Cagliari is a city full of historical wonders to discover, distinctive monuments that stand as background, on days made to stroll around the city center. First of these monuments is Saint Remy Bastion, which dominates Castello district. Below it stands Piazza Costituzione, crossroads of the main old town streets and of Cagliarian shopping avenues. But Cagliari is also full of hidden spots, historical lanes to explore, characterized by stone buildings that are capable of evoking a suggestive atmosphere. It’s precisely here that BeNaBì restaurant is born, a place where tradition meets modernity.
“Revised Sardinian cuisine” This is the phrase that sparks our curiosity so much that we go in to discover some more. The colors and shapes of the furnishings make us feel like we’re in a marine cave. Federica, owner and chef of the restaurant, offers us to customize our menu.
We’re about to begin an unusual culinary experience, halfway between tradition and innovation, and we get this since the first course. What seems to be an ice cream stick at first glance, is actually a great classic of Sardinian cuisine: the taste of seafood fregola explodes inside our mouths, followed by that of squid ink, that covers the stick and gives it its shape.
We proceed with an appetizer that captivates our sight first and then our taste. fishbones and squid ink corals, matched with mussels and clams served in their broth.
Do you remember the classic clams and bottarga pasta? Here this great classic’s taste is the same, its shape changes completely. Ravioli dumplings with a clam filling are combined with bottarga chips and one of the dumplings’ halves is squid ink flavored: everything seems designed to let us taste pure sea.
Our tasting continues with a first course with a definitely minimalistic name: “Crustacean”. It’s ink squid tagliolini pasta with prawns and shrimps.
While the courses of our taste itinerary arrive, we peek in the open-plan kitchen to see what’s going on: behind BeNaBì’s counter artisan production is running endlessly with tagliolini pasta, ravioli and gnocchetti dumplings, and bread.
Here’s the second course. La Frittura del Golfo is served in a dish that reminds us of the seabed. It’s a unique kind of fry: eel is the main ingredient, combined with mussels, sand smelts and prawns..
And then it arrives, a lobster “au naturel”. Divided in two exact halves, no condiment other than a vinaigrette made from its own broth. We are surprised by its rich taste since we’re used to consume it in its seasoned version.
We make a small tour of the landfare menu: the Suckling pig, is slow cooked at low temperature for five hours – as the chef reveals – to maintain the meat tender and preserve all its taste.
The final touches are the caramelization with honey in a pan, that forms a tasty crispy coating, and the myrtle and cannonau reduction sauce, which is served with it. We let ourselves go to this unique mix of tastes.
We couldn’t help but finish our dinner with a modern seada, filled with pardula’s cream filling, enveloped in a biscuit made of ricotta and chocolate.
With this sweet ending our taste itinerary at BeNaBì comes to a close, but we’ll surely come back to discover the new additions to the menu. One of these has already been leaked to us… if we say Sa Merca on Ziba leaves, do you know what is it?
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