Emerging from the macchia, the low-lying vegetation that defines the scent and landscape between Sassari and Porto Torres in the northwest corner of Sardinia is Tenuto Li Lion, a restaurant dedicated to the traditional foods of the island. The kitchen in which the cooks toil nearly bursts with the sunshine of late September. You know it’s gonna be good.
I spent four days exploring this corner of the island. The lunch here was magical. The staff was engaging, treating the dinner guests as if they were in the dining room of a friend. The food made no mad lurches into internationalism; it was genuine Sardo, as pure as the light that flowed in the windows.
We chowed down on all the heavy hitters of Sardinian cuisine, pane frattau, culurgiones, and the oh-my-god-this-is-great mailalino Sardo. The crunch of the skin, the fragrance of mirtle, the soft and juicy meat inside could make a carnivore cry with happiness. It left me speechless, and that doesn’t occur often.
The staff demonstrated the preparation for each of the dishes. The one that stood out was stuffing the Culurgiones. I’ve eaten the little half-moons of stuffed pasta many times, and I’ve always wondered about that seam that closes over the simple potato and mint filling. It looks like the circle of pasta has been sewn shut by the best Sardinian seamstress. I imagined a great deal of talent and time went into the production of each bit. Of course, when demonstrated, it looked easy. So I prepared this little video.
Making Culurgiones at the Tenuto Li Lioni
Bottom line, this was a great meal in great surroundings. Make a reservation and walk around the place, it’s full of Sardinian playfulness. You can make a special lunch of it when you come from Alghero for the day.