From start to finish, Restaurante Sao Pedro is an over the top hit. We chose it for our 28th anniversary dinner based on the reviews. We tried to call for a reservation, but couldn't connect, so went anyway hoping for a little luck on a Saturday night in October. We were greeted with charm and grace at the front door, and were offered a table that would be clearing in 10 minutes. We declined taking a drink to the chairs out front and instead took a walk on the waterfront -- the restaurant is just a block up from the new Pavilion on the harbor. When we came back, the table was beautifully set, and when we looked around, we immediately noticed the exceptional quality of the color photographs decorating the walls. We accepted the optional hors d'oeuvre plate of local cheese, meat pâté, pineapple jam, and bread, and were happy to pay the 3 Euro cover charge for products of such high quality. It only got better. Our charming waiter, Joao Chaves, was also the owner, as well as the artist responsible for the beautiful photographs of Sao Miguel. We engaged Joao in conversation and let him know it was our anniversary. My husband ordered a glass of the house red, a smooth and delicious wine from Portugal's Alentejano region, a generous pour for 3,50 Euro. After perusing the enormous menu -- there are many options, but the menu is large because there are half page color photos of each dish on offer, we made our decisions.We shared an extremely generous serving of melon with prosciutto, a starter that can be a cliche in lesser hands, but here was perfect, with tender, sweet melon the foil for expertly cured ham that was not very fatty. My husband ordered the Squid in a Canoe, a fairly traditional Azorean stewed seafood dish, served in a rectangular clay pot. The sauce was a pleasingly pungent version of the tomato based mohlo. The squid was meltingly tender, and the shrimp and tiny clams cooked just right. The dish was served with a mildly herbed rice that balanced the tangy mohlo well. My dish was a Tournedo of Azorean beef grilled rare and served with a tangy/sweet yogurt sauce, a wonderful small tower of mashed potatoes mixed with prosciutto, and sautéed spinach and mushrooms. Ok, may I use meltingly tender again? Because the beef had amazing flavor and had just enough "tooth" to confirm that you were eating meat, not cow meat ambrosia. Yes, we cleaned our plates, despite vowing not to. After clearing our empty plates, Joao now started to show his true colors. We declined dessert but ordered coffee. Before we knew it, he was back with a large block of butter cake frosted with chocolate and nuts, decorated with two rings and a heart made of foil! Then, he brought out two glasses of excellent champagne and took a picture of us toasting our anniversary. Then, he gave us a DVD of the photographic slide show that played on flat screens in the restaurant. Over the top? Yes, in all the best possible ways. We definitely were supremely lucky to have Joao as our waiter, but all the other waiters, who have worked at Sao Pedro for most of its 11 years, seemed wonderfully attentive servers. We couldn't recommend this more highly, and can't wait to return.
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