Boa Vista Bars and restaurants
Sal Rei restaurants
As yet Sal Rei lacks anything like the choice of bars or restaurants available in Santa Maria. Give it five years and it will be a lot better. For now although the beer is still Sagres and the wine Portuguese the ambience is not so much rustic as grubby in many of the small bars, which surround the main square. Service at the Italian open-air restaurant with a straw roof on Estoril Beach was so bad that we walked out. And the Estoril Beach hotel itself is insufferably hot and stuffy at mid-day. So here is a short list of restaurants.
This is a Portuguese Restaurant and perhaps the best in Boa Vista. It is up the hill from the square. It offers haute cuisine based on local ingredients with some Portuguese and Brazilian roots. Among the specialities are Carpaccio and Sashimi of tuna, prawn in raspberry sauce, lobster in port, squid with rice, tuna with peanut, wahoo with banana and Japanese seaweed spaghetti. The restaurant is for sale so that the cuisine may change.
Opposite the Migrante guest house, it mostly serves their clients. It has a good reputation but you have to pre-book even when it is empty, so we cannot vouch for this.
An Italian pasta house which also offers more international food. It is close to the port. so that fish dishes are plentiful and the fish fresh. It has been beautifully decorated in an Italian style. Prices are moderate but service is good.
A small Cape Verdean restaurant, on the main square in Sal Rei. It offers freshlty caught fish and seafood, Portuguese wines and local beers. It has a bar that is open at lunch time.
Up the long hill past the church, school and towards the CVTelecom centre, set back in a small square. A roof-top restaurant under palm thatch, which can be cool in the evening as a strong breeze blows through it. You can hear live music from the music house bearby, which sometimes clashes with their own tapes, Food is simple, chicken, catchupa and tuna ogften with a piri-piri sauce. Wine and beer are cold and both service and prices are modest.
Snack Bar opposite Hotel da Boa Vista
The Hotel da Boa Vista offers meals to non-residents. But much better is the small snack bar opposite. It has the best service and the best prices that we have found in the Cape Verdes. It serves mostly buns with ham or cheese. The Mindelo bun is particularly tasty. But you can also get cachupa and cold beer or wine. Mostly it caters for locals but if you can point or manage a smattering of Portuguese you will be well served.
Outside Sal Rei
There is an Italian pizzeria under an awning on the beach at Estoril. You will find it just behind the windsirfer shack. Food is basic but not expensive.Service is quite dreadul. But as it has no walls and a threadbare celiling of palms it is one of the cooler places at mid-day.
Praia de Chaves
The only place open to non-residents is the pool-side restaurant at the Parque das Dunas. Service is good, food typical mixture of Italian pastas and meat dishes sometimes rather tough so-called veal (probably goat) or beef. Wine is also Italian, but the ambience is fresh and open and things work under the watchful eye of Aghostinho who will often join english-speaking guests for a chat. It also has a large television screen which visitors can watch.
Service is very slow even by Cape Verde standards and you notice this as you sit on stone benches. Very basic food at high prices. Not worth the long detour over bad roads as M Bibendum would say. The waiters throw rocks at hungry dogs which live wild on the beach and scrubland just near this small settlement. Some may find this offputting as they feed their less edible morsels of meat to the hungry dogs.
C from London was not impressed
"It was the most expensive restaurant that we have ever found in Cape Verde. The Italian owners rely on the fact that once you have driven all the way out there over very bad roads you are a capitve to their monopoly pricing, The food is not even good. I fed most of mine to the wandering dogs until the waiters started throw rocks at them,"