(mudar para Portugues) Welcome to the Best Restaurant of Cape Verde.
Starting in 2012 Atlantico Weekly will bring its readers a yearly vote on the country’s best restaurant.
Why? We believe the country has some excellent restaurants, several of which are run by international standards or are quite unique. We also believe this vote may serve as an inspiration to other restaurants to perform better.
This is the first time we are doing this, so we will keep things simple. We have selected ten restaurants in Cape Verde that we think are very good, if not the best ones in the country. Actually, we think all ten are good and we will give you, our readers, the last word in the poll presented below.
We selected these places not because their owners paid us or because we are their friends. No, we regard these restaurants as the best of Cape Verde after traveling for both business and pleasure in the country for the last decade. To learn more about how and why we chose them, read the paragraphs at the bottom of this page.
Voting has now been closed as of October 1st. Readers of Atlantico Weekly have cast their votes for Best Restaurant of Cape Verde 2012. O Cordel in Mindelo has convincingly won the poll and is – according to readers of Atlantico Weekly – Cape Verde’s Best Restaurant in 2012!
The restaurants ended up in the following order, according to readers of Atlantico Weekly:
No 1. O Cordel – Mindelo – São Vicente
Though other restaurants with the same name have existed in Mindelo in a different neighborhood, this is a new kid on the block. O Cordel – this time in the Madeiralzinho area – means excellent food and service. The restaurant already gets a very decent public too. The decoration is neat and they do an excellent Filet Mignon. This place does not have windows, but you won’t mind. You will focus on the food.
No 2. Farolin (Odjo d’Agua Hotel) – Santa Maria – Sal
We love this place for its steady cooking and experienced waiters. Farolin is also a great outdoors venue, right by the sea. But the waves never seem to hit you when splashing against the walls. A swell place, or, as the locals say um lugar sab. Fine choice of dishes too, both local and international. Amazingly our Editor keeps things simple here: a grilled tuna steak, fried sweet potatoes on the side and white wine from Fogo (Chá), tud’ di terra!
No 3. Les Palmiers/La Tortue (Hotel Morabeza) – Santa Maria – Sal
Fine dining at one of the country’s best hotels, the Morabeza. Les Palmiers and La Tortue sit well located on Santa Maria’s best beach. A cosmopolitan place with a good choice of dishes and good service. It’s as simple as that! The place was founded by the legendary Belgian entrepreneur and Sal tourism pioneer Georges Vyncker, who brought along his country’s great catering traditions.
No 4. Pont d’Agua – Mindelo – São Vicente
A cool and modern place on the right side of the Pont d’Agua waterfront development, serving an interesting line-up of dishes from a (rarely seen in the country) open kitchen. The location of the outdoor tables also offer some welcome relief on hot days. Probably the only place in Cape Verde serving wok cooked vegetables.
No 5. O Pescador (Praia Guesthouse) – Praia – Santiago
A great spot for fish, this Portuguese-owned restaurant. Part of the top class Praia Guesthouse, it has a robust looking interior, divided into smoking and non-smoking halves. Yep, that’s rightl, a smoking section. Where in the EU or US do you get that? Fresh fish is exhibited at the entrance and you can make your pick there or consult the extensive menu. Very interesting appetizers, like cold rabbit salad or chicken hearts. Good wine list too. One of the priciest restaurants in Cape Verde, but worth it. And definitely a place to see and be seen.
No 6. Chez Loutcha – Mindelo – São Vicente
Well, what can we say? Chez Loutcha is an institution in Mindelo. Dona Loutcha, still watching over her restaurant with her eagle’s eyes, is the grand old lady of Cape Verde gastronomy. Offering a fine choice of Cape Verde as well as Senegalese food, Loutcha advertises her place as an African restaurant. This place is a must. Dona Loutcha also has a restaurant in Dakar, Senegal (home to a large Cape Verde community), as well as in the resort town of Calhau on São Vicente (Sunday buffet lunch only).
No 7. Tradisson e Morabeza – Mindelo – São Vicente
A great place on Mindelo’s waterfront, close to the Torre de Belem replica and the fish market. As the name of this restaurant suggests, this is also a traditional and cultural experience. Dinner often comes with live music. Interesting soul food in a nice atmosphere.
No 8. Avis – Praia – Santiago
Good looking restaurant in the middle of Praia’s historic Platô district. Outdoor tables (on the pedestrian only Rua 5 de Julho) and a more casual restaurant downstairs, but the main place is upstairs (air conditioned). Well decorated and tasty food. Attentive staff. It’s places like this the Platô and other parts of Praia needs more of.
No 9. Alex (Hotel Trópico) – Praia – Santiago
Another mainstay in Praia, the restaurant of the Trópico Hotel has been around for many years. Also serving to both hotel guests and the Praia business circles, Alex presently has a chef from Chile. No ocean views though.
No 10. Atlântico (Hotel Praiamar) – Praia – Santiago
A good mainstay among Praia restaurants, offering both buffet diners and à la carte menus to hotel guests and Praia’s elite. Outdoor tables with a nice ocean and city view. Experienced staff and good food.
For our next poll in 2013 we have received already some good suggestions for more restaurants, like the Leonardo Café in Praia and Sal, as well as Le Bistrot on Sao Vicente. It is unfortunate that we only learned of them after polling had started, but they will get their chance next year. We will check them out in the coming months and we will continue to monitor the restaurants above. Before summer 2013 we will present you a new list of ten restaurants for you to vote on.
Some background info
Our selection was not done randomly, nor did we do any scientifically backed research on the subject. So what were our criteria? In general, the places on our 2012 list are those where you clearly get more than average service and quality. They are all places where you can bring a business partner or have some fine private dining. A real napkin instead of a paper one is usually a good indicator, but there are other good signs to watch. If the restaurant is part of a hotel, they should be open to the local public. They must have good staff, who are proud of their working place, know what they are doing and pay attention to you and not each other. There should be a certain amount of local content present, for instance by mixing local products such as vegetables or fish among its dishes, as well as serving some traditional Cape Verde meals. These restaurants usually also are nicely decorated and serve an interesting menu (not just serving the usual stuff). Afterwards, you must feel that eating there is a pleasant experience. Of course there should be a fine wine list and the food must be very tasty!
The restaurants on our 2012 list we reckon are all good, so the final vote is yours. And you do not get one vote, no, you may vote for as many restaurants on the list as you want. One or two are bound to come on top anyway.
We are aware that not all good eateries in Cape Verde show up on our poll and we are sorry for that. These we think are the ten best, but that does not mean all others are bad. There are a lot of places on various islands where you can eat very well and we love these places too. But they may be just a bit to casual for our list.
Anyway, next year we hope to have a much bigger list, so send us your candidates as soon as possible. If you think you know a restaurant that more or less fits in the above mentioned criteria or if you have other good reasons to think this or that place should be on next years list, write us at email@example.com. We will check them out in the next 10 months or so and present you our new list by mid-2013. Again, we will make a selection, but the final word will be yours.
July 23rd 2012, updated October 1st 2012. All rights reserved by Atlantico Weekly.