After Hours: Ristorante da Alessandro e Margherita near Aviano delivers tastes of Sardinia

Ristorante da Alessandro e Margherita, located in the hamlet of Nave di Fontanafredda, Italy, specializes in Sardinian fare. It's open six days a week for lunch and dinner, and the menu changes every Friday.


By KENT HARRIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 8, 2014

Normally, airmen assigned to Aviano would have to take a plane or boat to check out the food offered on the island of Sardinia.

Unless they happen to visit a restaurant that’s only about a 15-minute drive away.

Ristorante da Alessandro e Margherita specializes in Sardinian fare. It’s not exactly the kind of place one would expect to find in Nave, a blip on the road just a few minutes from Sacile. But a love story explains the mystery.

Many years ago, owner Alessandro Davià, who is a Sacile native, was working in Sardinia. There, in a tobacco shop, he met Margherita, his future wife. He fell in love with her and with her mother’s cooking. The couple, tutored by Mama, decided to open a restaurant near where Alessandro grew up.

Ristorante da Alessandro e Margherita is in every sense a family affair. Alessandro and Margherita do the cooking. Their son, Maximilliano, and their daughter, Martina, wait tables.

Some of the food, such as the ravioli, isn’t much different from what one could get in a restaurant a few miles away. But there are some differences.

Take fregula, a first-course dish that most Americans wouldn’t recognize as Italian. It’s couscous with mixed vegetables and mixed meats. The dish reflects a bit of Sardinia’s history. The island is only a boat ride away from northern Africa, where one can find similar food.

The evening we visited, we had a choice of several appetizers. One was Sardinian flat bread topped with cream cheese. Another was mixed Sardinian meats. There was also a large rucola salad topped with a mix of ricotta, bacon, artichokes and walnuts, and something typically Italian: bruschetta topped with tomatoes, artichokes and herbs.

Besides the fregula, other first-course options included three types of ravioli. The first was filled with ricotta, cinnamon and herbs; the second with potatoes and mint; and the third with sheep’s cheese. We enjoyed the potato and mint ravioli, which struck us as unusual.

The second course included T-Bone steak, lamb chops and sliced beef and pork. A cheese tray was available for those who preferred something other than meat.

For dessert, there were Sardinian almond cookies, a pancake of sorts with cheese and honey topping, and ice cream cake.

Alessandro says the family believes the dining experience isn’t just limited to food, so the decor changes as well. In late December, the restaurant was outfitted in a wintry theme. They’ll redecorate for special occasions and serve special meals with advance notice.

Just don’t expect to walk out the door onto a Sardinian beach. The nearest coastline is more than an hour away, and the water there is a bit colder than you would find farther south.


Ristorante da Alessandro e Margherita

Location: Via Amalteo 8, Nave di Fontanafredda

Directions: Take the SS-13 to Sacile and turn right onto Via Vittorba. Nave is a few miles away. Via Amalteo is the first road to the right after you enter the town.

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch and 7 to 10 p.m. for dinner. Closed Tuesdays.

Food: Sardinian specialties, with several options each night for appetizers, first and second courses, and desserts. The dinner menu changes every Friday.

Dress: Casual

Costs: There’s a fixed lunch menu for 12 euros. Appetizers cost 3-14 euros; first courses are 6-10 euros; second courses cost 10-15 euros; desserts are 4 or 5 euros.

Information: English menu available; some English spoken. Visa and Mastercard accepted. Phone: (+39) (0) 434-98250.

One appetizer offered during a recent visit to Ristorante da Alessandro e Margherita was rucola topped with a mix of ricotta cheese, artichokes and walnuts. It was tasty and almost a meal in itself.

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