Like many holiday romances it started with a moment of lust. Strolling home after another night of one too many Aperol spritz I looked into the kitchen and had a moment. Eye to eye with piles of fresh lobster filling the window to the kitchen of Lapola Restaurant in the Marina district of the Sardinian capital of Cagliari. Names were exchanged and a date was made for the following night.
On my return the room was full so the waiter offered me a drink while I waited. Like many holiday romances she was a tease from the start. I stood by the door and watched the seafood parade by, every table seemingly the same. Lapola offers a set menu of six seafood appetisers and one main with unlimited wine for 35 euro per head. The ambiance was raucous and chaotic with wine spills and loud conversation a plenty.
Eventually we were seated at a larger table shared with two larger ladies. They ordered just before us as we took time to hear some options from one waiter before another interrupted with a short sentence in Italian we could not understand. Like many holiday romances language brought excitement and confusion in equal parts. All was well though as the delicious small plates came to our large companions and then to us in reliable unison.
Fresh vongole (small clams) in a light tomato sauce accompanied by olive oil soaked toast cubes, fresh swordfish, large prawns, cutlets of eel with herb oil and lemon. All the entrees were delicious simple and championing the amazing fruit of the sea that Sardinia is famous for. For me however this was all holiday foreplay as I anticipated the precious lobster I had met eyes with earlier.
The lobster came to the large ladies beside us. As they devoured the plate the waiter returned to us with a black and inky pasta plate. The language barrier had cost us and although the pasta was tasty and full of seafood morsels it was no lobster. Apparently there was one choice to be made and it was made for us by the waiter as we struggled with our basic survival Italian.
When you are a guest in a city the more you give the more you get. Had I spent a little more time with the Italian dictionary I would have the lobster love I longed for. By giving true respect to your hosts and learning a little before you arrive you will get true value from your travel and maybe even true love from your holiday romance.
Vico Barcelona, 10, 09124 Cagliari
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