and other things which, not being a marine biologist, I did not not know the name. When the staff were told that my partner was vegetarian they went out of the way to offer advice and produced some delicious pasta and vegetable dishes.

Of course no visit to Sardinia would be complete without sampling a variety of cheeses. When a selection came out at the end of a meal it was difficult deciding which one was the best - the hard and salty or the meltingly soft. Eating at Mirador was a really pleasant experience and the ambience is that which one would expect to find in a restaurant where the bill necessitated a second mortgage.

Flight and cheap out-of-season hotel permitting, I will be back in Alghero in the winter for several meals at Mirador.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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