In a tiny town like Santa Maria, it was odd to stumble across a French restaurant of genuinely international quality. Form the street, there's nothing to see but a blue door and a sign. Inside, the restaurant is laid out in a large garden and is lit to have a fairytale feel about it. I'm guessing this makes it romantic for couples, but for the single, it's difficult to read your book :) The menu is, unsurprisingly, focussed on local fish - though they do a fine steak tartare if you feel the need. The influences are French and Japanese, with a local twist. A seafood platter was a wonderful assortment of cowries au gratin, prawns, raw and cured fish and a local seaweed. A main course of Ahi Tuna was perfectly cooked with a delicate soy/chilli sauce and a crisp refreshing salad with an oriental dressing. The wine list is short but good, and the local wine (from Fogo) is eminently drinkable. I was so impressed I went back on my second night and had a ceviche of wahoo - perhaps the only disappointing dish - though the fish was lovely, it lacked the tang and spice of a good Peruvian or Mexican ceviche - followed by spaghetti with clams (simple but perfectly done)
This is attentive white-linen service, friendly and never obsequious. There was live Caboverdiano music, which was lovely without ever being obtrusive. Diners ranged from large familys at refectory style tables to couples… I would heartily reccommend it as the finest restaurant I have thus far found on the islands.
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