Dining Review: CucCmiao – Palau, Sardinia
Visiting a traditional Sardinian restaurant is a must while visit Sardinia. One of the more recommended ones near Palau is CuCumiao. A typical Sardinian restaurant with the most reviews I saw while researching Sardinia, this spot is very well known and loved. This place is a mix of a regular trattoria with the countryside style of dining. While it is definitely not the traditional dining experience like that of Sa Rocca Manna or La Salconi, it does offer similar items that you can order what you like and if you cannot get out to the countryside to experience the real deal, this is not a bad substitute to get a feel for the cuisine.
We made a reservation on OpenTable which I found extremely odd as making reservations in Sardinia was far more difficult for everything else. I was hesitant that the OpenTable did not work but I did get asked to confirm the reservation the day before. As I feared, we arrived and they could not find us as having a reservation. Fortunately, the fourth person to attempt to verify our reservation knew exactly where we were supposed to be and then quickly seated us.
This establishment was huge! In addition to the outdoor terrace in the front of the restaurant, there were several indoor rooms as well as an outdoor terrace in the middle which is where we were seated. The menu here is enormous, reminding us of a Jersey diner menu with each section having several pages of items you can choose from. Funny to have found a Sardinian diner! It took several reads of the menu to finally decide on our strategy.
We asked for a white wine that was not Vermentino since we had so much of it on this trip and it was still too hot from red wine. The server brought over Mastio Hofmann’s Banouleri Isola dei Nuraghi Bianco IGT and we enjoyed this bottle a lot. Bread basket also came out as we started munching on the crispy Sardinian bread.
Animelle di vitello fritte accompagnate da verdue in pastella
Fried veal sweetbreads accompanied by battered vegetables
It is hard for us to resist sweetbreads when we see it on a menu since we have it available so infrequently. While the number of battered vegetables was a bit limited, they were great and I just wish the dish came with double the amount. The sweetbreads were perfectly battered, fried, and salted. Delicious as always!
Culurgiones all’ogliastrina – ripieno con patate, formaggio, aglio e mentuccia conditi con panna e basilico, salsa di pomodoro, e pinoli
Stuffed Sardinian pasta with mint, garlic, cheese and potatoes, seasoned with tomato sauce, cream, basil, and pine nuts
When the first round of COVID-19 pandemic started, we purchased the Pasta Grannies cook book and made a new pasta dish almost weekly. One we saw in an episode that was also included in this cookbook was culurgiones so when I saw it on the menu, I knew we had to try the real thing. They were extremely tough to make the shape at home as it looked effortless on YouTube. This dish did not disappoint! The culurgiones were light and jam packed with potatoes – super tasty. The sauce was wonderful as the cream in the tomato sauce helped smooth out the acid and add richness to it. Overall, I really loved this dish.
Fiurritti al ragu sardo con salsiccia, agnello e vitello
Tagliatelle homemade pasta with sardinian ragu, lamb, sausage, and veal
There is nothing quite like a plate of fresh handmade pasta and a hearty ragu. Having the three different meats of lamb, sausage, and veal in the ragu added great depth of flavor. Overall, a solid execution of this dish.
While we were full, I wanted to try a dessert here as they offered some things that we had not seen before. The dessert had a marscapone cream, berry reduction, and caramel nut rips that made for a delicious dish.Kevin also ordered an espresso and Mirto (Made from Sardinian myrtle berries) After dinner we had heard about it on the boat tour as the liquor is specific to Sardinia. Kevin really enjoyed it and they even had small bottles that would fit in our carry on as a small souvenir.
By the time we finished our meal, the place was completely full and very busy. CuCumiao is clearly a very popular spot and a must eat for many people that visit this area. We really enjoyed our meal and it was a nice option to get the mix of seafood and countryside options here while being able to regulate how much food you want to consume. Definitely recommend it on your trip to Palau!